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10 Simple Ways to Tame Technology at Work

Technology at the office and beyond is a double-edged sword. Strike the right balance and you’ll make life far more efficient. But when the scales tip too far, technology can prove a distraction, negatively impacting our brains and productivity levels, according to Adelaide University neuroscientist Dr Fiona Kerr.

Dr Kerr joined Harrison McMillan Managing Director Jodi Walton for the talk “Is Human Better? Taming Technology at Work” today to share her latest research, while Jodi talked about our approach to taming technology at work and how it’s boosted our team’s productivity.

To recap on a great morning – or in case you missed it – we’ve pulled together 10 simple strategies you can action today to tame technology at work and improve human connection.

  1. Connect face-to-face

Human connection is something many lament we’re losing in the technology age. Buck the trend and mix it up with more face-to-face meetings, including brief stand-up meetings. Change your approach to emails and opt for conversations when possible, either over the phone or face-to-face.

  1. Master your email

Take control of your emails and disable pinging and pop-up notifications that Dr Kerr says consistently distract us from our core work, taking our neurons a good six seconds to reset each time. Limit internal communications via email, remove subscription emails where possible and set specific times of day when you’ll check emails. If you receive large volumes of correspondence that may require a quick response, set your out of office, advising that you only check your emails three times a day and asking that people call you if the matter is urgent. Finally, remove emails from your phone so you can switch off when you’re not at work.

  1. Curb notifications

Likewise, take control of your phone and disable notifications on all of your apps. Instead, set a specific time/s for checking them each day.

  1. Get moving

Many of us are far too sedentary at work. Change it up with walking meetings and implement a lunch time walk as part of your daily routine to boost productivity. Keep your phone in your bag or pocket when you walk down the street and take in your surroundings instead.

  1. Banish your phone

Ditch your phone where possible at work and in your bedroom. Put your phone away during meetings to avoid getting distracted, opt for hard copy books instead of books on your phone and get an alarm clock so you can keep your bedroom as a tech-free space.

  1. Categorise your work

Consider what tasks throughout the day represent deep work – where you’re required to think critically – and what tasks constitute shallow work – such as responding to emails. Then, schedule your work to best suit you. If you’re a morning person, set more of your deep work in the earlier part of the day, whereas if you tend to peak a little later, you might begin the day with a few quick shallow tasks or a standing meeting to help you focus.

  1. Choose productivity over hours

This needs to be a key shift in thinking, not just for individuals, but for employers too. Focus on outcomes and deliverables rather than hours clocked up at your desk. Remember that multi-tasking is a myth, so give all of your attention to one task before moving on to the next.

  1. Be flexible

More flexible work arrangements are proven to boost both morale and productivity. Let your team create their own working rhythm without strict start and finish times and give your team the option to work from home when needed.

  1. Break with tradition

Take regular breaks to get more efficient when you are at your desk. We suggest 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off. Grab a drink, go to the toilet, stretch or head to a break out room for a change of scenery.

  1. Ditch mindless surfing

Stop the mindless scroll, or get disciplined about the time you set aside for doing this on your device. Consider adding blockers on your phone that prevent surfing and minimise time spent on devices outside work hours.

We hope these strategies from today’s informative Open State talk will help you and your team to boost your productivity at work and beyond the office.

To find out more about Harrison McMillan’s innovative approach to recruitment, visit