Following our debate on the Right to Disconnect in this article, we asked expert Anna Kotwinski, co-founder of digital wellbeing company Shine Offline for her top hacks because, whether legislation is introduced or not, we all, as individuals, need to take responsibility for our relationship with technology… which takes us neatly to her first hack.
1. Take personal responsibility
Put some hard edges in your day and decide when your work stops and personal life starts.
2. Keep your bedroom a tech free zone
…To remove the temptation of looking at your work communications before you go to sleep, in the middle of the night and first thing in the morning.
3. Take work email off your phone
If possible have two phones to separate your professional from personal.
4. Shut down work tech at the end of the working day
And try and resist logging back on. If you are working in an office why not leave work tech there?
5. Manage expectations of others around out of hours
Agree with colleagues how you should be contacted in the event of a real emergency. Consider using out of offices to communicate your availability.
6. Draft and schedule non-urgent communications if working out of hours
It shows respect to the recipient’s off time and creates a healthier culture.
7. Be sympathetic to the time zones of others
When sending communications or arranging meetings
8. Everyone needs a holiday no one should be indispensable
A proper handover means that people can have a true rest and only expect to be contacted in real emergencies. This is extra important if you are the boss! The manager who ‘just checks in’ is not only impacting their own ability to rest and recharge but is setting an expectation for the team.
9. Managers need to lead by example
The behaviour of team managers and leaders in being explicit about expectations, modelling good behaviour and gently pulling up where their people fall short is crucial to creating a healthy digital culture.
10. Consider creating a Team Digital Communications Charter
This takes into account the real life demands of any one given team and creates guidance to encourage conscious, respectful and purposeful use of tech that allows everyone the right to disconnect.