With remote work becoming the new normal, everyone is glued to their laptop and computer screens. Before this, employees would take a break from work by having a chat near the cooler or grabbing something to drink from a nearby cafe, but now, even communication is done online. So, does that mean we should cut off communication time between remote employees?
Of course not. Remote employees should communicate now more than ever before to provide one another emotional and mental support through this period of isolation. But how much screen time is simply too much?
Recent studies have revealed that many adults are forming an addiction to their screens. And more than half of our local population in Singapore is struggling to limit the time spent on their digital screens. We spend approximately 6 hours on the desktop completing work-related tasks paired with 4 hours of leisure usages such as surfing social media, online shopping, streaming movies and so on.
The desire to constantly check our digital devices is strongly ingrained in us. Remote work only further escalates these addictions as we are unlikely to go out and pursue off-screen activities.
The common issues that arise from too much screen time are lack of sleep, being physically unfit, poor mental health and possibly strengthening other forms of addictions too! There are no fixed answers as to what is the ideal screen time for adults. However, there are other ways to mitigate the negative effects of prolonged screen time.
Fix your sleep schedule
After a long day of back-to-back zoom calls, replying to numerous emails, working on digital projects and so on, you should reserve a gadget-free period before you go to sleep to ensure you get a restful night that will set you up for success the following day! However, most of us have the habit of scrolling through social media before we sleep, which often causes us to stay up during ungodly hours.
Sustaining a regular bedtime schedule and making your bedroom a sleep-friendly environment are two good habits to develop to achieve quality sleep. You must also make the effort to not let your digital devices interfere with your sleep routine (even if this is a habit). Another option is to keep blue light sources away from you or turn off your device at night.
Take breaks in between your screen time
Break up continuous blocks of screen time usage by stretching, maintaining good posture, and intermittently focusing on a distant object for 20 seconds. Try not to schedule back-to-back meetings and allow yourself to take a quick break in between every screen-related task. One simple exercise you can do to relax your eyes is by cupping your hands lightly over your eyes for 30 seconds. This may reduce the mental clutter you tend to experience from staring at your screen for long hours. Additionally, to mitigate the behavioural effects of frequent screen time, adults are encouraged not to eat in front of a screen to reduce their day to day digital usage.
Pick up a new screen-free hobby
During your free time, instead of watching TV or engaging in social media activities, why not pick up a new habit that involves very little screen time? You can start by reading a book during the weekends or by listening to a podcast. Trading a one-hour-long TV show for a one-hour-long podcast truly makes a difference. Firstly, it reduces the amount of screen time, and secondly, you get to multi-task! Watching the TV requires you to sit down and focus on the show, but listening to podcasts means you get to go for a walk outside or do some house cleaning while enjoying the podcast.
Adjust the settings on your phone
There is an array of functions on your phone that are meant to help you reduce your screen time. Try turning off non-essential notifications on your phone. For example, if you dismiss incoming alerts from Instagram, you will no longer be prompted to check the app every single time there is a new interaction made. Instead, you will only engage with the app whenever you are free to check it.
You can also remove distracting apps from your home screen, set a longer password and turn on your airplane mode during your free time or before you go to sleep. These are some strategies to limit your screen time, which will help you avoid aimlessly scrolling on unnecessary apps or websites for a long duration.
Implement ergonomics solutions
If your job requires you to spend a lot of time looking at the screen, this may be a viable option for you to minimise eye strains and headaches. The way you arrange your workstation matters—from the type of chair you use to how you position your monitor, they all play a part in your overall well-being.
For a start, position your monitor directly in front of you following your eye level, not too close to your face, and slightly tilt it upward or downward to avoid glare. Adjust your workstation to minimise frequently performed movements and make sure that your eyes are well-rested.
Digital devices have plenty of essential and positive functions too. When used with good intentions, it can bring many benefits to different compartments of your life. But when used mindlessly or excessively, it can be detrimental to your overall health.
Give your eyes some rest! And when you are feeling refreshed, continue streamlining and strategising your digital marketing! Or if you want, we can do it for you. Schedule a 15 mins call with our lead Marketing Consultant today to see what LOOP can do to help! Have a specific topic you’d like us to cover? Let us know!
This article was contributed by Esther.