Technology and the internet have been slowly taking over the traditional office environment for years. In fact, 94% of all job holders are using the internet at work. But this may not be a bad thing for many workers. Just 7% of online working adults felt their productivity has dropped thanks to technology, while 46% say that technology has made them more productive.
Technology can affect your professional life in several ways. According to the same study:
Despite the pros and cons of using technology at work, you may be frustrated with the fact that technology is now a major part of your job. Studies have linked compulsive technology usage with a range of alarming mental health problems, including restlessness, social phobia, low self-esteem, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.
If you’re concerned with your relationship with technology at work, you can change your habits to make sure you spend less time in front of screens throughout the day. While you can’t change the fundamental duties and responsibilities of your position, like checking email, using digital apps, and researching topics on the internet, you can cut down on your screen time with these helpful tips:
Today, 43% of employees use instant-message apps like Slack, Skype and Facebook Messenger on the job. No one can dispute the convenience of these messaging tools, especially if you need to correspond with a colleague that works on the other side of the world.
But if you’re anxious to spend less time in front of a screen when you’re on the clock, try walking over to their desk and talking to your colleagues in person instead of messaging them online. Of course, this is only possible if you work in a traditional office environment. But, if you have the option of meeting with someone face-to-face, you might as well take advantage of this opportunity.
Remember that nearly 100% of business professionals say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. Don’t be shy. Get up and say hello. You never know what you might gain from an in-person conversation that you wouldn’t get from an instant message.
If you need to compose an email or write a piece of copy for a project, you can always start sketching out some ideas on an old-fashioned piece of paper. Even if your work will eventually be uploaded online, you don’t have to stare at a blinking cursor as you collect your thoughts and put your ideas into action.
While there are dozens of note-taking apps to choose from, don’t underestimate the power of a notebook or sticky notes. If you make a habit of keeping your notebook organized, you can spend more time with a pen and paper than your smartphone. Practice legible handwriting and keep your notes organized by subject, so you can quickly find the information you need.
Regardless of where you take your lunch break, try to keep your smartphone and computer at a distance. While some employees need to make themselves available for instant message and email while they take their lunch, if you can do without your digital devices, do your best to eat lunch without looking at a screen.
Going without technology for just 30 minutes can make all the difference in the world. When you return to your desk, staring at a screen will feel like a novelty again.
You can apply the same technique to the bathroom. Keep your smartphone at your desk when nature calls. You’ll be away from your desk for just a few minutes, so don’t worry about missing anything important. Just a few minutes of going without screens can help you relax throughout the day. And, you don’t have to worry about accidentally dropping your smartphone in the toilet. It’s a small change that won’t affect your work performance.
Using technology at work has become ubiquitous, but, in some ways, you can still control how often you use technology throughout the day. Small changes like these can help you feel less anxious and depressed. Instead of looking at notifications all day, let your mind wander and enjoy your time away from technology, however brief this time may be.