WorkShift: Introducing the balanced communications diet for business
Did you know that, according to the Future of Work Consortium, during an average working day we are interrupted every 3 minutes...oh, hang on my phone just beeped... now, where was I? As we all carry around devices that are both always on and always on us, the traditional boundaries between work and home are blurring. According to a BT/Cambridge University study, 1 in 3 of us report that we feel overwhelmed by the communications technology.
During our daily lives we have to navigate our way through calls, tweets, pokes, emails, beeps, flashing lights and cope with the pressure of responding to all these like Pavlov’s Dogs did to a ringing bell. The trouble is that, once connected, it is easy to get addicted to that connection. In South Korea, internet addiction is actually considered to be as big a health threat as alcoholism.
Communication is essential for healthy life and good business decisions – but being overwhelmed by communication is not. Just like food is essential for survival – too much of it can be bad for us.
Opinion seems to be changing as to which channel is regarded as the ultimate time devourer – and the spotlight is currently falling on email. Email can create a sudden influx of demand on an individual, leading to ‘information overload’. This makes it particularly problematic for productivity and the ability to process information effectively.
As technology makes us more productive and more efficient, things that used to take days now take minutes. According to Natasha Dwyer from Victoria University in Melbourne, this increases the pressure for people to accomplish more and she believes this is making people both tired and stressed. Richard Balding’s research found that most of us have acquired devices like smart phones to manage our email better. However, he found that the productivity benefits of these devices are displaced by the resulting pressure to keep on top of things. This “always on” aspect can significantly impinge on family time, according to the findings of a study from Cambridge.
As globalisation transforms the way that we do business and access to technologies becomes ubiquitous, the challenges around the use of these technologies become increasingly universal. The frequency of feeling overwhelmed by technology was very similar for the UK, US, and Australia. However, the pattern was strikingly different in China, with most respondents indicating that they rarely if ever felt overwhelmed by communications technology. People in China feel that they have a more positive relationship with technology, even though China was the only country for which high levels of overall communications technology use was also found to impact negatively on well-being.
In this paper, Dr. Nicola Millard examines how we get an analogue/digital balance to match our work-life balance in an era where the 9-to 5-day is increasing being eroded. Are there simple rules to help us to become healthier and more productive in work? How do we prevent work-life blurring onsuming our lives? Find out by downloading the paper below.