January 11, 2017

It’s time to ‘go topless’ (but not quite what you’re thinking…)

Don’t deny it… You sometimes check your emails while you talk on the phone, watch a Youtube video during a conference call, or text message whilst having lunch with a friend. Oh, you are so good at multitasking! Whilst smartphones and wearables have enhanced our lives in many ways, a new society of stressed and easily distracted men and women has sprouted along with it. It’s time to switch off (for a little bit anyway)!

Have you ever wanted to throw your phone overboard and move to the peaceful countryside? Despite being a tech company, sometimes we have this feeling too. It’s okay! There is plenty of research including the recently published study by the Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham Trent show that we are 26% more productive without our smartphone. Psychiatrist and “Crazy Busy” author, Dr. Edward Hallowell, explores the society-wide phenomenon of culturally induced ADD by these new technologies. According to Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company constantly researching within this field, there’s another factor we might need to consider: digital amnesia at work. Meaning that employees who use their devices to take notes during a meeting, are less likely to comprehend the content of the meeting itself.

So, whether you manage a team or would like to improve your concentration, what’s the next step? Don’t worry, we’re not going to rally against owning a smartphone given we’re a mobile first platform! However, there are few tricks and tips that you could implement in order to make the most out of yours or your employees working day.

How about starting by setting a “smartphone-free time”. Meaning that no smartphones would be allowed during a meeting, or the first hour of the day for example. In fact, it’s not that crazy. Think about Silicon Valley, the mecca for all technological companies. Well, as surprising as it might be, they are starting to ban cellphones and laptops during their meetings as a way to increase attention to what’s been said in the moment, rather than turning to their pockets. This has been given the quietly hilarious name of “going topless!”.

You could also try engaging in fun challenges, such as putting all smartphones in the middle of the table during a work lunch or morning workshop. Whoever touches their phone first shouts a round of coffees or drinks at the pub on Friday night. It’s a way to transform the anxiety generated from not checking your phone, into a fun competition.

Essentially all we’re trying to highlight here is that whilst we are all very dependent on our phones for both work and pleasure, it is possible to take a break and channel that energy into a different kind of productivity. It’s up to you how to implement this. Just try to get away from your smartphone for an hour a day. Maybe you’ll lock it in a drawer and see if you can complete that task within the timeframe, or ask your employees to leave their phones behind for your next meeting and see if the outcome changes at all.

Go topless or go home!