Daily conversation around the future of technology means it's easy to become swamped in a sea of digital goings-on – that being the essential technologies and countless spinoff programs, sites and apps we rely on to run our businesses and make each department as efficient as possible. However more and more firms are discovering, to their dismay, that overdoing it can often lead to far less productivity and overall efficiency.
That’s certainly not what any manager wants to see or hear. So we wanted to take a look at how to overcome being mired in the digital quicksand that can drag you down, and how to instead use technology to keep you one step ahead. Let’s start by examining the concept of digital mindfulness and how it can be used to keep your employees working at the peak of their productive selves.
As we’ve examined on previous occasions, and which is no secret - our lives are increasingly focused on the small screens of our computers and smartphones, in the office and outside. We're consuming vast amounts of data and it is only really during sleep that we manage to take a break from engaging with it. Curiously, instead of this constant intake of information making us ever more informed, switched on, and tuned in – and therefore from a work perspective, better at what we do – all this constant and frenzied connectivity is doing is slowing us down. That’s not to say that this data and the way we digest it isn’t paving the way for an unthinkable digital future, but just that as employees of this lifetime, we must be mindful of how to healthily compartmentalize this way of life.
What we're talking about is our mind, and our attention span, which according to Microsoft has shrunk to less than that of a goldfish because of our addiction to digital. Focus – sustained, not fleeting – is essential to get any job done, and that's where digital mindfulness comes in for the modern, online office. It's especially essential to implement alongside multi-device working, to ensure the shift from one to another has no negative impact on concentration and only serves to increase the opportunity for productive working.
Back to Basics
How does digital mindfulness work in practice? You start by paying attention to your attention – and this is important to understand as it's easy for concentration to decrease as a result of getting lost in the sea of digital data available to us. As a manager, it’s crucial to understand that your team need to be working in the moment, interacting with technologies and people to complete each task. Regular breaks from their desk and substituting sitting for standing on occasion are examples of how to enforce regular mental refreshment, which in turn leads to a higher ability to practice digital mindfulness.
Many employers are now turning to training classes, seminars and online courses to understand this concept, which results in the steely focus your team needs to be successful. It cuts out all the digital and online noise and results in less stress on employees, which is only a good thing as it means better work and fewer days off because of illness. Listen to the voices of authors and strategists who discuss how to make digital mindfulness an everyday reality.
The Minimalist Office
Remember when "multitasking" was the brilliant buzzword in almost every office in the world, and employees were expected to be working on their entire to-do list at the same time? Now the opposite is in vogue, and for good reason – with attention spans dimming and productivity declining as a result, single-tasking is what companies are talking about.
Encourage your team to stop working on two, three, four things at once and take just one task, working single-mindedly and efficiently, until it’s done. Think of this vital concept as adopting a minimalist approach to digital and online activities, one where your mind is free and uncluttered and allows you to perform at your best.
It seems accurate to say that the evolution of the modern-day office in recent years has seen a minimalistic approach to all aspects of working life. From computer accessories that allow you to rid your desk of papers, large devices and power chords, to active encouragement of single tasked working – digital mindfulness aligns itself with a movement towards efficient working, rather than all hours working, to get a task done. Technology has never been a bigger part of everyday life – we just have to look at the Internet of Things to understand that – and it’s time for companies to ensure that employees are taking the right and healthy approach to this movement.
Have you been part of the conversation around digital mindfulness this year? How do you think this is working in conjunction with the ever increasing mass of data and technology used to run a company?
Let us know below or over on LinkedIn.