FLEXXIBLE IT BLOG

WHY DIGITAL WELLBEING MATTERS 

by | Mar 18, 2022 | Blog, Digital Wellbeing

Our wellness or wellbeing has become a central point of focus over time and even more so with the start of the pandemic. With people all around the globe being cooped up in their homes for weeks or even months, there was a big emphasis on our mental and physical health and overall wellbeing. With our homes becoming our main workspace, employee wellbeing became an aspect that organisations had to really take into account.  

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Wellbeing as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’ In order to maintain, or reach wellbeing, we have to take into account the five pillars of wellbeing

  • Mental, emotional 
  • Physical 
  • Social 
  • Financial 
  • Digital 

All these pillars need to be supported in order to find the balance that leads to wellbeing. If one of the five pillars gets neglected, it will impact you in all aspects of life.  

When we think of Digital Wellbeing, we are referring to the concept that when we interact with technology, the experience should support our mental and physical health in a measurable way. Looking after our Digital Wellbeing is about being in control of the technology in our life, ensuring that it is a tool that allows us to do our job well without getting overwhelmed or distracted by it. Now that it is pretty clear that working from home, is not going anywhere and many of us are adjusting to some form of hybrid working, it is a given that many of our daily work interactions will be taking place by using technological devices. The fact that nowadays technology gives us the freedom to work from anywhere is amazing, however, it has also raised awareness on how the use of technology can affect our state of mind and overall wellbeing.  

In an age where we are constantly plugged in and surrounded by technology, it is easy to forget that disconnecting from all this is an important piece of your self-care routine that allows you to address your mental health. We should be able to switch off outside of work hours, manage our screen time and ensure that it does not negatively impact our relationships, wellbeing, or sleep. But, as easy as this sound, it is not always that simple to switch off, even less when the place you live has become the place you work as well, making it ever so easy to quickly reply to a work email or stay active on the work chat even when it is your day off. 

This is where organisations must step in by creating an organisational culture where technology is used to improve the team’s efficiency and there is no pressure that leads to overuse of technology. Many organisations have become aware of their responsibility in this and have been implementing new measures, such as limitations to use emails or other types of messaging after hours. This is an amazing initiative, but in order to put emphasis on the importance of a healthy work-life balance and having the right tools to empower your employees to feel they can use technology in a way that really improves the efficiency of the individual, we need to dig a little deeper by obtaining certain data that can put into perspective the work style that suits each employee.  

WHY DIGITAL WELLBEING IS IMPORTANT TO ORGANISATIONS 

Nowadays technology occupies a significant place in our lives and from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed, we are surrounded by technology. From the smartwatch around your wrist, to the smartphone in your pocket, we can not deny that technology has drastically changed our day-to-day activities. It has become a massive source of information and connectivity and provides us with a huge amount of freedom to move around and work from anywhere whenever we want to. We are no longer bound to live close to the office and can easily work around any family or personal obligations we have.  

With the work from anywhere policy many organisations are introducing, it has opened up the world for both employees and organisations. Studies show that remote workers are 20% to 25% more productive than their office counterparts. The flexibility that comes with remote work is also one of the many benefits there are. However, remote working, or hybrid working, does come with its own challenges. Where absenteeism was something to worry about before, now it is often presenteeism we need to focus on instead. Presenteeism; the practice of being present at one’s place of work for more hours than is required, may seem more innocent than you think, what could be wrong in employees working more hours right? But this ´always being (switched) on´ mentality many remote workers have developed, will (eventually) reduce their productivity, higher their stress levels and can even lead to burnout if not diagnosed timely and dealt with efficiently. Burnout being a form of exhaustion caused by continuously feeling swamped due to excessive and prolonged mental, emotional, and physical stress, has a massive impact on our mental health. 
Fortunately, many organisations are noticing the necessity to invest in mental health resources. Even more so, because organisations that do invest in workplace mental health are getting a 4 x return on investment

Overuse of technology can also lead to physical issues, such as: 

  • Headaches 
  • Sleep issues 
  • Eye strain 
  • Repetitive strain injuries of the fingers, thumbs, and wrists 

These issues will also affect employees´ overall wellbeing and performance. 
 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER 

So how can organisations ensure and promote a healthy organisational culture that leads to Digital Wellbeing for their employees? Having standard regulations, such as, no emails outside of work hours, will definitely be helpful, however, it will not give any insight in whether the needs of the employee as an individual are being met. It does not ensure they are not still working out of hours to finish their tasks either. The key is to ensure a healthy work-life balance, but how is that possible when the team is (partially) working remotely? In order to be able to do this and really make the difference, we need to have the understanding and knowledge of what factors are affecting the individual employee and is putting a strain on their work-life balance. Are they not taking enough breaks throughout the day, are they spending too much time getting through emails or do they have too many meetings planned in, impeding them from finishing their daily tasks during work hours? When we have a clear overview of what their day-to-day Schedule looks like, only then can we really support their Digital Wellbeing. 
 

HOW WE CAN HELP 

We are aware that a one size fits all Digital Wellbeing policy simply is non-existent or would not work. No employee is the same and therefore you need to offer tailor made solutions from which your employees can really benefit. In order to be able to do this you need to have the right tools to obtain the knowledge needed to analyse what your employees need. digitalwellbeing.cloud gives you all the right tools to obtain the necessary knowledge to create a healthy organisational culture where employees can work efficiently and productively in a way that benefits not only them but the organisation as a whole.  
 

If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your employees’ Digital Wellbeing, get in touch with our experts today! 

Lia Pieters

Author

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