An Ofcom study of over 2,500 Brits reveals that a break from all things tech could be beneficial for business. Is it viable for business owners in our ‘always-on’ culture?
A third of internet users have taken a sabbatical from the internet in what is termed a “digital detox,” according to research from regulator Ofcom.
The study of 2,525 UK residents reveals that the average adult spends about 25 hours online per week, with nearly half admitting to getting an online or app-related fix more than 10 times a day. In fact, the more severe ‘tech junkies’, one in ten of those surveyed, log on more than 50 times a day.
59 per cent of the respondents admitted that they are hooked to their tech gadgets, and half of those surveyed said that they spent more time online than they even planned to.
So how long is a typical digital detox?
A quarter of the respondents in Ofcom’s study have taken a break from the internet for about half a day to a full day. Two in ten went cold turkey for up to a week. Their reasons were primarily to spend more time doing other things (44 per cent), and to connect with friends and family (38 per cent).
Tips for a digital disconnect
Many holiday retreats all over the world are now offering “digital detoxes”, where there is no Wi-Fi signal and visitors are encouraged to hand over their electronic devices. For example, St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean offer special digital detox packages, whilst a Californian company named “The Digital Detox” organises retreats and getaways focused on meditation, relaxation and gadget-free time away.
Is a digital detox for you?
The Ofcom study revealed that a third of those who took time off the internet said that they felt more productive without the constant distraction of emails and news.
However, a digital detox may only be only effective if you take enough breaks offline.
According to a survey conducted by the Chartered Management Institute, only half of UK managers booked a summer holiday this year, whilst 35 per cent put their annual holiday plans on hold. 69 per cent of those not taking a holiday cited their workload as a reason why.
Even for those taking some time off, 12 per cent planned to check their email daily, 19 per cent said they would check their mail most days, and 26 per cent planned to check at least once or twice a week.
Ultimately, disconnecting from the instant nature of work can help prevent burnout, whether this is a break from the internet or the office. Even daily dedicated breaks can help oil the productivity machine. This handy infographic from Instant Offices can help temper your workload and keep you productive all-year-round.