Five habits for preventing digital overload

The constant connection to the online world often leads to digital overload, which can have a negative effect on the mental and physical health of employees and business owners. What can we do to prevent digital overload? David McCormack, CEO of employee perks and benefits provider HIVE360 investigates.

Digital overload has been found to have played a part in increasing worldwide levels of anxiety and depression worldwide, according to the findings of the Gympass State of Work-Life Wellness Report 2022.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by endless emails, threads, statuses, and virtual meetings; finding where real life ends, and the digital world begins, can be challenging. The critical question in this digital climate is: how can we work on preventing digital overload?

Set boundaries

One of the most important habits for preventing digital overload is to set boundaries, and this can be done in just a few seconds. People truly dedicated to preventing digital overload set time limits for each device and don’t go over these, especially when use is non-essential. And it’s pretty simple to do this – turn off the device/s at a specific time or during meals, and set a time to stop checking emails and work-related communication. Be flexible when it’s absolutely essential, but by setting boundaries, it is possible to disconnect and set yourself up for preventing digital overload.

Take breaks

Another important habit is taking breaks from technology throughout the day. Taking breaks gives the mind and body a chance to rest and recharge, thus preventing digital overload. You don’t need to be constantly scrolling during free time. Employers should encourage workers to step away from computers or phones for a few minutes every hour or so. And when taking a break, find something else to do, such as taking a walk outside, reading a book, or catching up on a quick household task if working from home.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the powerful practice of being present in the moment and fully engaged in what you’re doing. When we constantly surround ourselves with technology, we step away from the present and lose ourselves in a digital world.

When it comes to technology, mindfulness means paying attention to how much time is spent on devices for work and play, and how this affects mood and energy levels. Practising mindfulness enables the recognition of feelings of being overwhelmed, and a trigger to act with steps towards preventing digital overload.

Create tech-free zones

Another helpful habit is creating tech-free zones at home and the workplace. This might mean designating certain areas as device-free zones, such as the dinner table or bedroom. These zones enable a physical disconnect from technology and a chance to focus on other activities, such as spending time with family or getting a good night’s sleep.

Prioritise self-care

Finally, it’s important to prioritise self-care when preventing digital overload. This means taking care of physical and emotional health by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Prioritising self-care maximises the benefits of being equipped to handle the stresses of daily life and avoid the harmful effects of digital overload.

HIVE360 provides its Engage Employee Benefits app as standard to businesses that outsource payroll and employment administration to the company. The app includes My Training, My Health, My Money, My Discounts, and My Work features. The app, which has an average of 100,000-plus user sessions each month and user engagement averaging well over 80 percent, can support employees on their quest to preventing digital overload by providing access to a plethora of wellbeing perks.

 HIVE360 ensures full HMRC, RTI, GLAA and IR35 compliance. It provides expert, compliant and reliable PAYE payroll support and comprehensive employment administration. It works with owner-managed, privately owned and SME businesses, permanent and temporary recruiters. For more information: