What is Digital Wellbeing?

we all know we should be looking after our physical and emotional wellbeing

But are you supporting your employees with their digital wellbeing...

Employee wellbeing has been a big focus for many HR teams in recent years, with a heightened focus on staff’s mental and physical health. But a comprehensive wellbeing strategy should cover more than that, it should look at all five pillars of wellbeing:

  • Physical
  • Emotional and Mental
  • Financial
  • Social
  • Digital

If just one of these areas of our wellbeing isn’t being supported, it can affect all aspects of our life. Here’s what you need to know about what digital wellbeing is and why it’s important…


What is Digital Wellbeing?

When we’re looking after our digital wellbeing, it’s all about how we take control of the tech in our life, that it’s helping us to do our job and we don’t feel distracted by or overwhelmed by it. We should be able to switch off outside of work hours, manage our screen time and ensure that it doesn’t negatively impact our relationships, wellbeing or sleep.

As a business, you should be creating a culture where technology helps improve our efficiency and everyone understands the risks of using tech too much. You should also highlight the importance of a healthy work-life balance and empower your employees to feel they can use technology in a way that suits them and is respectful of others.

Free Online Whitepaper: How to Cultivate a Culture of Wellbeing in the Changing  World of Work Click here to download today.


Why is Supporting Your Employees With Their Digital Wellbeing Important?

We are all living in a world surrounded by tech, whether it’s the phone in our pocket, the watch on our wrist or the laptop we use to work. So, it’s clear that digital wellbeing is more important than ever, but it’s often overlooked by many employers.

Working from home isn’t going anywhere, with Nationwide the latest company to announce a new work from anywhere policy, and it’s clear why. With benefits of remote working including greater productivity and flexibility. But there are some challenges. Between the new phenomena of Zoom fatigue to an always on mentality, some employees might find it difficult to switch off. According to research by Henley Business School 61% of managers asked felt that technology make it difficult to switch off from work.

There are also physical problems that come from overuse of technology, including:

  • Eye strain and potential blurred vision
  • Sleep issues
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep


How Can Employers Help?

Encourage employees to switch off notifications when they need to
There’s nothing worse than being completely focused on a difficult task and then getting an email alert or chat notification that disrupts our work. Let your employees know that it’s okay to go offline if they need to focus on something, make use of functions like Don’t Disturb on your phone and Teams or Zoom.

Help them avoid Zoom fatigue:

When we’re working from home it can feel like we spend all day in back-to-back video meetings, which can be tiring and doesn’t give us time to get work done.

If your employees are concerned about the amount of time they’re spending in meetings, let them know that it’s okay to say no if they need to. Or suggest alternatives to a video call, like a walking meeting on the phone, which is good for their physical wellbeing too.

Where possible, try to get all company meetings kept to around 45-50 minutes. That way there’s space between meetings for employees to take a break from their screen, grab a drink and give them time to stretch and stand up from their desk.

Set guidelines around using work devices outside of hours:

When we’re working from home, it can be easy to reply to emails after work or finish a task. You could set guidelines to discourage people from emailing outside of their work hours, so they don’t feel like they have to be always on. It’s important for your guidelines to have some flexibility so that people can choose the hours they work in.

It’s best to start from the top, so try to encourage managers to not send emails and tasks to their team outside of their hours.

Make sure annual leave is used:

Even if we can’t go anywhere just yet, it’s still important we take time off from work. This can help us to feel refreshed and be more productive when we’re back at work. So make sure you encourage your employees to use their annual leave allowance fully, and to make sure they don’t check work messages while they’re off. It’s also important to try not to disturb annual leave too, this can disrupt our break and reduce the benefit of it.

Encourage regular breaks:

It can be all too easy to go a couple of hours working away and not get up for a break, but this isn’t good for our physical or digital wellbeing. Try to encourage your employees to make sure they take little breaks throughout the day, as well as getting away from their desk at lunch.

Give them access to the equipment they need

According to a report from Natural HR, 20% said that poor workspace and equipment was their biggest challenge when working from home. Whether it’s a laptop stand or a second screen, it’s important to make sure all your employees have the tech they need to do their job efficiently, wherever they work.


How we can help:

We know that offering a comprehensive staff wellbeing policy that suits all employees isn’t always easy. If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your employees’ health and wellbeing, why not get in touch with our experts? They can help guide you through solutions and plans you can put in place to help your staff.

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Henley Business School
Natural HR