Technology is always in the palm of our hands – literally because it seems like every single person always has their phone in their hand or within feet of them. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve bumped into walking down the street with their heads in their phone … what a shame.
This has caused us to shift to an “always-on” work culture because we have immediate access to work emails via our cell phones along with files and everything else stored in the Cloud. It’s become an addiction, which has made us more productive —but has also created gigantic stress that needs to be re-looked at.
With this constant work mode, the lines are blurred between working hours and personal time. Is this a bad thing? Should we disconnect from this “always-on” work culture? I say … yes! If you can’t rejuvenate and shut down, it will always end badly. One of the positive impacts of AI and machine learning is that it can serve this role for us. A time saver, if you will, so we don’t have to lose our sanity.
Disconnecting Helps Reduce Stress
A study by Kansas State University found that disconnecting from work is vital for the brain to function properly. Team members feel they always need to be available in order to show they are dedicated to their jobs, but this leads to high levels of both psychological and emotional stress. Work ends up draining your team’s energy and will easily burn out and become fatigued. It is so stressful to continue working around the clock with no true break.
Disconnecting Improves Relationships
While checking your email outside of work may not seem like a huge deal, it does add up and takes away time with your friends and family. You’re never present when you're being present to your devices. You don’t have the mental capacity to invest in important relationships and you also don’t have the time if you are constantly attached to your phone or computer. When you get home, put your phone down and focus on what is in front of you.
You Will Be Better at Your Job
You are probably wondering how you could possibly be better at your job if you aren’t constantly tuned in, but it has been proven that constant multitasking decreases the quality of work. When your brain is always at work, it eventually takes a toll on your motivation. When you have the degree of separation, you can really focus on work at work and then focus on your personal life at home. Think about how much longer it takes you to accomplish a task when you feel burnt out and like you have never had a break from it.
Disconnecting Creates Balance
Regularly disconnecting from work can reduce stress, increase the quality of your work, improve relationships and maintain a healthy emotional state. It is difficult, but it is also possible, to set aside time without your phone or laptop. You may need to set a cutoff time at night, for a specific day or just a few hours in the early morning. You need to make sure you have time for yourself.
We know there’s a problem when there are apps to help you stop spending so much time with your phone (apps)!
The answer is, yes, we do need to disconnect from our “always-on” work culture. Separate work from home and your life will improve in both aspects.