We live in a digital-first world where you start and end your day looking at a screen. From turning off your phone alarm in the morning and subsequently scrolling through emails, to spending the majority of your day staring at a spreadsheet or on Zoom calls, It’s no wonder people are suffering from digital fatigue. But what exactly is digital fatigue and what can be done about it?
Digital fatigue, which since 2020 has more commonly been referred to as zoom fatigue or technology fatigue, is a form of mental exhaustion which occurs after an intense amount of screen time. We’ve all been guilty of spending too much time on different devices in previous years, however, this has only increased since the start of the pandemic.
With more people working remotely than ever before, digital fatigue has certainly increased exponentially since 2020. Not only are there fewer distractions, like lunch with colleagues, face-to-face meetings and a screen-free commute, but the number of platforms and devices we’re using has increased.
From emails and messaging apps, to Zoom and Skype – many of us are flitting between different platforms in order to communicate with clients and colleagues. When this is combined with the increased time at our desks there is undoubtably more chance of digital fatigue occurring.
Taking time away from technology can be difficult, especially when you’re working from home, trying to keep in touch with friends and family and looking for ways to entertain yourself in the evening – binge-watching your favourite series still counts as screen time. So, what exactly can be done to combat digital fatigue?
It’s probably the first thing you look at in the morning and the last thing you look at before you go to sleep, but keeping your phone in your bedroom can heavily contribute towards digital fatigue.
Instead of having your phone on your bedside table whilst you sleep, try keeping it in another room to avoid the temptation of picking it up the minute you wake up. We know, we know – what about your alarm, right? Instead of relying on your phone to get you up in the morning, try investing in a traditional alarm clock to give you a little extra time away from those screens, which could be replaced with reading, meditation, or even an extra five minutes in bed. Or if you're like me, have two children under the age of 5 and that'll make sure you don't need an alarm.
During the pandemic, people were looking for new ways to communicate – not only with friends and family, but with colleagues and clients too. However, with so many people to catch up with, this meant that we were forced to use different tools for different people.
Some of the most dowloaded apps in the UK in 2022 included:
· Zoom (19 million downloads)
· WhatsApp (18 million downloads)
· Microsoft Teams (14 million downloads)
· Google Meet (12 million downloads)
With so many apps to flit between (on top of emails and phone calls), it’s no wonder that digital fatigue has affected so many people, with 41% of UK consumers reporting feelings of digital fatigue.
However, one of the best ways to alleviate these feelings is to consolidate your apps into one central location and Workiro is the ideal choice. With Slack and Outlook integrations, and easy delegation that doesn’t require another Zoom call – GetBusy allows you to centralise all of your day-to-day tasks at work, which can dramatically improve digital fatigue.
Just as you’d schedule a meeting with a colleague, it’s important to set aside some time each day to take a break from screens. From eating your lunch away from your desk (we’re all guilty), to heading out for a walk instead of yet another evening watching on your favourite series – taking time out is one of the best ways to alleviate digital fatigue.
Additionally, if you’re managing a remote team, there are a number of processes you can implement to help protect your colleagues from digital fatigue, including:
· Promote walking meetings on the phone, rather than Zoom calls
· Allow a camera-off policy in meetings where possible
· Provide your team with work phones
· Encourage your team to book annual leave
· Offer flexible working hours
If you can feel yourself becoming unmotivated, tired and stressed at work, then it might be time to take action.