21. February 2024

Why is everyone talking about… mobile minimalism?

Personio Pulse: This Week in HR - 3

Welcome to Personio Pulse: This Week in HR, where each week we take a look at the latest trends in the world of work, what you need to know about them and what they mean for you as an HR professional. 

This week we’re covering mobile minimalism and what it means for your HR team.

What you need to know

Ever been shocked by a ‘screen time’ report on your smartphone? According to The BBC people spend about a third of their waking hours on their phones, or 4.8 hours a day on average. With constant phone use sometimes comes the expectation that work calls, messages, emails and calendar invites can be responded to at any hour of the day, night or weekend. This week, HR Magazine offered a possible solution: mobile minimalism.

Mobile minimalism aims to eradicate the stress that devices cause us and instead create ‘intentional’ mobile experiences, increased data privacy and better boundaries between our work and personal life. Examples include pausing notifications outside of certain hours, app deletion and taking ‘digital sabbaths’ (full days without phone use).

But what could the movement do for employees and the future of work-life balance?

What others are saying about it 

Emna Ghariani, Co-Founder of fundraising platform The Bridge, explains: “Constant notifications, social media updates and email alerts can be major distractions that disrupt focus and hinder productivity. Digital minimalism encourages individuals to take control of their digital environment by turning off unnecessary notifications, limiting social media usage and setting designated times for checking emails.”

She advises: “Encouraging teams to streamline their communication channels, prioritising face-to-face interactions when possible and using technology mindfully is the way to go. By simplifying communication processes, teams can enhance clarity, strengthen relationships and foster a more collaborative work environment.”

What that means for you

HR professionals are in a key position to shape expectations around whether employees should be contactable outside of working hours. Here are a few practical steps your organisation can take to enable employees to have clearer work-life balance around their work-related technology use:

  • Set clearer guidelines around technology use: Where possible, create policies around communication and work hours. For example, are employees expected to have work messenger apps installed on their phone or should they use it on laptop only? Encourage message scheduling and respecting time zones.

  • Train managers to measure results, not minutes: Encourage leadership to instil a culture of focusing on the actual impact employees can make in their role, not just the working hours they keep. Think about implementing time tracking to keep an eye on overtime and minimise employee burnout.

  • Run surveys for an accurate picture of tech use: Your first step may be to collect vital data on your employees’ actual day-to-day experiences and the expectations they do or don’t have to be ‘always on’. You can use surveys both to assess the extent of the problem and to get possible ideas for solutions.

What else should I read? 

That's all for this week's edition of Personio Pulse: This Week in HR. Check back next week as we continue to dissect the latest trends impacting the ways we work. 

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Hannah Popham

Hannah Popham

Hannah is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Personio. She loves writing about the ever-changing ways that we work and how they intersect with our lives outside work.

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