Wellbeing is a term that can be defined across a multitude of areas in our lives. There’s emotional wellbeing, which relates to how we feel mentally and can often guide how we respond to situations on an emotional level. Physical wellbeing addresses the way our physical bodies perform and can often be affected through illness or guided by our overall health. Financial wellbeing, relates to how secure we feel with money and how this affects various aspects of our lives. But what about digital wellbeing? Take a look below as we explore what role digital wellbeing plays within the workplace.
Using Digital Technology at Work
For the purpose of this article, we are referring to digital wellbeing as how the use of digital technology can affect employees in the workplace across an emotional and physical level.
We are all used to hearing about how our screen time is centred around social media or gaming on a daily basis but what about the millions of workers who sit in front of a computer screen every day? Statistics from 2021 showed that 76% of the UK population were using a laptop (Statista).
In the workplace especially, a lot of employee activity will be centred around managing tasks through personal devices including laptops, desktops and mobiles. It has even been shown through previous findings that the average office worker receives 121 emails a day.
With such a high percentage of the public using digital technology throughout their professional and personal lives, it can all contribute towards the overall health and safety of any organisation.
What is the Effect?
We’ve all heard of burnout, and being glued to a screen for a full working day, answering emails, sending requests and managing a variety of tasks, can all take its toll after a while. Despite this, a report from the CIPD interestingly showed ‘no direct evidence of an association between digital work and mental wellbeing.’ However, there was evidence to suggest that digital work does relate to risks associated with various mental wellbeing factors.
‘An excessive volume of emails is evidently a sign of excessive work demands, and we have evidence that it creates anxiety by reducing workers’ sense of control, as they fear they will fall behind in their work or miss important information. We also find good evidence that expectations or demands to respond swiftly via digital communication tools is bad for workers’ mental health’ (Mental Wellbeing and Digital Work Report)
With hybrid working becoming part of many business strategies throughout the UK over the past two years, an article from the Guardian in 2021 showed that at the time, those workers who were working remotely were putting in more hours. ‘Surveys also showed home workers taking shorter lunch breaks, working through sickness, and more workers being “always on” as the split between working and leisure time is blurred.’ (Research from Wildgoose) Factors such as these led to the ongoing concern of burnout across organisations.
The physical toll that can come with a lot of online activity has also been highlighted as an area to manage. Long periods staring at screens have been shown to strain eyes and can sometimes result in issues such as headaches. The Health and Safety Executive recommends workers take short breaks (5-10 minutes) every hour but this is currently not stated as legal guidance and it is up to business leaders to determine their break strategies.
What Support is Available?
With increased time and digital work becoming more prominent across organisations, it is important for organisations to see what effect this is having across the workplace and acknowledge digital wellbeing as an important factor to address.
If your business needs support with understanding employee wellbeing and identifying areas that may be of a concern, try Edtesa Wellbeing. This toolkit provides employee surveys with freedom to pose predetermined questions towards your workforce to gauge how they are feeling from a wellbeing perspective. Analytical data is then provided to see where strengths and weaknesses lie across the workplace whilst offering supporting resources to help you navigate concerns.
Enquire now, to find out more about how Edtesa Wellbeing can support any of the issues mentioned in this article.