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Digital Wellness for the Modern Workplace

digitalwellness mental health mental strength workwellbeing May 15, 2024
Digital Wellness for the Modern Workplace

Being cared for as an employee, looking after your team members, or supporting those in your workplace, in general, can feel difficult when we’re constantly switched “on.” With many of us needing our digital devices and the internet to effectively do our jobs, there seem to be only rare times when we’re not communicating in some form. The digital era has connected us in multiple, powerful ways, but with that ability to constantly be available, the line between offline and online can often be blurred. 

Digital wellness at work is usually two-fold: the responsibility of the employer and employee to mutually understand and create healthy boundaries and then, to collectively act upon these guidelines in a tender, consistent way. It may not necessarily mean completely disconnecting from technology for certain periods as a whole, but rather allowing the modern workplace to become aware of the negative impact that not being present has on themselves and their loved ones.

The Importance of Employee Wellbeing

Workplace well-being is a combination of factors that contribute to the overall satisfaction of employees at work. There are a few general areas of well-being in the workplace; these relate to the social, emotional, financial, digital, physical, and mental well-being of team members. For an employee to feel supported and to do their best, there needs to be a structure in place to meet basic needs. 

According to studies, 66% of employees feel that they don’t have a work-life balance. Organizations try to put systems and plans in place to meet their employees where they think they may need it most. Some of the basics that contribute to the overall well-being of an employee are being paid fairly, ensuring sufficient time off, and having a clear, comprehensive package that outlines additional benefits and working conditions. We can easily forget that work is meant to be enjoyable and not just about receiving a paycheck. 

When employees are in positions where they can get into a flow state and feel valued, they are more likely to have job satisfaction and produce their best work. It’s true that an organization that sets out to provide a positive employee experience is more likely to retain the best staff.

So, what can employers do to ensure that their employees are supported where they need it most?

Including Digital Wellness 

Taking a proactive approach to digital well-being can help you keep mental health in check - on all fronts. As much as an employer needs to step up and provide the norms for the digital wellness approach of the business, employees also need to be aware of potential issues such as burnout and ensure that they are aware of their boundaries. 

With many of us working from home, there isn’t always a clear divide between work life and home life. Our computer screens (with many work apps linked to our phones as well) are only a moment away. It takes consistent and intentional boundary setting to divide our time as otherwise, it could easily feel like we’re always available to work with rest only for rare and momentary occasions. This is where employee burnout starts to become an issue.

Join positive psychology practitioner, Sha-En Yeo in her online short course to gain practical ways to prevent burnout.

Well-Being for Preventing Burnout

Understanding limitations and personal signs of stress can help detect early signs of burnout from a lack of digital wellness. Feeling constantly exhausted, unappreciated and brushed off, and perhaps starting to take longer than usual to complete tasks, are some of the indications of existing or looming burnout. Many times, employees are working at a certain level for so long that they are not even aware of how stressed they have been feeling. Encouraging reflection in the form of journaling or speaking to a designated person could help prevent situations from spiraling.

The recovery from burnout can take a long time, so it’s important to take a preventative rather than reactive approach. Besides the mental and physical strain that something like burnout has on an individual overall, it has far-reaching ripple effects on their work, colleagues, the organization, and personal life at home. 

Safeguarding employees with education and practical tools such as communication techniques to help assert themselves, time-management skills, and creating an open environment will build relationships and company culture. Making use of digital time management apps such as Notion, Trello or Clockify can also help teams to get an idea of where they are spending time online. On a personal level, you can also play around with your phone settings to enable a ‘Sleep Mode’ that blocks notifications from a certain time in the evening to when you’re ready for work again in the morning.

Long-Term Well-Being Resolutions

If employers aim to build a team of top talent that is loyal and in it for the long run, there are several ways to keep employees engaged and happy at work. Well-being is a lot more than just a free lunch or a subscription; prioritizing the needs of employees means putting yourself in their shoes and being open to adjusting policies to support one another. 

Employers are not always aware of the challenges that their employees are facing. Creating the space for a safe and open flow of communication will allow employees to feel comfortable enough to speak up about their struggles. It can create a platform for collaboration, and in that, a sense of ownership. Allow employees to share their ideas of what would add to their understanding and hopes of wellness and balance. Taking the time to teach managers about healthy conflict management techniques and approaching different personalities could be the make-or-break factor that keeps an employee from moving on.

Making sure that employees use up their annual leave and make time to rest, are encouraged to grow and learn, engage in two-way communication, understand which leadership styles could best serve them, and feel a sense of being accepted and valued, can help retain not only satisfied but happy, thriving employees. A lot of this boils down to company culture. It is more than what is written on walls or documents, it is what the leaders breathe and live out; how they enforce the visions and philosophies of workplace wellness. 

Learn more about how to communication positively in Jana Dawson's online short course. 

Encouraging Life Outside Work

A report showed that 72% of respondents consider work-life balance an important factor when looking for a job. As an employer, you may feel that your company culture could do with a revisit. Taking the time to sit down with key partners to strategize and then turning to your organization - your family - for their feedback could create a more beautiful, more in-sync philosophy that serves as a win-win. It’s also important to revisit this as our ever-changing world develops, innovates, and brings in the new.

Using Digital Well-Being Apps

As we stay on top of changes, helping employees find healthy ways to work alongside technology instead of feeling the need to resist it could also be helpful. Research has shown that almost 800 million people worldwide are living with mental health conditions.

When we’re able to use what’s out there to our advantage, we feel more equipped and in control to manage our lives. With mental health apps such as Infijoy, we have quick and easy access to support and tailored information. Owing to the demand and lack of available resources for many struggling across the globe, well-being platforms can be used to help bridge the mental health gap. With a combination of effective tools and evidenced-based techniques related to emotional intelligence and mental health, this is a great way to equip employees with new skills to enhance their emotional fitness. 

A Harvard study found that digital well-being platforms that offer meditation and ways to live more mindfully have clear benefits for users. It was shown that users experienced decreased depression and increased positive emotions after just 10 days of use.

Practicing Well-Being at Work

A healthy culture where people can support one another has proven benefits. To enhance well-being at work, create and nurture a company culture where employees feel safe and at home. When this is done thoughtfully and effectively, you'll notice fewer cases of employee burnout and higher levels of engagement. Including a mental health app in the lives of your workforce makes well-being accessible to all.

Investing in getting to know your employees more and helping them grow and move closer to their goals has been proven to have a positive positive effect on employee retention. Simon Sinek famously said that customers will only love a company once the employees love it first.

Knowledge is power, and from this, the right approach and tools can be harnessed to ensure digital wellness for employees.  

Join The Science of Happiness at Work short online course to learn more about this topic. 

All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals and other resources that influenced this article: Job Satisfaction: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Analysis in a Well-Educated Population; An Overview of employee retention strategies & its impact on turnover of the employees; Factors Affecting Employee Retention: Integration of Situational Leadership With Social Exchange Theory; Effects of Positive Practices on Organizational Effectiveness; My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners; Do mental health mobile apps work: evidence and recommendations for designing high-efficacy mental health mobile apps; Mental Health;

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