28 July 2014

How intense is your digital life? It might sound like a bit of an odd question but apparently, in a recent survey about technology in emerging economies, 71% of us Brits said we agreed with the statement, “I am constantly looking at screens these days”. What does this say, if anything, about the way we work in the UK? Do we need to shake things up and break that belief that an office full of people staring at their screens equals productivity?

start_scribbling_panPersonally, I’ve always believed that great ideas don’t come to you in front of a screen. We need to go back to using scribble pads and big ideas boards. You need blank paper, pens and fresh air for the ideas to start flowing. Think of Newton – when the apple fell on his head, he wasn’t inside! He was outside, sitting in the fresh air, thinking.

Obviously, a lot of work has to be done inside the office so when you can’t get into an outside environment, there have to be alternatives. It makes such a difference if, as a business, you try to create an environment where people can think freely. It’s why we’ve got our walls on an angle in the office; it doesn’t make sense and it makes you think.

One of my biggest pieces of advice to growing businesses is to create a space that is conductive to collaboration and creativity. Taking regular breaks from the screen and investing in comfortable seating is only part of it. Going back to basics – to the pen and paper scribbles – is another facet, and fresh air and a change of scenery completes the picture. It also doesn’t help if you come home from work and get straight in front of the television or sit on your iPad. One of the brilliant things about Britain is that all around us there are great parks. We’re always close to greenery, hills and open spaces. Why not get your trainers on and go for a bike ride? Have a BBQ in the garden? Read a book on a park bench?

How much time do you spend in front of a screen and where do you get your best light bulb moments? Do you think we’re doing enough to give ourselves and our teams the right balance when it comes to technology, or are we simply succumbing to screen strain?

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