Research has found many homeworkers are struggling to concentrate on their work because they have too much screen time. So, what can we do to help frazzled homeworkers?

Too much screen time?

Back-to-back video calls; no time to concentrate on actual work; endless document collaboration and emails. Research has found that our level of screen time is at breaking point, and it’s starting to stress us out.

For some homeworkers who constantly look at and work on screen, this means that, despite the time benefits of working from home, they are becoming more affected by a lack of wellbeing, and becoming more distracted away from their work.

Inability to concentrate

Research has uncovered that it takes 23 minutes to return to our work after being distracted. And after only 47 seconds, we look for another screen distraction, such as our phone.

These are alarming statistics. But there are things that can be done to mitigate the endless engagement with the screen.

How to break up the screen time

Taking physical breaks away from our screens helps our overall ability to focus. Particularly for those doing ‘deep work’, requiring intense concentration, it’s important that the distractions don’t become so much that the work doesn’t get done.

Nick Hedderman, modern work lead at Microsoft UK, suggests:

  • Making meetings shorter - 20 to 40 minutes max 
  • Making meetings, voice-only and walking 

Setting boundaries

It’s important that employers set positive boundaries for employees so that short, and voice-only, walking meetings become the new normal. And that time is set aside for the work employees need to concentrate on, as well as time for tech screen-free breaks.

Tech is helping to switch off the tech

Tech giants are also looking at ways to reduce the amount of tech and screen time people are having.

With just the mere presence of our phone distracting us, even though we might resist picking it up, Google is adding a feature to tell us to look away from our phones. And the Light Phone is a phone designed to be used as little as possible, with zero blue light emission and no smartphone capabilities.

New Microsoft Outlook settings also enable a scheduler to make meetings start five minutes after the hour, to avoid the lack of breaks in a heavy schedule, and the fatigued feeling this can create.

Your workforce

Standing desks, regular breaks, exercise and wellbeing apps are all becoming increasingly the norm, and options more of us are looking into to help us cope with the culture of homeworking that’s now here to stay and potentially quite bad for our mind and bodies.

Efficient ways of working can help so that workers have more satisfaction and less stress carrying out repetitive tasks. If connectivity isn’t as it should be, this can also cause stress, and is easily fixable. Employers should ensure that the most effective tech and support is in place so that employees can happily work in a productive way.

It just shows, that with all the new ways of working we’ve recently adopted, developments don’t show any sign of stopping soon, and more than ever we need to be mindful of our health, and better ways of working, as we go further into the future.