As we press on into the ever-congealing digital age, new pieces of technology slowly edging their way into our immediate orbits, we wonder whether or not being surrounded by all of this convenience is a good thing. Quick answer: yes, yes it is. We have everything at our beck and call thanks to fibre optic broadband, social media and the tech behemoths at Silicon Valley. However, with the workplace becoming ever-reliant on machines is it a good idea to step away from the screens for a while and in what capacity?
The honest truth is, we are likely the best judge of what works best for us and should not endeavour to all switch off the computers at once in mass protest against the machines, let’s not be dramatic. What always helps is incorporating something into the working day that does, in fact, constitute work but isn’t necessarily on a computer.
This might be increasingly difficult if your job is one that revolves around tech like: IT technician. Most of us work with computers, laptops, phones, apps…I get it. The best option here is to get some sort of activity that engages the body as well as the cognitive functions. There is an old belief that the people who work with their hands are happiest because it has health benefits.
Engaging a different part of the brain than the one you are used to should be the goal. If there are no options to unpack boxes, go flyering or take a trip to meet a client face-to-face, sometimes a simple activity that engages the brain in an easy but active way can be best. Puzzles and card games are helpful alternatives to mind training video games that are popular in some offices.
The truth is that perhaps we have to go beyond turning screens off in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many experts believe that jobs that have a negative impact on the health of an individual are actually those that require no judgement. It’s the level of autonomy you get from working with your hands with concrete or with tools that give those that choose it a sense of purpose.
Autonomy can often be taken from a person if they feel their job is too easy or decision-making doesn’t factor into their work schedule. In most cases, this can be when they are overly reliant on technology.
We have seen entire occupations disappear because they would be done more efficiently by machines and so work satisfaction levels can be traced back to jobs where technology basically does the job for them. A good way to give autonomy back to workers is from the top down. The idea should start from the hiring process, with bosses getting more employees in, based on trust and giving them more responsibilities.
Invite these employees in for discussion and make their opinion and judgement mean something. If they feel they are in control their working lives will be a lot happier, machines or no machines.