As Justin Trudeau said in Davos in 2018 “The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again.”
And this has never been truer than today. The way we live, work, communicate, socially interact and educate our children has drastically changed in just a couple of short weeks. And one of the impacts of these changes is that we are more reliant on digital technology than ever.
Devices and applications now enable us to work from home with remote teams, to speak to our parents and friends when we can’t meet them in person, and to get a non-stop stream of news and updates on our new social order.
Technology has really come into its own now, and shows us what social media and technology were originally developed to do. We have never been in a better technological landscape to cope with isolation and self-quarantine. And as with any major change or upheaval, our resilience will be tested. And digital resilience is no different.
My own definition of digital resilience is “the process of adapting well in the face of digital sources of stress, and developing skills to continuously manage the impacts of changing digital environments and applications”. Below are some tips and skills that can help.
We have also recorded a free Digital Resilience webinar, which looks at the points from this post in more detail. For more information, please register here. The recording is 40 minutes long, and can be a great resource for yourself, and for you colleagues or your team.
- Understand that constantly monitoring news will not alleviate anxiety, it elevates it.
Each day, we have information at our fingertips that will let us know the global numbers infected with and dying from Covid-19. We can see the crises in hospitals and hear heart-breaking stories of people losing their loved ones without getting the opportunity to say goodbye. Compassion and empathy are so important these days, but not to the detriment of our own anxiety levels and mental health where avoidable. Avoid having the news on TV and radio constantly, and compulsively checking & refreshing news apps on your phone or other devices. Find a few reliable sources of news and stick to checking those at specific intervals.
- Schedule your online meeting time well
I managed a global team for a number of years at a large IT company and I learned a lot, mostly by making all the mistakes first. One of my biggest takeaways is that virtual meetings are different to in-person meetings, especially group meetings. I’m sure we have all been on a call or virtual meeting where we listened for 5 minutes, and then checked out for the next 55 minutes of updates, presentations and other content sharing. I recommend keeping virtual meetings short and succinct. Remember there is no reason a meeting needs to be an hour. Keep it to 40 minutes and allow the team 20 minutes to take a desk break, grab a cuppa or check some emails.
- Lean into the pros of digital interactions, and away from the cons.
I regularly start my Digital Resilience workshops with this question to the group: “List the pros and cons of your digital interactions”. Some examples that people give for cons are
- Enables an always-on culture
- Escalates FoMO
- Provides endless distraction
Some pros are:
- Easy to connect with family/friends
- It can be fun & engaging
- Offers convenience
I ask people to lean into the pros, and focus on these when they are trying to change any poor digital habits. We want to get more on the pro list than on the cons
- Stay in touch with friends & family
After a day of virtual meetings, emails and calls the last thing you might want to do is sit in front of a phone screen and call a friend for a chat. But this social connection is so important right now. Therefore, try to view these calls as different to work engagements. Maybe use a different platform, and try to have 1-2-1 calls whenever possible. Applications like Houseparty let you play games with whoever you’re calling. WhatsApp offers simple video calling options, and there are so many more out there now.
- Manage your triggers
I repeat this point in all my workshops and posts, and this time is no different. Our external triggers for checking social media may not have changed much (notifications, the “blue dot”, email updates etc.) But the environment and our own internal triggers might be different. What is driving us to compulsively check social media and news are feelings like fear, anxiety or even feelings of morbid interest. If we can recognise these internal triggers, then it is possible to manage our habits a bit better and to be more digitally resilient.
For access to our free recorded Digital Resilience webinar, please register via the button below and the link will be sent to your inbox. It is a great resource to share with employees and colleagues.