Productivity Wednesday: Host a Digital Detox Hour

A lot has been written about taking a sabbatical from technology, but how practical is it when implementing it at work? There is a constant need to connect with the rest of the world. We are the most digitally connected generation to date, yet lack social skills when it comes to interacting with people face-to-face. A digital detoxification process can help reduce the psychological and physical impact technology has on us.

Being a small business or a startup, it is challenging to provide a productive and stress-free work environment for your employees. For this week’s Productivity Wednesday, we have some simple tips to organize and conduct a technology detox hour at work. Hosting a digital detox hour will give you an opportunity to connect with fellow employees, and ultimately increase productivity work.

Schedule time every week

Planning is the key to a successful digital detox. Schedule a time and place every week, preferably during or after lunch, when everyone can meet. Make sure employees attend the event with no cell phones, laptops, tablets or other gadgets.

Engage in Conversation

We overuse technology for communication to the point we atrophy our face-to-face communication skills. As a result, we spend less time with people, experience more stress, and feel less connected to our peers. Gallup recently conducted a study on employee engagement in the U.S. and found engagement has a greater impact on performance than corporate policies and perks. High employee engagement results in higher productivity, profitability and customer ratings. 

During the digital detox hour, encourage employees to get to know each other–what motivates them, what are their hobbies, etc. Many startups are using company outings as an opportunity to get to know their staff better and improve team dynamics.

Start a Book Club

A digital detox hour is a perfect time to conduct company book club . Each week assign a chapter and host a short discussion. This will be a great way to engage your employees, and can lead to indirect professional development. To get starter, check out some suggestions for interesting reads.

Take a Breather

Many organizations practice yoga and meditation to help employees calm down, refresh and focus on their job. General Mills, a Fortune 200, multinational company, has slowly started transforming its culture. Each building in the Minnesota campus includes yoga rooms and equipment, with employees practicing yoga, meditation and mindfulness at the workplace every week.

You don’t have to have an expert teach you–you start simply by participating in deep breathing exercises. Practice half sun salutations together as a group during the digital detox hour, or try these stretches to relax your muscles and freshen up at your desk.

Encourage Power Naps

A growing number of companies are recognizing the benefits of power naps. Researchers at NASA found that a 30-minute power nap increased cognitive faculties by approximately 40%. British Airways, Nike, Pizza Hut and Google offer reclining chairs and “renewal rooms”. Create a space where employees can catch a snooze, freshen up and increase productivity.

Erma Bombeck, American humorist once said, “A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go overload and blow up.” So give yourself and your employees a break, bring back the real connection with people and create a productive and creative workspace.

Image Credit: Lauren Silverman via Flickr