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Who Wants to Unplug? Millennials, That’s Who!

how to take a technology break

Millennials are the always-on, always-connected generation. So your typical Millennial employee who’s multitasking away, managing social media on one window of the desktop computer, IM-ing on a second and surfing the Net on a third while texting on a smartphone and listening to headphones – is as happy as could be, right?

Wrong. According to a study (PDF) by Cornerstone, the average Millennial employee is just as stressed out by technology as any Gen X, Baby Boomer or senior. In fact, even more so.

The poll of more than 1,000 employees reports that Millennials are more likely than any other generation to say they have suffered from work overload (58 percent), information overload (41 percent) and technology overload (38 percent).

What gives? Is the generation that grew up texting while crossing busy streets suddenly having an allergic reaction to technology?

Part of Millennials’ stress may be due to their low position on the office totem pole. After all, while technology is second nature to them, the workplace is still a bit new – and integrating technology with the expectations of bosses and colleagues can be challenging.

So how can you get your stressed out Millennial employees to take a tech break?

How to Take a Technology Break

Set Limits

This is the generation that sleeps with smartphones at its side. So if you email a Millennial at midnight, he or she will likely feel compelled to reply right then.

To preserve employees’ personal space (and sanity), set limits on non-emergency work-related communications, such as no work emails or texts after 10 p.m. You may need to vary this depending on what is reasonable for your business and the job duties of the people involved.

Consider a Back-to-Basics Day

Could your business do without internal email, IM or whatever communication is stressing employees out for one day or one afternoon a week?

Many large companies have no-email days to enable employees to get more focused work done. You can still communicate – just do it by picking up the phone or walking down the hall. Millennials aren’t the only ones who will appreciate it.

Get Together in Person

Millennials grew up collaborating on school projects and sports teams. While you might think this Skype generation is fine with virtual work teams and overseas collaborators in different time zones, in reality, 60 percent of Millennials say they prefer collaboration to take place in person.

Team bonding is important for young employees who are still finding their place in the workplace and bonding is better when it happens IRL (in real life). Provide opportunities for Millennial employees to collaborate in person, even if it means bringing remote workers into the office once a week or once a month.

Don’t Pile On

Millennial employees are often “assumed” to be tech-savvy, so they end up bearing the brunt of everyone’s casual requests for informal tech help. This can mean anything from taking charge of the business’s Facebook page to helping configure printer drivers, showing co-workers how to use their smartphones or creating a staff wiki. It can get to be too much.

Make sure your Millennials aren’t running themselves ragged trying to help the less knowledgeable. Instead of doing their jobs for them, have the Millennials show them how to do the tasks.

You know the saying, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.”

Offer Time Off and Honor It

When workers take a day off, treat it as such and don’t contact them about work issues. Make sure someone else at the office is equipped to answer questions.

Your employees will come back rested and recharged – ready to multitask again, just not quite as much. 

Millennials [1] Photo via Shutterstock