Home' Spa and Clinic : Volume 65 May 2016 Contents Thirty one percent felt "addicted"
to their device -- a figure that rose to 46
percent among 18 to 34-year-olds.
They are a major contributor to the
breakdown of the work/life divide; one study
found working from smartphones and tablets
adds two hours to the average working day.
The digital age is rewiring us. It's already
changed the way we shop, work and play.
But it's also having an insidious effect on
physical and emotional health.
At the Global Wellness Institute's Round
Table in New York last year, one of the key
topics of discussion was How Technology --
Enabling 24/7 Work -- Is Killing Us.
"Technology has spawned new, global
work realities: imprisonment by screens,
and a powerful erosion of the line between
now always-on `work' and `life'," a GWI
paper recapped after the event.
Searching websites, texting, checking
emails and uploading to social media sites
has become, in some ways, an essential
preoccupation to keep abreast with one's
job and competitors, grow a business and
just stay relevant and attractive to clients
and consumers at large.
But the downside is that it can easily
infiltrate every part of a person's life --
whether you are a business owner or team
member -- to a debilitating degree. In
essence, it becomes addictive behaviour,
hard-wired into the psyche, and as difficult
to tackle as perhaps alcoholism, gambling
and compulsive eating.
Har vard Medical School scientists
have found that "using a cell phone or
laptop before bed can disrupt the body's
production of melatonin and negatively
affect sleep quality".
Another study published by the Public
Library of Science found that "the more
time a person spends on Facebook, the
more dissatisfied they ultimately feel with
their own life".
"Assembled experts agreed that we
have not yet begun to grasp the wide-
ranging impact on employees' physical
and mental health -- and productivity," said
the GWI paper.
"Shawn LaVana, head of marketing,
Virgin Pulse, said: `We're checking our
smartphones 150 times a day. How focused
can we really be? All of this time in front of
screens, for work and in our personal lives,
means we're not exercising and eating well.
All of this feeds into a vicious cycle of poor
health choices. These are negative habits
we've built, but we can build positive habits
in the same way'.
"James Brewer, workspace consultant
for Steelcase, added: `The disintegration of
work-life boundaries is also being driven by
globalisation. 24/7 connectivity is making
the divide between work and life a blur,
where people are constantly `on'. The
roundtable heard that `this is killing us'.
"When you have teams distributed
worldwide, you have new realities like
workers having to virtually collaborate with
colleagues and business partners in the
middle of the night."
Brewer also noted that there seems to be
a dichotomy in policy approaches to work-
life balance between small start-ups and
larger, more established organisations.
"The start-ups appear to be more
proactive in implementing policies that help
their employees define when it is okay to
`turn it off' and disconnect (ie. no emails in
the evening or work-free vacations).
"On the other hand, these types of
policy approaches are largely absent in
So what does this mean for the salon, spa
and clinic industries?
There are two key streams: If you are a
business owner encouraging e-interactivity to
drive business, and to keep connected with
staff during and after hours, looking out for
the wellbeing of your team will become a
priority in this respect. Or, if a team member,
so will taking responsibility for monitoring
and drawing lines around your own e-activity,
to ensure it stays within healthy bounds.
Easier said than done, of course. Which is
where a new era of "digital detox" philosophies
and ser vices is fast gaining ground.
In-treatment ser vices at salons, spa or
clinics aimed to create safe havens for clients/
consumers (more emphasis on the "hands-
on" approach than "express" ser vices for the
time-poor). Or dedicated off- site programs.
One such program is the Digital Detox
Retreat hosted by spa industry veteran, life
coach and Aurora Spa founder Lyndall
Mitchell at Bali's Alila Villas Soori resort,
Ju ne 17-19.
"If you have become a slave to your
digital devices, this [program] brings you
the perfect opportunity to find a healthy
balance between staying connected and
switching off," she says.
"The weekend retreat will focus on
imparting practical skills and strategies
to reduce stress and distractor inf luences,
showing you how to enjoy a more positive and
healthy integration of technology in your life.
"It will include a series of master classes
designed to help reduce tech overload and
improve quality of life."
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