The Big Picture
When traversing the digital landscape, it can be hard to stay on track. We spend more time interacting with screens than real people, but at what cost? Do we really want our smartphones to gatecrash the best moments of our lives? In an increasingly connected world, there are unintended consequences to every new opportunity… We think that we can do better!
Flexibility & Detachment
Today, your ‘office’ is simply wherever you log in. This working flexibility has also led to an inability to detach from work. Mobile technology in particular has enabled the workplace to infiltrate our homes, and graft itself onto our very bodies. In turn, workplace stress, like unruly toilet paper stuck to one’s shoe, hitches a ride with you into your private life. Nevertheless, mental disengagement from work during free time is essential. It increases well-being, improves affective states, buffers stressful job-related situations, and improves job performance (Sonnentag, 2012). But it’s not simply about balancing work and free time, it’s also about balancing on- and offline.
Information Junk Food
Over the last 50 years the western world has made food cheap, abundant, and available anywhere, anytime. A consequence of this development has been junk food. Only relatively recently have we become aware of junk food’s detrimental effect on health, and only now have healthy eating initiatives become more widespread. Something similar is happening with technology. We have moved from a time of information scarcity, to bask in an age of information affluence. It’s not that this information didn’t exist before; it’s that our modes of access have proliferated. We’ve created a culture of junk information, and this onslaught of content-tailored-to-you is constantly available at your fingertips. Now, we need a change in attitude.
We need to become aware of when we want to engage with technology and social media, and identify the times that we don’t. We should begin thinking about how we might construct and maintain these boundaries. We also need to consider how technology might improve our well-being without taking anything away. Solving these issues will help us work towards a new form of technology that supports us without exploiting us. Ultimately, we hope to have technologies and usage habits that help us stay focused, mindful, and happy.
( OFFTIME )’s Solution
Our solutions enable people to customize their connectivity and create bespoke bubbles of space and time, where they can be at ease and in control. ‘Unplugging’ isn’t isolation, it’s an opportunity to reconnect. We want to bring people closer to the things that really matter to them, whatever those may be. Unplug and focus on your work, be with the people you care about, or simply enjoy some peace of mind. ( OFFTIME ) isn’t just downtime. It’s is a gift to yourself and the people you care about. It might just be the most valuable gift there is: your time and attention.
While we’re extremely proud of our app, we also engage with these issues on a wider scale. We incorporate the latest psychological studies in our quest to find ways of increasing well-being and productivity. We’re currently collaborating with Humboldt University’s department of Psychology in research concerning mobile technology use. This gives us an informed scientific foundation for our own work, and enables us to be active in promoting forward-thinking research in these topics. We also host interactive events that address the pitfalls of hyperconnectivity, and are always looking for ways to involve our increasingly responsive audiences in the discussion.