‘A Toxic Cause of Stress’ – Push v. Productivity
You are at work deeply engrossed in a piece of work that is near completion and suddenly there is a ‘ping’ and you see you have a new notification. Do you a) click on it – you can’t help it, it might be important b) ignore it but know it’s there like an itch you can’t scratch. Either way, your brain is now disengaged from the task in hand. It can take well over a minute to regain your concentration. Add into the equation the urge to respond immediately – you are now both off task and under stress. Our constant connectivity has shifted from the social sphere to the workplace and our brains are bombarded – all the time.
It is a reasonable assumption that a drop in our cognitive ability is unavoidable as our brains try and process all this information and our emotional response often puts us in a fight or flight mode, which in turns leads us to more caffeine/ sugar/ nicotine as we try and re-focus our minds. People who juggle huge amounts of information are eventually compromised by an inability to filter irrelevant information and this in turn, slows them down.
At Heliocentrix we understand the issues around adopting a healthy relationship with technology and how technology can have a negative influence on well being in the workplace. Here are our top 3 tips for combatting ‘interruption culture’.
Turn off push notifications.
All of them, every single one – on your phone and your computer. You should only be aware of incoming text messages or phone calls.
We promise you won’t miss them – be on your phone when you want to be, not when you are drawn by a ‘ping’ where an algorithm on an app says you are statistically more likely to buy stuff. Go to settings and turn it off. You may need to do this app-by-app but we promise it will be time well spent.
Askwonder.com writes that in North America alone, marketers are sending 671 million push notifications DAILY.
We suggest going one step further to increase technological wellbeing in the workplace and…
Remove your work emails from your smartphone.
You can’t effectively respond to emails from your phones; you are merely monitoring what is coming in. Our email gratification comes from being able to delete an email as a task accomplished, you can’t do that thoughtfully or to the best of your ability from your phone during Love Island or waiting for a train. There is a very real culture of being available 24/7 and email pressure is directly associated with a very negative effect on home life.
And if email pressure is alive and well as part of your office culture then…
Designate certain times in the work day to deal with emails and stick to it.
Never send emails late at night or early in the morning. Ever. Do not read emails after 6pm.
It has been widely accepted that working cultures filter down directly from management – and it is more likely that an internal email sender expects a quicker response than an external email sender. Lead by example, offer CPD or an email charter which shows acceptable response times. For this to be accepted as a proper culture shift, align it to your corporate values.
For help in how your business can use technology to improve productivity, we can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read about more ways to manage your email inbox (particularly if yours is rather large and scary).