TECHNOLOGY is undoubtedly useful and educational and fosters creativity, connectivity and pleasure. However, it seems more and more people are choosing to live in the world they hold in the palm of their hands, opposed to enjoying the real moments that take place around them.
That is why fix2U is at the helm of the National Day of Unplugging in Australia, encouraging everyone Down Under to participate in a 24-hour break from technology.
Co-founder of fix2U Rex Scrivener says the day, which runs from sundown on 10 March 2018 to sundown 11 March 2018, highlights the value of disconnecting from digital devices and reconnecting with the real world.
“Technology is great but it can sometimes control us rather than assist us,” says Mr Scrivener.
“So, turn off your devices, spend time with family and friends or use the day to think about life, business and goals.”
fix2U, Australia’s only nation-wide phone repair callout service, is calling on all Aussies to take the pledge and order a free smartphone sleeping bag from fix2u.com.
Mr Scrivener says he is particularly passionate about seeing corporate clients come on board to encourage employees to unplug.
He says the concept of a good workplace has been part of office culture for decades, but many business owners still don’t know all it entails and don’t understand the benefits of workers disconnecting from all things digital.
“The evolution of digital devices mean we are constantly connected to the office and it can become difficult to switch off from our jobs,” says Mr Scrivener.
“From a productivity point of view, it might seem great that employees are always on call or checking emails on weekends, however having employees constantly working can do your business more harm than good.”
“Employees who continue to work outside of office hours don’t get a chance to fully recover from the strains of office life, and ultimately productivity and creativity can suffer when tired employees return to work.
“Allowing employees time off to relax can result in an all-round boost in office morale.”
Mr Scrivener says businesses that don’t already have a strategy in place to encourage employees to do a digital detox outside office hours should use the National Day of Unplugging as a catalyst for a new company culture.
“Encourage your employees to disconnect from the online world and reconnect with the world offline in order to restore some balance in their lives,” says Mr Scrivener.
Human resource management and recruitment specialist Nathalie Lynton agrees and says ‘phone etiquette’ in the workplace is a common topic of discussion, particularly in relation to work/life balance.
“My personal rule of thumb is that you don’t send anything – texts, emails, or social media messages – that needs an immediate response outside of business hours, and if its outside business hours, I certainly don’t expect my employees respond,” says Ms Lynton, who is the Director of Shared and Halved Consulting.
Ms Lynton has worked with big brands including Optus and says mobile phone etiquette in the workplace is an overtime issue and employees need to be aware of their obligations, rights and entitlements in this area.
“I would stress that you discuss it and negotiate with each employee before they sign their contract,” says Ms Lynton.
“They may be comfortable with you calling out of hours, but not between 6pm and 7pm when they have dinner with their family, or maybe they will be happy to be contacted at any time, but only if they have some flexibility with their work schedule.
“By giving them some control, you’re reducing the resentment every time the phone rings and that’s important when it comes to keeping your employees happy.”
Ms Lynton adds that another important factor to consider is how you encourage employees to unplug.
“We all need balance, so getting a break from work, and from technology is important,” she says.
“Australia is one of the hardest working countries when it comes to overtime and that is because we use and check emails too much. Try and get into the habit of checking emails only twice a day and use collaborative tools such as Asana, Slack or Yammer to ‘chat’ about work issues.”
Businesses and individuals that want to join the movement in Australia, visit: http://www.fix2u.com/unplugging.
The National Day of Unplugging is an initiative of Reboot. For more information visit www.nationaldayofunplugging.com.
Five tech-free things to do on the National Day of Unplugging:
Read – with the evolution of smartphones, kindles and online bookstores, more and more people are using their devices to read and get their daily dose of news. When was the last time you held a book in your hands? When was the last time you turned the page of a newspaper? Use the National Day of Unplugging to get back to basics!
- Explore – you don’t need reception on the National Day of Unplugging so why not go hiking in the mountains and reconnect with nature. We bet you follow plenty of Instagram accounts that boast beautiful images of this earth, so why not explore it for yourself!
- Become a foodie – some of the most popular Instagram accounts are those that have colourful images of food and drinks. Instead of salivating at pictures, chose a restaurant you haven’t been to and take the time to really enjoy the cuisine. Or, why not get in the kitchen and come up with your own concoction.
- Reconnect with friends – have you got a friend you speak to almost everyday, but you can’t actually remember the last time you saw him or her? Instead of communicating through Facebook Messenger, plan an outing.
- Cross the finish line – “I will get to it next week,” said absolutely everyone at one time or another. Stop putting off those trivial tasks around the house and finish that project you started! Whether you’re half way through building a tree house for the kids, your car needs a good clean, or your vegie garden is looking a little worse for wear, the National Day of Unplugging is the time to get stuff done. Trust us, you will feel better for it!