For many of us remote work and it’s side-effect, tech fatigue, wasn’t something we chose. Unfortunately, it was bestowed upon us. If you’re like me, there’s a strong chance that at first, you loved it! Then the months passed by. April turned to May, May turned to June, and next thing you know, we’re celebrating New Years Eve with a surgical mask on.
Perhaps the best indicator that we have been thrusted into this situation is found in Google Trends. While remote work isn’t something that is new to the world, the necessity for remote work IS. Search “Remote Work” in Google Trends and you’ll see that it peaked as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March of 2020.
Undoubtedly, this working from home required some adaptation. Many of us are still finding out what works best for us. Whether it be an ergonomic chair, a standing desk, or an occasional mid-day yoga session, we are all adapting. An unintended consequence, however, is a phenomenon called “tech fatigue.” Tech fatigue is the phenomenon of your body reacting negatively to an increased consumption of monitors, screens, and televisions. While it’s mostly a temporary issue, the long-term effects are still being studied.
So, being trailblazers of remote work, having worked fully remote since 2016, Capitol Presence wanted to help compile a short list of ways to use your technology for good instead of evil. These are the top 5 ways your company can use it’s technology to help employees beat tech fatigue.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider as a manager is that your employees’ work-life balance has eroded. Their office is now their living room. Their daily commute is now a 10-second walk. Probably the most pronounced change businesses have found has been the hours of which people have been working. No longer is 5pm the end of the workday.
You need to be flexible with your employees’ work schedules, while still holding them accountable for reaching deadlines. You need to help combat tech fatigue by granting them the ability to work wherever. If an employee wants to hit the gym during the lunch hours and stay productive, answering messages from clients and coworkers, who are you to say no? If work doesn’t suffer, management needs to not only allow, but enable employees to gain some autonomy over their lives.
It’s not business. It’s personal. Or at least that’s what this time period should be for your employees. As an administrator, you have the ability to schedule “lockdowns” for certain periods of the day. Whether it’s just 20 minutes over lunch time or a half hour at the end of the day, sometimes your employees need to be forced to take a break. Welcome to 2020.
By now, you have heard that blue light emissions from screens and monitors are not good for your long-term wellbeing. In the short term, they can have severe effects on your sleep, which affects every other aspect of your life. Doctors suggest avoiding screens within an hour of bedtime. Over a longer period of exposure, our screens have been shown to speed up macular degeneration of the corneas.
Luckily, there are a few methods to combat the blue-light bullies. First, a bulk supply of blue-light blocking glasses is relatively inexpensive in 2020. Technology has come a long way since the advent of the internet, and so has the eyewear that comes with it. Also, Windows 10 computers have “Night Mode” built into the settings which you can enable on your employees’ devices. While you should give them the option of turning it off, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pre-load the settings on new employees’ devices before you distribute them.
Aside from the physical stresses from tech fatigue, there comes an emotional and mental toll. Most employees are finding their main source of social interaction have been removed from them – the office. Whether they are naturally introverted or extroverted, they are human, and need some level of interaction with others to live.
This is why it’s paramount to help provide some level of normalcy in their lives, by increasing the level of teamwork. It’s easy to lose an employee to the ether during this time, so increasing the level of cooperative projects can keep teammates engaged. The best way to accomplish this is by using Microsoft Teams. While it does provide visual and audio web chatting, the cloud-based platform allows teammates to work together in real-time on projects, giving them a sense of community. Teams should replace your office.
Building off of what we were just discussing, Teams is much more than a platform to chat with coworkers. Like any good office space, it contains all of your tools you need to accomplish your job. Virtually any online SaaS platform that you utilize during your daily operations has a Teams app, ready to go.
Arguably the most important feature during this period of forced remote work is having more time in employees’ days! Studies conducted in the workplace found that employees waste about one hour every day, switching between windows and pulling up websites and SaaS platforms on their computer. With Teams, everything your team needs is contained in one ready-to-go window. An incremental 10 seconds saved here. Another 5 seconds there. It adds up.
Undoubtedly, the most important and effective way to prevent tech fatigue is to cut down on the amount of technology being utilized. Office 365 featuring your new digital workplace, Teams, is the best way to go about this!