Digital detox : the burden of techno-addiction

Three amazing upshots of a digital detox, and our ten steps to freedom.

Chillisauce Insights

We spend a lot of time trying to understand our clients, and the issues that they face every day that form the basis for why they decide to put on an event or engage with their staff through some kind of activity or exercise.

We have organised thousands of events for people like you, and having directly witnessed the full cycle of why an event takes place, and the objectives that are set and achieved, we'd like to communicate our findings and insight in the hope we can help you improve your own working environment.

Epidemic levels of techno-addiction

With almost 64% of us spending over 24 hours per week online, and 60% openly admitting to an all out addiction it’s a wonder we’ve any time left to do anything else!

However, this problem doesn't just affect us as individuals, it's affecting your business too...

Why?

As technology tightens its grip and seeks to influence, automate and engage with us at ever deeper levels than ever before, what does the future hold for us as techno-slaves? We've reached bursting point, and no better illustrated than with the recentfine of £53,000 for Rentokil, and all because they made an employee check their messages out of hours! So beware.

On the upside, there is also growing movement by some companies taking action to protect their staff from the negative impact of technology. Let's look at some of these examples first; maybe you can put this in to your own context, and then we'll talk about what you can do to change.

Virgin

Leading the way in this movement is none other than Britain’s favourite entrepreneur, Richard Branson and his company Virgin. His ultimate goal of reducing “tech-slavery” was actioned back in 2016 with a weekly 2 hour switch off, the sole purpose being for staff totake part in creative exercisesor conduct meetings whilst walking and outside of the board room. Great idea!

Facebook, Instagram, Whatsap

Probably the biggest issue we face is with the constant feed of news and the power of social media. So it's a relief to see some changes at the top, withFacebookrecently launching new product features designed to reduce overall usage of their Apps such as push notifications and reminders to alert the user as to their time online to try and limit excessive usage.

The rise of the "Dumb Phone"

If you're old enough, cast your mind back to the 90's when mobile phones were literally that; phones that were mobile. No email, no apps, no bother. So two routes here. You can either go and buy the cheapest, most basic handset in the shop to serve a similar purpose. Or take the upmarket approach with the likes ofLight Phonewhich blends the luxury of a premium handset with a strict limitation of features.

Why a digital detox?

We’re a nation of multitaskers living busy lives. We think we thrive on chaos, and many of us do, but with that comes an insatiable desire to constantly be in touch with current affairs, documenting our lives (and meal times) to everyone we know (and also to those we don't).

All at once.

However, recent studies prove that attempting to multitask can actually have an adverse effect on your output AND limit your creativity. This in turn causes stress levels to increase. Furthermore, the subtle but constant feed of information from the world around you can also have a damaging affect on your self esteem. You'd be forgiven for comparing yourself to everyone else, but this soon amounts to personal inadequacy, and it's an increasing problem.

Few therefore seem to recognise the impact of technology addiction on our state of mind, but it's real. The answer? Detox. Why?

  • You will be less stressed
  • You will feel more optimistic
  • You will get more sleep

More energy? Less stressed? What are you waiting for?!

Be less Stressed

Are you suffering fromNomophobia? Absurd as it sounds, many people fear being parted with their phone, convinced it's essential for life itself. We assure you, it's not, and once you overcome this fear we're confident you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. The daily overdose of messages, calls, notifications and so on has caused many of us to give in to the ‘always-on’ culture, and the illusion that one must be contactable at all the time is the cause of much anxiety, and is directly linked to excessive smartphone usage. Less phone, less stress. Simple.

Feel more optimistic

We all love social media. Seems so harmless, yet so powerful. If the truth be known, many of us suffer from"compare and despair"syndrome. Beautified images circulate, all seeking "likes" and comments, but all driven by a common need for self-validation. The assurance of being successful / attractive can be strangely addictive as we seek to size ourselves up to others who all appear to have the perfect life. In reality, few live this perfect life. In fact feelings of inadequacy, frustration and even depression are the more likely result of social media.

Get more sleep

Keep your phone next to your bed? You're probably reaching for it first thing in the morning, and your eyes are glued to it right before bed. Ever heard of something called melatonin?Melatoninis basically a sleep hormone which is released at bed time and allows your brain to relax and ultimately sleep. Without it, you'll struggle to nod off. What stops melatonin production? Blue light. Whats the most prominent light frequency emitted from a smartphone? Blue. Do the math...blue light at bed time is bad. Combine the waking influence of blue light with the despair of social media, and you're on the wrong side of bed before you've even gone to sleep. Lose the phone? More sleep.

Escape digital doom

It's pretty clear to see what we're faced with, and why you should tackle the issue. It won't be easy, but start small and bit by bit you can free yourself from digital overdose; start by following these 10 simple steps and you'll be off to a good start!

✓ Where possible, switch off notifications for the Apps that bother you the most. At the very least put the phone on mute and place it screen down.

✓ Seek to interact with people during your breaks, not your phone or computer.

✓ Space permitting allocate an area in the office that is tech-free. A break out area or meditation room. Somewhere that will encourage people to relax and interact.

✓ Get outside - take your meeting on foot or in the park, breath in some fresh air, take a walk. Experience nature whilst discussing your business agenda.

✓ Even better, agree some budget to take your team off-site for your weekly, monthly or quarterly briefings. Lose the tech. Focus on talk.

✓ Long shot, but maybe speak to your IT Admin and ask them to buffer email traffic after hours.

✓ At bed time, what about reading a book for a change?!

✓ At bed time, leave your phone charging in a different room so you're less inclined to reach for it.

✓ Do you really need 5 personal social media accounts with 500+ contacts each? Have a cull.

✓ Seriously. Do you REALLY need all these strangers in your life?!

Summary

Turn the tables on tech - imagine your day cruising by without the flinch from a phone call or an alert causing you to check your message feed?

A digital detox may not be the first thing that springs to mind, and we appreciate something like this can be easier said than done as we all rely so heavily upon technology to get through the day.

Still this shouldn’t deter you from trying as we’re confident the benefits will be worthwhile. Your team will benefit. You will benefit. Everyone happy.

We'd love to hear from you!

To discuss further how effective employee engagement can help your business, maybe share your own experiences, or simply give us feedback on this post, please speak to Charlotte Franks in ourCorporate EventsTeam. Charlotte has organised hundreds of employee engagement programmes, team building and training days, meetings, conferences and parties to help reduce sickness, control attrition and boost team performance.

Charlotte can be reached direct on 020 7299 1886, or by email at charlottef(at)chillisauce.com