Workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey was published for National Older Workers Week and...read more
It’s not enough to say people need to take screen breaks. They need to have the time in their working day to do so.
Do you spend your time on back to back Zoom/Teams/Google Meet meetings? Is it getting you down? You’re not alone. A recent survey found people feel they spend too much time in meetings [nearly 60% felt the time spent could be reduced], with 14 per cent of managers saying they spend more than seven hours a week in meetings on average. 72 per cent said that at least one of the meetings they attended in the last two weeks could have been communicated via email instead. Moreover, eight in 10 employees said they feel anxious about attending online work meetings.
It’s not really an online vs in person thing either. Many people felt they spent too long in meetings before hybrid and remote working were such a big thing post Covid. We need to use a range of ways to share information and to think carefully about the purpose of a meeting before we have one in order to cut the length of time spent in them.
Yet there is something about being on screen for long periods. It’s such a relief sometimes to just have a phone call with someone to update them about things. Just having that break from the screen is important. So much of our lives is conducted on screen these days. Even when we relax we are often watching a screen. Time needs to be built into the day for screen breaks, even if it is just to walk round the block and come back. It’s hard to take a break when you have a long list of tasks to get through by the end of the day, however. You just want to get to the end of them as soon as possible.
I was at an event on women in business and tech this week. A session on equity talked about the need to not just have a policy on gender diversity, but to recognise the barriers women might face and change the system that can exclude them [because it was generally not created with them in mind]. The same goes for working on screens. It’s not enough to say take a screen break. We need to give people the time to do so by reducing the intensity of their working day or giving them more time to rest between intense periods of work. If I were to list what I get done in a day now and what I got done 10 years ago there would be no comparison. More and more is expected of people, but we need to allow them time to rest.