Why digital wellness for a remote workforce requires engaged leaders and the right tools

Gone are the days of Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. With the massive shift to remote work, there’s a lot to manage So, what is digital wellness anyway? And why should it be a priority?

ARTICLE | 3m read
June 18, 2020

According to Quartz, “digital wellness is defined as tech’s ideal state in which it works in harmony with users’ physical and mental health.” It’s a key ingredient for a positive employee experience. However, contrary to aspiration, Quartz research highlights that employees see digital wellness as something far from reality.

What’s getting in the way of digital wellness?

With the haste to roll out additional technology to support remote work, and an expectation for employees to rapidly adopt that technology, there can be complaints and consequences as it relates to tech adoption. Quartz research points to three key consequences:

  • Productivity distractions – constant pings from colleagues and context switching between apps
  • Perpetual connectivity – the need to be “always on”
  • Decision fatigue – an overwhelming array of tools and systems

Each of these consequences of tech adoption can weigh on the emotional wellbeing of teams. So much so that 67% of Quartz research respondents believe being “always on” has a significant negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Over time, this leads to what Gallup notes: about two-thirds of workers experience burnout.

The good news is, with the right leadership and technology, these consequences can be avoided or overcome.

How can leadership and technology work together to promote digital wellness?

In order to make sense of this digital wellness tension, employers must understand how technology can service people and their work, without burning them out. This requires leadership to establish policies to promote work/life balance and carefully select technology that will add value to the employee and simplify workflows.

Quartz research calls attention to three key attributes that can guide tech decisions toward digital wellness:

  • Productivity – tech that sets app controls for scheduling, blocking times, and silencing notifications
  • Mobility – tech that enables greater flexibility for employees to securely work when and where they need, on personal devices and outside of standard working hours
  • Automation – tech that automates administrative tasks and optimizes workflows

In summary, workplace tech needs to simplify work so that it can be done more efficiently, with less friction.

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