With technology changing so quickly and outpacing work policies, the use of mobile devices and escalating mobile platforms contribute to making us a world of tuned-in, multi-tasking, online addicted robots. Most office-type jobs require the use of the Internet for at least 8 hours per day. To keep up with our busy lives, we bank, shop, research, send messages, check our social media accounts, and sometimes, even make phone calls. According to a 2018 MIT Technology Review article, since 2000, time spent online every week by an average American has risen from 9.4 hours to 23.6. The research goes on to say, “Of that, time spent ogling the internet at home has risen from 3.3 to 17.6 hours a week over the same period.”
Looks like we not only rely on our Internet devices to help us run our businesses and personal lives, we’re addicted to the Internet and the devices we use to access our online dependencies. Smartphone use is so pervasive in the American lifestyle to the extent that a Medium.com article points to an AT&T and the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction survey, saying that “61 percent of Americans sleep with their phones and 53 percent get upset if they are without their phones.” One of the many issues concerning our Internet addiction revolves around how distracted workplace behaviors affect productivity and engagement in the business arena. So how do we curb our Internet addictions for a more cohesive workplace?
Set up schedules
Set a specific time and amount of time during your workday to go online for non-work related activities, such as checking your social networks, casual gaming and checking personal emails. Do these things at lunch only, because you know you’re going to check your phone then, anyway. Giving yourself the rest of the day to focus on your work to-do list can allow your brain to think more productively.
Do the important stuff early in the day
Focusing on making important decisions early in the day can help avoid what researchers call “decision fatigue.” When you time jumping around from one app to another and checking emails and social media during the day, it takes time for the resources in your brain to reset to their optimal levels. Better decisions are made earlier in your day when your neurotransmitters and hormones are brimming with decision-making resources.
Simplify your workday
Speaking of making decisions, simplify your life by making fewer choices during your day. This can help you concentrate your energies towards a more productive and creative workday. How? Select the clothes you’ll wear the next day, the night before.. Set up your breakfast the night before (when possible) to avoid debating what to eat. Plan your lunches for the week on Sunday and prepare them in advance, if possible. Please remember to make healthy choices, so your brain gets the fuel it needs to function.
Embrace the changes
Focus on the positive changes you are making in your work habits and in your life in general. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on your awareness of gaining control of your time and the quality of your life. If you’re the boss that’s trying to limit Internet distractions in the workplace, take the time to communicate with your team the plan you want to implement in regards to nixing phones and Internet usage. Let your team know that you want to develop a more cohesive workplace, with closer relationships and a culture of engaged, focused talent.. Moving forward, your staff will embrace new habits and see the positive changes in the new company culture.
Develop more awareness
Some digital detox startups have already developed apps that track your Internet and device activity. Not unlike a Fitbit, these apps can show you your screen habits, so you make a plan to change the way you use your technology.
Turn off in your downtime
Not only do people squander time at work with Internet distractions but always being on or connected to the Internet compromises your home life and downtime. Spend time with your loved ones doing things that don’t require checking your phone 80 times a day. Ban phones from family meals and go do things together without your phones. Take a hike or go for a walk and take just one smartphone for emergencies, in a backpack.
Set boundaries for your personal life
Go out, have a good time at your kids’ recital and inform your boss or your team that you will not be available for emails and phone communications during these events. Set up an out-of-office email reply for after-work emails. When you turn in for the night, turn on the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone to silence app notifications while you rest. Just one more thing . . . You can use your phone as an alarm clock but placing it away from you on a side table will help you sleep better.
Venture X and the coworking space culture
So . . . isn’t it interesting that the much-referenced Harvard Business Review article indicated that business professionals working at coworking spaces showed increased productivity and an eagerness to go to work each day? Do coworking spaces help people break their constantly online status by offering the opportunity for organic one-on-one connections with fellow professionals? At Venture X, our flexible, shared office spaces provide the ideal environment to grow your business and expand your in-person social networks. We can’t guarantee you’ll develop online awareness and modify your online habits but it’s hard to text or surf the web and hold a relevant conversation at the same time. Contact your local Venture X to schedule a tour and start liking the way you work.