insight magazine

Mindful Technology: A New Approach in a New Normal

In an increasingly digital world, approaching technology with mindfulness is key to both mental health and business success. By Hilary Collins | Fall 2020

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You wake up in the morning to your phone alarm, sign into your work laptop, Zoom with coworkers, FaceTime with friends, grocery shop online, stream movies online, and look up recipes online. COVID-19 has only accelerated digitization and the use of technology in every facet of our lives. Instead of going to Blockbuster, browsing a bookstore, filling a physical shopping cart, or sitting in a small meeting room with clients, we’re interacting with technology.

That’s why choosing the technology we use and evaluating how we interact with it is so important. Amy Vetter, CPA.CITP, CGMA, MBA, has combined her expertise in technological innovation and yogic practices to champion a balanced and intentional approach to our online lives that she calls mindful technology.

“During COVID-19, we saw many companies going remote in the blink of an eye, and many had no choice but to make knee-jerk decisions to keep the lights on,” Vetter says. “They implemented technology that would allow them to do the work remotely but didn’t have the time to do so thoughtfully.”

So now what? Vetter says now is the perfect time to step back and reassess what we want from technology.

“The mindful piece of this is that we need to balance the need for human connection and a positive human experience with efficiency, ROI, and all the practical things we’re looking for from technology,” Vetter explains.

The truth is that the tactile experience of working with a technology is a very important part of the overall effectiveness of that technology. Some technologies may do what they were designed to do while also creating more stress and less fulfilment, which in the long run can lead to employee burnout, client frustration, and underutilization of the technological tools a business is paying for.

Organizations who want to embrace mindful technology can start by building a team to evaluate the technology the organization is using. Vetter stresses the importance of listening to all voices and not just the ones that are happy with the current system.

“Technology has really changed over the past 20 years—20 years ago you would find a software package, implement it, and walk away,” Vetter notes. “Today, you should focus on continual improvement and fine-tuning. If you can make it 10 percent better, that’s great.”

While embracing mindful technology as an organization is an ongoing challenge, individual team members can start immediately by setting healthy boundaries.

“In a remote world, it’s important to make room for the things that matter and that rejuvenate us,” Vetter emphasizes. “We should be thinking through our day and putting guardrails around our time and having the confidence to take time for priorities. One complaint I hear is, ‘People put meetings on my calendar even when I have time blocked,’ but the truth is, we each have control to decide whether we accept a meeting.”

As technology becomes an integral part of our lives, approaching our digital lives with mindfulness and care should be important to us as individuals and as organizations.

“When we put technology in place mindfully, we should see time freed up so we can focus more on our clients, team members, and creating better human connections,” Vetter says.

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