The Corporate World Awakens
Nine months ago, I sat in my home office staring at an email that just popped up in my inbox. I didn’t know what to make of it. It was the first of many enquiries that have now come through from big multi-national companies interested in having me talk to their staff.
But what on earth would they want me to talk about?
I don’t understand corporate Australia all that well; you see unlike most of my friends, I’ve never actually worked for “the big end of town”. So, every year when my mates were off celebrating at lavishly themed end of year Christmas parties, I was usually kicking in my $20 for the self-funded lunch at whatever hospital department I worked in at the time. These days, I’m more likely to just be sharing a pizza with my colleagues.
This email was intriguing. I called the delightful HR manager who started to explain to me they had completed a staff survey that had identified a trend of employees suffering stress at home from battling their children’s technology use. She explained some of these staff were coming in to work tired after the previous night’s chaos, and others were even having to take personal leave to manage the fall-out.
It made perfect sense when she explained the request. It’s the “other half” of what I see in my clinic. I had never considered the impact this was having on business and staff. Which in hindsight was incredibly ignorant of me, because parents have told me time and time again “I’ve missed so much work; they are understanding, but I’m worried they will lose patience with me”.
Last week a good friend, Joff Outlaw, sent me a report titled Fjord Trends 2019 released by a world-leading design firm, Fjord. When I looked a bit deeper (again, for the corporately naïve Psychologist I am) Fjord are the “design and innovation” arm of Accenture. Each year, they spend a huge amount of time and resources they survey over a thousand designers spanning four continents, to identify “trends we expect to affect business, technology and design in the year ahead”.
Their number one Trend for 2019? Silence is gold.
They recognised the connection between the amount of digital content we consume, and the impact that is having on our mental health and wellbeing. Astonishingly brave for a digital design firm to take a moral stand and use it to inform the way they work.
We need to continue to ask ourselves, if this is impacting on our wellbeing surely, we can all agree children and teenagers are more susceptible to screen and gaming addiction? The Unplugged way doesn’t have to be taken literally. I’m not talking about going off the grid here. But how do we as parents model a healthy balance for our kids? Perhaps Silence is Gold for the whole family.