What can employers do to help ensure the success of digital mindfulness training? It’s no secret that employees can get easily distracted by technology, but a new survey by ComPsych® Corporation, a provider of employee assistance programs, illustrates how pervasive the problem is. In fact, 88% of employees acknowledge that they browse social media outlets at work, and 60% indicate that they check social media one to five times per day at work, 10% do so six to 10 times daily, and 18% say they check even more frequently.
Some organizations are turning to “digital mindfulness training” as a way to help get their employees to be more “present” at work, says Ken Zuckerberg, vice president of Training for ComPsych.
Digital mindfulness training teaches employees how to leverage technology to be more productive. “You decide how to use the tools instead of the tools deciding how to use you,” he says.
In ComPsych’s digital mindfulness training, participants “list the five most important things in their life,” consider whether they are satisfied with how they are pursuing each of those things, ponder what obstacles are keeping them from doing so, and find ways to remove those obstacles.
For example, building strong customer relationships might make an employee’s top five list. Technology can help pursue strong customer relationships by keeping an employee in touch with customers on business trips, but technology also could be a hindrance if the employee conducts an online search on her cell phone while talking to a customer on an office phone, Zuckerberg explains.
The key to such training, Zuckerberg says, is to
(1) identify when technology is hindering the pursuit of things that are important in an individual’s life;
(2) help the employee find ways to remove the obstacle—for example, by making sure the cell phone is turned off or is in a briefcase when conversing with customers; and
(3) reinforce the training message continuously—in team meetings, performance management conversations, etc. “We find that it is very important for the training not to end when the class is over.”