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How Technology Can Help You Avoid Burnout, According to Google

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Tweaking your calendars and emails can help you work more sustainably. But there are other ways, how technology can help you avoid burnout and work more efficiently. As we continue to work from home, smarter use of workplace tools can actually help us avoid screen fatigue, writes Google’s Diane Chaleff.

From using your calendar to set boundaries, to longer meetings that build in catch-up time, […]

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NOTES: How Technology Can Help You Avoid Burnout, According to Google

Use your calendar to set boundaries. You, and only you, are responsible for scheduling personal time, whether it be a midday walk or a much needed week off. 

Meetings don’t have to be purely work focused. When we start a meeting by diving straight into the work, it can suck the energy out of the (virtual) room and we lose our creative spark. Allow time to catch up with one another and discuss topics other than work. 

Embrace asynchronous working. Although the past year has thrown us many curveballs, working from home also has urged businesses to accept more asynchronous working styles. Research suggests the average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes within an 8-thour work day. Allowing workers flexibility outside of a strict 9-5 hours can have a positive impact on both work-life balance and productivity.

Easy hacks for asynchronous communication. You can set your status on most messaging platforms as Do Not Disturb. This will mute notifications. It will also let others know you’re not online after 5pm, or whatever your boundary may be.

Workplace technology is often pegged as a top offender of work-life balance. But it can also be used to safeguard that much-needed morning walk or meal time with your family.


Remote Workers Need Small Talk, Too

The outcome of a 15-day study of the impact that small talk had on 151 workers shows that it was both uplifting and distracting to employees. But the positives outweighed the negatives, and the negatives could be managed. 

The move to remote work environment is cutting many people off from workplace small talk. And these are people who before Covid-19 and social distancing, had small talk as a daily workplace ritual.

Small talk is important to us in other ways, putting us at ease and helping us transition to more serious topics like negotiations, job interviews, sales pitches, and performance evaluations. This is the period that Adam Fraser also called ‘The Third Space”(read: A Simple Trick to Manage Working From Home and Worklife).

The daily workplace ritual – small talks! It seems like a nuisance when overly available, but you hardly feel its importance until you lose it. They are the few minutes emotional connection and encounters that brings life into work. Exchanged hellos on our way in, from the parking lot. Chatting about our weekends while waiting for meetings to begin, and swapped stories about our families with our cube mates.

But when it is negative, small talks can make others anxious, awkward, can be a time waster and vehicle for spreading gossips, and everything that is inauthentic.

With remote working, we need to encourage new social rituals like allowing time at the start of every meeting for members to greet one another, exchange pleasantries, and ask playful questions. So do not forget, remote workers need small talk, too.

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