The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisations and businesses to innovate and adapt to the new norm and, in doing so, digital transformation in the workplace is growing at unprecedented speeds. 1 However, this exponential growth comes at a price as employees are now beginning to develop dependence on technology. The increase in average numbers hours of digital device use has increased digital fatigue among employees as well. 2 Due to the alarming rate that workplaces are advancing digitally, organisations need to be proactive in addressing and mitigating the effects of 2 types of digital fatigue.
1. Addressing “Zoom Fatigue”
While the zoom and other video conferencing tools have helped most organisations improve communication and collaboration during remote work, “Zoom fatigue” is now becoming a major problem globally. “Zoom fatigue” is characterized as symptoms of tiredness, anxiety, or worry resulting from overusing virtual video conferencing platforms.3 Although the causes may be smaller issues like mechanical malfunctions and network struggles, an accumulation of these stressors can impact an employees wellbeing.3
To address these symptoms, teams and managers need to moderate digital screen time. A good way to do this is to promote physical breaks during zoom intervals. A simple 2 minute stretch or walk to the kitchen has been known to improve and increase employee well being.4
2. Limiting “Doom Scrolling”
The pandemic has not only forced all work to be moved online, but most socialisation as well. This has increased digital screen time usage among employees and given rise to “doom scrolling” - the act of falling into an endless rabbit hole of negative digital content.2. Prolonged “doom scrolling” can negatively impact an employees wellbeing as excess activity has been known to increase cognitive overload and emotional exhaustion.5
However, because the pandemic’s impact is so far reaching, attempts to filter content related to the pandemic can often be difficult. Therefore, instead of filtering content, managers need to address and attempt to redirect employee focus. This can be done by promoting discussions and topics that shift focus away from the negativity and move to something more neutral or positive such as new television shows or plans for the weekend.
Digital transformation in the workplace is instrumental in navigating a post-pandemic world however, smoothing an employee transition mentally and physically is equally important as well. Organisational support during this rapid movement is crucial to maintain workplace wellbeing and self care.