Digital wellbeing and how it affects workplace wellness

How your company can make positives changes in digital health and the negative consequences of not stepping away from the screen.

Digital-wellbeing-and-how-it-affects-workplace-wellness Digital wellbeing and how it affects workplace wellness

With the announcement of another big tech company driving digital wellbeing (Apple and Google), more and more companies are realizing the importance of digital health, and understanding the implications of excessive and sometimes intrusive newsfeeds and alerts.

The thought change around digital health is a recent shift for the tech giants we know and love, these companies until now have pushed software and apps that addict users, without considering the psychological cost. Stress, anxiety, emotional issues and more have been the result of these companies’ aim to keep users engaged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…

But recently, some early innovators in tech are starting to fight back.

Former Facebook president Sean Parker has openly worried about what social media was doing to kids’ brains.

A former Google exec Tristan Harris launched a group of activists called the Center for Humane Technology, whose goal is to drive new design principles that help to users engage in a more healthy and meaningful manner.

As this trend continues to grow, let’s discuss how digital wellbeing affects your workforce, and what steps we can take to make lasting positive change in your company.

So first thing, let’s look at the current environment of your normal tech start up, and a normal 8–10 hour shift:

  1. Grab some caffeine from your organic, locally sourced, coffee machine provided by the company.
  2. Sit down at your desk, check and respond to emails, and plan your day.
  3. Check Facebook, Instagram, and whatever other social feed you use
  4. Plug in your headphones and go to town on some coding.
  5. Check Facebook, Instagram, and whatever other social feed you use (again)
  6. Check Slack
  7. Code
  8. Check Facebook, Instagram, and whatever other social feed you use (again)
  9. Code
  10. Check Facebook, Instagram, and whatever other social feed you use (again)
  11. Code
  12. Check Slack (again)
  13. Maybe lunch at your desk
  14. More coffee
  15. Check Facebook, Instagram, and whatever other social feed you use (again)

Are you seeing a trend here????

This is not healthy.

Not only does it limit productivity on a company level, but it limits the human interaction we PUSH for in starting a start up.

Yes, work needs to get done, but we need team building. We need to eliminate employee burn out. And we must push for our people to feel that they have a healthy and rewarding work environment.

So what do we do as founders to allow our team come up for air?

Understand that much like athletes, your employees are top performers, and we need to create environments and situations that allow for recovery and regeneration.

It is up to us as founders to make that happen. The goal is to manage your people and your company with a focus on making sure that they are always “ready to perform”.

A half assed, hating his job and work/life balance programmer, who you are relying on to push out the next major release is not an asset to your company.

And ultimately, it’s your fault they feel that way.

Influence the change you want to see.

Using athletics as an example again, sometimes stepping away from your sport is best recovery possible, so let’s create situations and programs which allow your employees to step away and focus on something else.

Enter Corporate Wellness

Unfortunately, corporate wellness has become a buzz word, and a little bit confusing on what the actual goals of said programs are.

Yes, wellness programs can decrease your bottom line, and productivity.

Yes, they can be a perk when hiring new team members.

But, the end goal was always to have healthier, happier and a more engaged workforce.

So if we truly want to increase digital health, invest in a wellness program. (like we discuss here)

Lead from the front, disconnect, and show your team that work/life balance is important.

Incentivize gym or studio memberships and allow time to regenerate/recover from 12+ hours of coding

Run wellness challenges, or team events and show your team that health matters.

Create a break room environment where relaxation is prioritized. Set up an Xbox, a pool table and a few sofas and let your people shut down a bit.

Water cooler talk is not a lack of productivity. Its team building and human interaction. Encourage non work discussion!

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