In today’s digital age, it’s becoming increasingly common for employees to spend long hours staring at their computer or phone screens. While technology has certainly made our lives easier in many ways, prolonged periods of screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, and potential mental health problems.
As a manager, it’s important to encourage your employees to take regular breaks to rest their eyes and minds. Here are some ways you can do that:
1. Lead by example
As a manager, you set the tone for your team. If you’re constantly on your computer or phone, your employees are likely to follow suit. Make a conscious effort to take breaks throughout the day and encourage your team to do the same. You might even consider setting aside time each day for everyone to take a break together. Everyone works best in different ways, but setting this time aside in everyone’s calendar could encourage your whole team to step away from the screen, even during busy times.
2. Create a screen time policy
Consider creating a policy that limits the amount of time employees are expected to spend on their screens each day. For example, you might institute a “no email after 6pm” rule or require that employees take a 10-minute break for every hour of screen time. Be flexible and willing to adapt the policy based on feedback from your team.
It’s equally important to set boundaries for yourself and avoid extending your screen time beyond your working hours. Having a manager who helps employees to feel comfortable detaching themselves from their work screen at the end of the day can have an extremely positive effect on the entire team.
3. Encourage physical activity
Getting up and moving around is important for both physical and mental health. Encourage your employees to take short walks or stretches throughout the day. You might even consider starting a walking club or fitness challenge to make physical activity more fun and engaging. Especially if the majority of your time at work is spent sitting at a desk, it’s crucial you factor regular breaks into your schedule to help keep your mind and body working properly, and exercising is a great way to spend your breaks.
4. Provide alternative spaces
Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to break up a monotonous workday and cut down screen time. Provide alternative workspaces like meeting rooms or outdoor areas for employees to use when they need a break from their screens. This can also promote creativity and collaboration among team members by sparking impromptu conversations without any digital distractions.
If your team works from home, you can encourage them to get out and try working in a library or a cafe. Some team members may feel that they can’t do this if they have calls, so consider allowing ‘call-free afternoons’ or even days to give your team more freedom.
5. Offer screen-free activities
Organise activities that don’t require any screen time, like board game afternoons or team-building days. This can help your team bond and refocus their energy away from their screens. While this can be more difficult to implement when managing a remote team, there are plenty of virtual activities you can do which can have a screen-free element, such as painting classes or cocktail making.
In conclusion, as a manager, it’s important to prioritise the health and well-being of your team members, whether they’re working onsite or remotely. Taking regular breaks from screens can improve physical health whilst also boosting productivity and creativity. By leading by example, creating policies, encouraging physical activity, providing alternative spaces and offering screen-free activities, managers can help employees to stay healthy and engaged at work.