For most people, the New Year’s resolution involves improving their health or fitness but should more make their digital well-being a greater focus? John Williams, head of marketing at Instant Offices, shares his thoughts.
As we’ve started 2019 it’s almost impossible to live a life without the constant bombardment of digital devices surrounding us, means that we’re constantly connected to the office wherever we go. This can make it difficult for people to ‘switch-off’ at the end of a long working day – having negative impacts on our mind, body and social life.
According to a study by Glassdoor, the average number of UK employees taking their full annual leave is 62 per cent with only 43 per cent making use of at least 90 per cent of their holiday entitlement. What’s more is 13 per cent reported only taking an eighth of their allowance.
Two weeks on holiday or two minutes at lunch, 2019 should be the year to think about how to live healthily. John Williams, head of marketing at Instant Offices explains how disconnecting from all work-related screens can bring several important benefits, including increased productivity and overall happiness.
The importance of a well-rested employee
Although it may seem like a good thing from a productivity point of view, having employees constantly working can do your business more harm than good.
Research found 23 per cent of those on holiday regularly checked their emails and 15 per cent admitted to doing some work out of fear of being behind on their return and missing targets. 20 per cent of employees surveyed also reported that they were expected to be reachable and available to carry out some work if needed.
The Office of National Statistics released figures that revealed three million UK employees work more than 48 hours a week, a rise of a quarter of a million since 2001.
This is, of course, not even taking into account the health benefits of a holiday – stress and exhaustion take an incredible toll on the body, and overworked employees may end up taking more sick leave throughout the year. Finally, allowing employees time off to relax can result in an all-around boost for office morale.
Tips for a digital disconnect
- Respect other people’s schedules. Don’t bother them with emails or calls when they have taken time off unless the matter is extremely urgent.
- Prioritise your workload. If you absolutely have to work on your holiday, spend time on the important tasks only, and leave less important matters for when you are back in the office.
- Set up an auto-reply on your email. This way, people who send you messages are alerted to the fact that you are on holiday. Provide a contact number for someone else in the office, who can be contacted if the issue is urgent.
- Tell your colleagues that you’ll be going away. This may seem obvious, but alert others in your office that you are going on holiday. Sort out the most important projects before you leave, and let colleagues know that you will be unlikely to reply to work communications while away.
- Avoid constantly checking your devices while on holiday. If you absolutely have to remain connected to work while on holiday, allocate a specific day, or a certain time of day when you will check and reply to emails, text messages and missed calls.
Indeed, many holiday retreats all over the world are now offering ‘digital detoxes’, where there is no Wi-Fi signal and visitors are encouraged to hand over their electronic devices.
Daily work breaks
It’s not just time off work that’s important – taking a proper lunch break every day is also beneficial. And by ‘proper’ lunch break, we mean moving away from your desk or your office cubicle. According to Forbes, incorporating an hour or half hour break into your daily work schedule can boost one’s energy levels, improve your mood, and provide additional morning motivation as you work towards your break.
How do you unwind from your digital self? Let us know on Twitter: PALifeMag