Thanks for Robin Jean Marie’s [Dec. 5] column on our all-too-plugged-in world. She made me laugh out loud and I applaud her take on being overly wired.
In fact, digital detox for employees is one of my favorite soapbox topics.Research released in May of this year by the U.S. Army and the University of California at Irvine (http://bit.ly/IZ5wYV) demonstrated significantly lower stress levels in subjects denied access to email for five days.
They also reported greater ability to focus on their jobs. This is a great example of the fact that cell phones and related tools of communication have created a conundrum for managers: Do you want employees to be available 24/7, or do you want them performing at their peak levels?
Because if employees are spending their evenings, weekends and vacations plugged in and on high alert, they’re not going to return to the office relaxed, recharged and ready for whatever challenges the day might bring.
Even the employees themselves may resist the idea of digital detox. There’s some thought that we become addicted to the frequent adrenaline charge of another email or text — that surprise package feeling Marie references.
It’s up to managers within organizations to promote the idea that digital detox is acceptable and can even promote productivity in the long run.So what happens when we do turn off the cell phone and power down the computer?
At first, we may feel a little anxious. What if we’re missing something? But those who give it a try report an increased ability to concentrate and heightened creativity, not to mention lower levels of stress.
All you business owners and high-ranking managers out there: I dare you to give digital detox a try in your organization.
Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin