break to realign mentally. Another organization might offer weekly
visits with an on-site counselor or scheduled time for group runs.
Corporate programs help instill a culture where employees
don’t feel guilty about stepping away from their computers for a
few minutes. Going a step further and sponsoring group activities
that help employees detach from their screens can encourage them
to take breaks more often and limit their tech usage.
TECH COMBATING TECH
Technology has many benefits both in and out of the workplace
but, as it becomes more pervasive, criticism continues to mount.
According to an American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
survey, 82 per cent don’t think the tech industry is doing enough to
educate the public about responsible technology usage.
Leading tech companies are responding by developing digital
tools to help users disconnect. Apple recently announced “digi-tal
wellness” at its Worldwide Developers Conference, whereas
Google introduced its “Shush” and “Wind Down” features. Shush
allows users to activate “Do Not Disturb” mode automatically by
turning their phone screen-down on a flat surface, while Wind
Down reduces the addictive glow of the phone by fading to gray-scale
during a set time. Instagram also added a dashboard feature
to show users how much time they’ve spent on the app and how
to best manage their time. In addition to providing possible solu-tions,
these companies are raising awareness and also taking some
accountability for their role in creating these problems.
The examples above show that tech can act as a facilitator and
enabler for employees and consumers to act on health goals and
help enhance their health and wellness journey. Employers play a
key role in offering digital wellness tools that encourage users to
track health goals and obtain key data to better understand their
behaviours and work toward improving their wellness. Workplace
technology can also be used to schedule breaks for walks or
book appointments for onsite wellness initiatives to reinforce
IMPLEMENTING A TOP-DOWN APPROACH
Building a health-focused workplace culture starts from the
top, but regarding it as important doesn’t necessarily translate
to action. A recent Deloitte survey found 80 per cent of execu-tives
rated employee experience as important, yet only 22 per
cent reported they were doing an “excellent job” executing on that.
Organizations must implement a strategy with clear tactics fol-lowed
by all employees (even and especially the C-suite) to enact
meaningful culture shifts.
Workers are tethered to their devices, but they need to feel
empowered to step away from their computers and take a break
from work. It’s imperative that managers lead by example – whether
by verbally encouraging direct reports to take technology breaks or
taking action by going on short walks. Employers should also set
clear expectations regarding the use of email and other communi-cation
tools after working hours. Setting clear boundaries around
when employees are and are not expected to be available and con-nected
can help them disconnect fully at appropriate times.
Combating tech addiction is difficult given how tech is a perva-sive
part of every aspect of society and is designed to be addictive.
Factoring in the reliance of tech in the workplace, there’s lit-tle
opportunity to fully detach as people are connected to their
devices both in and outside of the workplace. It’s impossible to
fully escape technology’s grip, but employers can play a key part
in setting up a culture and taking concrete steps to empower their
employees to disconnect. n
Michael Serbinis is the founder and CEO of League.
CONTINUE TO EMBRACE
HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
TO COMBAT TECH
ADDICTION AND EMPOWER
juliasudnitskaya / 123RF Stock Photo
54 ❚ SEPTEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL