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The challenge of the hybrid workforce: Zoom doom, the digital detox, and the rise of print

Former Product Marketing Lead
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.

Zoom doom

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.

YSoft OMNI Series for the hybrid workforce
With people spending hours each day staring at each other on screens, Zoom doom is the new norm. Back-to-back video meetings can leave people feeling drained and tired. Spending a lot of time on video with virtual interactions can be extremely hard on the brain, as well as off-putting seeing yourself all the time. With people starting to return to the office in a hybrid fashion, screen time needs to be addressed.

Digital detox – welcome back to paper

While digital tools have helped us more than we would have ever imagined, there needs to be a balance, a digital detox if you will, to reduce screen time. For many people, a digital detox means re-embracing paper. There are many benefits of the printed page. It causes less eye strain than using a screen; it is easier to retain and absorb printed materials; and it is easy and quick to annotate and review. It can even help you to become more productive as there are fewer distractions; you are simply focusing on the paper in front of you. It may surprise you, but paper is a powerful digital downtime tool that can support creative thinking and productivity. Here are three ways paper can play a part in reducing your screen time:
Print (and recycle): Encourage employees to take a break from their screens by printing out materials that need to be studied. Provide the hybrid workforce cloud-based tools such as YSoft OMNI Series for cost efficient printing, wherever they are. Encourage staff to find a comfortable chair at home or in the office where they can read, annotate, and give their body a rest. Documents can be recycled or shredded if sensitive in nature.
Write it down: Consider taking notes by hand in meetings rather than typing them. Using workflows, these notes can easily be scanned and converted to PDF and shared or stored in repositories as needed.
Apps: There are several new apps out that compile essential parts of your phone and organize them to be printed out. Contact information, maps, meeting notes, and more are pulled together to create a personal booklet of information. Two examples of such an app are Paper Phone (Android) and Envelope (Android). Printing out the core parts of your phone offers a break from screen time.
It’s true that we’re glued to our screens more than ever before, and we could all benefit from a digital detox. While we can’t ditch our desktop screens and mobile devices, embracing print can help you reduce screen time and improve your well-being.

Other blog articles in this series looking at the hybrid workforce:
Bruce Leistikow
Bruce Leistikow is a previous senior member of Y Soft's product marketing team.
View all posts by Bruce Leistikow

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