The impact of Digital Detox on employee mental health

The impact of Digital Detox on employee mental health

While technology has revolutionized the way we work, it has also presented us with some adverse effects that were never heard before. In a modern-day workplace, an employee spends 1700 hours per year in front of a computer screen on average. That’s 6 hours per day, as found in a poll

The constant connectivity over smartphones and laptops has blurred the line between work-life balance. Today, most employees check their emails first thing in the morning. Needless to say, these cause adverse effects on employees, leading to mental fatigue, burnout, and stress. Hence, a digital detox is the need of the house to help reduce digital consumption.

Benefits of digital detox 

There are lots of benefits of digital detox if done mindfully. Some of these are:

Reduce stress

Digital detox is a great way to step away from digital devices, which helps an employee to de-stress and unwind. It helps to manage burnout by reducing stress levels. 

Improve focus

An adult individual check their phone at least 58 times a day, while 52% of phone checks happen during work. So, it won't be wrong to say that constant access to digital devices significantly hinders an employee's focus and concentration. Digital detox is a good way to stay away from these devices and gain full concentration for some deep, meaningful work. 

Boost productivity and creativity

As employees get to spend more focused time at work without distractions, their productivity is increased. Without digital distraction, it’s easy to ideate creativity and spark innovation.

Sleep better

Powering down devices before bedtime helps employees sleep better, improves sleep quality, and helps them appear fresh at work. Good sleep also helps to improve cognitive function, which helps improve efficiency at work. 

Bond with coworkers

When employees free themselves up from digital devices, they get the opportunity to mingle more with their coworkers. A quick coffee chat or casual exchange of words in a water cooler break helps employees step away from their screens and chitchat with their colleagues. Apart from de-stressing themselves, such breaks also allow coworkers to bond and strengthen their relationship. 

How to improve digital detox at the workplace

Employers can play a crucial role in improving digital detox at the workplace. Here are some ideas:

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries for screen time not only helps improve digital detox but also encourages the promotion of work-life balance. For example, setting a logout time for all employees ( except for emergency work) can be helpful to minimize screen time. Also, setting aside screen-free time will allow employees to unwind and de-stress themselves.

Introduce device-free zones

Introduce the concept of device-free meeting rooms, brainstorming zones, or cafeterias where employees should enter, keeping their devices away. This will create a good opportunity for them to digital detox while improving focused work time. 

Lead the way

The leadership team should embrace the digital detox philosophy and lead the way. For example, they should make it a habit to keep their phones away while in a device-free zone or during screen-free time. They may also encourage their teams to engage in more face-to-face meetings rather than online meetings whenever possible. 

Disable app notifications

Encourage employees to disable app notifications from their phones for non-work related apps during work hours. This will reduce the constant urge to check the phone and minimize distractions. Along with digital detox, it will also help improve productivity among employees. 

Add break time

Encourage employees to take mindful breaks a few times a day when they step away from their screens and devices. This can be a quick coffee break, a stretching break, or just a short walk break that will relieve the eyes and the mind. 

Spread awareness

While you can implement several programs to promote digital detox, the education of the employees is important for them to embrace it. Conduct awareness programs to help employees understand the importance of digital detox and the negative impact it creates when exposed to screens for a long time.

Establish clear policies

Create a clear policy around digital device usage at the workplace and communicate it so that employees understand the device usage at the workplace.

Implement no meeting days

Implement certain days or times during the workweek when employees are not allowed to schedule meetings. For example, setting no meetings on Fridays after 6 PM is a good way to help employees unwind from work as they enter the weekend. 

Encourage outdoor activities

Organize outdoor team-building activities that allow employees to spend time away from the screen. It's also a good way to let them get up and move around while bonding with the team.

A digital diet

A digital diet is a digital usage calendar that can help employees mindfully detach from devices. For example, on Monday, it can be on social media for two hours; on Tuesday, it can be no phone during lunch break, and so on. Remember, digital detox takes mindfulness, so taking such small steps can help you achieve your goal.