5 Ways to Bring National Day of Unplugging to Your Office
It may seem a little out of the ordinary to not spend your day looking at a screen but that’s exactly what National Day of Unplugging suggests we should all do. Now in its 11th year, the day which takes place annually on the first Friday in March, is seen as an opportunity to step back from your devices and consider how much time we spend glued to glowing screens.
It’s recommended to unplug from sundown to sundown on March 6th – 7th but think about how often you check your phone and email daily. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a workday that wasn’t centred around those distracting little devices? It may seem unusual to have a screen free day at work but when you consider the move towards a more mindful workplace it makes total sense to switch off your devices for a day and connect with your co-workers.
You might ask where does that leave you for the day? How will you feel productive if you aren’t typing away? Will it still constitute a day at work? One key thing is that it’s important that everyone has agreed to take part in advance. It might mean you have to rearrange a meeting or two, or make sure you’ve completed a piece of work in advance, but we think it will be worth it.
We’ve put together our top five suggestions for making the most of your screen-free time. Why not set yourself the challenge to try one this year?
1: Organise a team building day away from the office with no access to screens
One way to make sure you aren’t tempted to dip into your emails is to take yourself and your colleagues out of the office environment. You can also make a phone-free rule and consider putting someone in charge of all the phones for the duration of your day away from the desks.
Lots of workplaces make time for team building exercises and days out, so it makes sense to tie these together. There are so many options out there that with a bit of research, it should be straight-forward to find something that will work for you and your workmates, from outdoor adventures to creative pursuits, to a table quiz or food trail.
TeamBuild.ie have some excellent options; for the purposes of a screen-free day we’d skip the activities that require a phone, so treasure hunts and spy games might be out, but they have lots of other activities to try.
2: Do some practical offsite training
How many times have you thought it would be great to update your skills but can’t find the time to fit in any training? Take your day of unplugging as an opportunity to upskill but make sure it’s screen free.
Try something hands on like getting a first aid certificate, gain your fire safety certificate, complete a manual handling course, or something that’s appropriate to your job. Make sure it’s hands on and not screen-based and you might be surprised at what you can accomplish in a day.
3: Have a creative day
We firmly believe that everyone has a creative spark inside, but sometimes it doesn’t get the chance to rise to the top with all our daily work and distractions.
Part of your day of unplugging could be to give everyone the opportunity to tap into their creative potential. Why not set aside an hour or two where everyone reads up on a journal to do with their role or a business book that they’ve been meaning to read? Make sure to read from actual paper here, no e-readers/ kindles/ blogs allowed! If reading isn’t everyone’s thing you could try something artistic like mindful painting. The point is the process here so don’t worry about the end result, even if you aren’t the next Monet it’ll still be a fun screen-free activity.
4: Step up your CSR activities
If you really want to maximise the potential in your day of unplugging, you could set the day aside for something that benefits your local community. Check out your options and you might find that you and your team can spend the day helping clean the canal, or a local amenity closer to you around the country.
Why not try giving back to your local schools, or organising a day of mentoring for local college students? If you’d like to create a bespoke experience for your team why not contact the Irish Youth Foundation? They have lots of excellent initiatives for you to join in with and are always happy to chat through their options with people.
If you have green fingered colleagues, a tree planting day is an excellent way to get out and away from screens. Take a look at The Tree Council of Ireland for some ideas about their tree initiative.
There really are tonnes of options so do a little research and see what you can do in just a day.
5: Challenge your team and have a prize for the most engaged unplugger!
If your team are of the more competitive variety, why not add an element of competition to the day? Break down the day into a list of trials to aim for – one hour offline, 4 hours offline, 8 hours offline, the longer you can stay offline the greater the reward. The reward could be an extra hour off the next day, a complimentary lunch, or even just bragging rights. If you think you’ll struggle, try turning your phone to airplane mode or using apps like Forest to encourage and reward you for taking time away from your phone.
The harder you think this challenge is, the more likely it is that you could do with a tech break so why not give it a try? We’ve shared posts before about how important it is to look after your digital wellness as much as your physical and mental wellness so this is an excellent opportunity to turn some of that advice into action.