By Bruce Leistikow – Y Soft: The bedrock of a hybrid workforce is digital technology. Keeping staff connected and productive regardless of location has been a lifeline to so many. However, constant screen time and the rise of Zoom doom is quickly making paper, and the printed page, unlikely heroes.
THE DIGITAL DEMAND FOR TECHNOLOGY
Thanks to COVID-19, we saw an explosion of employees working at home. To support this sudden growth, everyone jumped on board the digital collaboration-tool bandwagon. With Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Trello, Slack, Basecamp, TeamViewer, CoSchedule, and others, there is no shortage of cloud-based technology. Microsoft Teams usage increased 894% between March to June 2020, and Zoom boomed to over 300 million daily meeting users.
With the help of webcams and other Bluetooth-enabled devices, this virtual space was transformed by communication tools to provide a secure and productive office from home. They helped to build community and connect people, both for work and social.
All of this technology has indeed supported the workforce, but it comes with some downsides. Collectively, screen time for the world has dramatically increased over the past year. One of the few constants in our lives, from the moment we wake up until we go to bed, is to look at screens. Those that work from home do not have the natural screen breaks that are part of working in an office – such as ad hoc chats, in-person meetings, lunch with colleagues, or commuting. With more remote work comes more screen time.
Spending long periods staring at screens can lead to various mental and physical issues. Some of the health implications of too much screen time are eye problems and headaches, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, and other mental health difficulties. Computer vision syndrome (CVS), also known as digital eye strain (DES), is caused by excess screen time and symptoms include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain. Reports of CVS have grown exponentially since the start of 2020 according to the Optometrists Network. Screen fatigue has become a real problem.