Like everything else in life, our work environment is always evolving. That’s been especially true during the past year, when it became clear that working remotely was not only a viable alternative, but one that will be an important component of an efficient workplace for years to come. This new business normal certainly put technology in the limelight. Adapting to change propelled our understanding of how to use technologies to assist off-site working. We discovered how technology created new efficiencies, reframing how we can work, connect, and live more productively—and at a less frenetic pace.
There are downsides, however. Meetings can now start at 7:00 a.m., and many of us are working earlier and later. Although some office distractions are gone, new disruptions have arisen. As a consequence, it’s more important than ever to focus on wellness and how to use technology to improve our quality of life. Below are practical strategies that can help you work more efficiently and banish tech burnout.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Although working remotely provides greater flexibility, many of us are struggling to disconnect from our jobs—and the technology we’re relying on to get through the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re feeling stressed because of this, you’re not alone. To reduce your anxiety and help prevent burnout, consider putting these boundaries in place:
Put your phone, laptop, and other devices away for intervals of one hour at a time. If that works, try extending your downtime.
Block your calendar for a lunch break with no meetings or calls.
Silence or reduce alerts on your devices.
Create limits for reading email, chatting online, and consuming news.
Take breaks from videoconferencing by making a simple phone call instead.
Exchange screen time for reading time.
Use your personal tech time to deepen connections by reaching out to others instead of browsing.
To limit fatigue, use these strategies to set body boundaries:
Alternate between sitting and standing.
Position your monitor at eye level.
Drop your elbows.
Place your keyboard and mouse at or below elbow height.
Avoid sitting in a hunched or slouched position.
Sit with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.
Keep your hands—not your wrists—resting on the keyboard.
Avoid excessive bending or extension of your wrists and elbows.
Limit glare in your work area.
Amping Up Your Home Network
To keep our days going smoothly and avoid tech burnout, we need to use our home network resources to their best advantage. If your system seems slow when working from home, the issues might be related to your network router or operating system. By following the tips below, you can boost the overall speed and efficiency of your home network.
Increase your router’s bandwidth. Other devices using your network router consume its power. In particular, your cell phone is an incredible drain on your wireless router because of all those app refreshes and email fetching. It may be helpful to try the following:
Kick other devices off your network, including tablets, laptops, phones, watches, streaming devices, home security cameras, and baby monitors.
Turn off app notifications on your phone. When you’re presenting, switch to airplane mode or cellular signal only.
Purchase a Wi-Fi extender or booster to amplify your router’s signal; this will be a big help with troublesome dead spots. The TP-Link RE220 is a good value and outperforms some pricier models. It’s compatible with most routers.
Get your network router off the ground—position it as high as possible, as signals tend to drop rather than rise. Locate the router in an open, central location to reduce signal interference.
Your neighbors’ usage can cause interference, so experiment with switching channels on your router. Simply open a web browser, enter your router’s IP address (e.g., https://123.456.789), log in using the default password provided by your internet service provider (ISP), and follow the on-screen instructions.
Optimize your operating system. Installing updates and patches to your operating system is an essential security step that can also boost performance. The links below will guide you through instructions for making system updates:
For extra efficiency, you might also consider the following:
Reboot your computer.
Limit the number of open apps and windows.
Clear your browser cache.
If system performance issues persist, contact your ISP for assistance. Ask about increasing your home bandwidth speed, or if you have an older wireless router or modem, arrange to get a new model.
The Benefits of Change
The shifting work paradigm of the new business normal has helped us build stronger teams and stronger relationships with coworkers. Even though the barrier separating work and life has become more blurred than ever, we’ve been figuring out how to work through our challenges and avoid tech burnout. We’ve learned how to adapt and stay strong, and that will serve us well for the technological changes to come.
This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice.