How to use technology and not let it use your employees

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Florence Parot tells us how your employees should manage technology to increase productivity without affecting their work-life balance.

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“Technology is robbing us of natural darkness, it is now possible to be exposed to intense light day and night. But bright screens overstimulate our brain, maintain it awake and lead to sleeping issues. “

We are all aware of the prowess of technology and how all those little gadgets we love so much are helping us save time and be more productive… but are they really?

While it would be impossible to function in business without being connected, questioning the use and time spent on them could lead to increased productivity. Here too, less is more.

Let’s examine the facts:

Technology is robbing us of natural darkness, it is now possible to be exposed to intense light day and night. But bright screens overstimulate our brain, maintain it awake and lead to sleeping issues. Recent research shows that even back-lit tablets will decrease the level of melatonin produced and therefore delay sleep time.

Researcher Linda Stone found in 2008 that 80% of people appear to have “email apnea”: they hold their breath when an email arrives, which can contribute to stress-related diseases.

AOL 4th annual Email Addiction Survey in July 2008 found that 51% check their emails more than four times a day. One in five do so more than 10 times a day. Since then, AOL hasn’t bothered to do another survey: we are now connected 24/7!

In 2005, research from the University of London showed that texting and emailing throughout the working day can « fog your brain » as much as smoking cannabis, knocking 10 points off your IQ.

After being interrupted in our work (and how often does that happen during the day?), we need up to 25 minutes to recover our full attention and performance level.

And the list could go on.

So how can we still benefit from the tools technology offers us without letting it overtake our lives and crash our work performance?

Here are a few tips from the experts to get you and your teams started:

  • No email checking after-hours – some companies have actually established this as a rule or put it place systems that will not allow you to do it even if you want to!
  • Disable your email alert on your computer as a minimum; close the email box altogether if you are feeling brave and only check your emails at set times during the day (4 times maximum).
  • Turn off your mobile phone alerts (do you really need a “ping” each time someone posts a trivial something?) and unless you are expecting a crucial call, disable all sounds when working on something that requires your full attention.
  • Step away from the screens at regular interval and move, walk around the office.

And outside of the office?

  • Put your mobile phone away, it is not attached to your hand;
  • Avoid all screens in the bedroom and switch everything off at least ½ hour before going to bed;
  • If you use your mobile phone as an alarm clock, put it on flight mode and at least one metre away from your head. Even better, use a dawn simulator as an alarm clock instead, your sleep quality will improve and your performance at work will no doubt follow!
  • Introduce “switch off Sundays” or digital detox holidays for the whole family… not for the faint hearted!

About Florence Parot

Enlightened Strategies for Peak Performance

Florence is an international expert in Stress and Sleep management, a Performance Coach and Sophrology* Practitioner.

She works with executives who need to perform at a high level and face pressures and challenges on an everyday basis. She teaches them practical tools and strategies to be at their best when they need it most, know how to “switch off” and “on” at will, remain in control, have energy, focus, a clear head and build resilience. With methods similar to those used by Olympians, she helps her clients develop the brain power of a corporate athlete: their mind at its best!

Florence worked in high-performance environments within Strategy Consulting and International Logistics before training as a Sophrology Practitioner and a Coach. She has been running her own business for 8 years. In 2010, Florence opened the first Sophrology training centre in the UK, The Sophrology Academy, recognised in 2013 as a centre of excellence by the profession.

Florence is a member of the Editorial Committee of the French magazine “Sophrologie, Pratiques et Perspectives” and blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and Psychologies Magazine’s Life Labs. She published her first book: Instant Serenity for Life and Work: An Introduction to Sophrology in 2012 and wrote as the burnout expert for Guide de Sophrologie Appliquée, a book directed at Sophrology professionals in France in 2014.

* Sophrology is a very modern and flexible form of mindfulness used in companies, schools and hospitals on the continent for 50+ years to achieve an alert mind in a relaxed body.

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