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Hybrid working: wellbeing and inclusion
Hybrid working: wellbeing and inclusion

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3.1.2 Your digital wellbeing

It was mentioned earlier that this course would examine wellbeing from a digital perspective, informed by the ‘Digital Wellbeing’ element of Jisc’s Building Digital Capabilities Framework (Jisc, 2018). Let’s look at this now.

Digital wellbeing is a term used to describe the impact of technologies and digital services on people’s mental, physical, social and emotional health.

(Jisc, 2019a)

Hybrid working, communication and digital collaboration can sometimes be challenging or demanding, and can affect your wellbeing.

It can be more difficult to develop organisational culture and build trust in hybrid working environments. Culture and trust are built through human connections, and, as humans, we have had to adjust to be able to develop these, both in person and in a digital virtual world.

While this situation is still evolving, it is worth asking questions such as: Have we adapted? How is it different now? If you think about how you work with your colleagues and your organisation in a post-COVID-19 context, you may find that your culture and trust has evolved naturally, and adapted to hybrid ways of working. Many of you may find you have actually built a higher level of trust with those you work with, as you have been through a shared experience. In addition, being in your own ‘home’ environment can lead to feeling more secure, as it is familiar, which can improve your sense of wellbeing.

Activity 4 The impact of digital technologies on your wellbeing

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Look carefully at the diagram below.

  1. Consider how technologies can improve your digital wellbeing at work by identifying positive and negative impacts they have had, either from your own experience or those you’ve observed in colleagues.
  2. What capacity do you think you have to change your digital practices to improve your wellbeing?
Described image
Figure 6 Four aspects of digital wellbeing for individuals.

You can make some notes in the box below.

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Discussion

Jisc’s ‘Digital Identity and Wellbeing’ capability includes the capacity to:

  • look after personal health, safety, relationships and work–life balance in digital settings
  • use digital tools in pursuit of personal goals (e.g. health and fitness) and to participate in social and community activities
  • act safely and responsibly in digital environments
  • manage digital workload, overload and distraction
  • act with concern for the human and natural environment when using digital tools.

How does this relate to your response to this activity?

Jisc (2019b) have stated that for individuals in an education context, digital wellbeing ‘links closely to their personal and social digital wellbeing and to developing and managing their professional and personal digital identities and footprints.’

Then watch the video in which Sas Amoah, Digital Media Producer at The Open University, shares how he manages his digital wellbeing.

Download this video clip.Video player: hyb_4_2022_sept103_managing_your_digital_wellbeing_sas_compressed.mp4
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The Jisc model focuses on four contexts – social, personal, learning and work – that can help you consider areas you might want to focus on for your own wellbeing. These are listed in Table 3.

Table 3
Digital wellbeing context Positives Negatives
Social
  • Preventing isolation
  • Building and maintaining relationships
  • Reducing loneliness
  • Full participation and connection with family, friends and wider communities
  • Increased opportunities for inclusion (e.g. disabled people)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Online grooming (e.g. sex, radicalisation)
  • Exclusion and/or accessibility (e.g. gender, age, poverty)
Personal
  • Creating a positive identity
  • Building self-worth
  • Enjoyment (e.g. games, fun, interactions, music)
  • Convenience/time saving (e.g. shopping)
  • Access to new ideas/inspiration
  • Tools for physical health
  • Negative comparison with others
  • Addictive online behaviours (e.g. gambling, porn, checking devices)
  • Passive consumption
  • Access to illegal activities/materials
  • Personal data breaches
  • Lack of access and/or being left behind
  • Lack of sleep
  • Impact on physical health (e.g. eye strain, posture, lack of exercise)
Learning
  • Alternative ways to learn
  • Online collaborative learning opportunities
  • Engaging learning activities
  • Practising digital skills for employment
  • Learning digital skills for new careers/career change
  • Increased access to learning
  • More engaging assessment and feedback
  • Lack of digital skills
  • Digital overload
  • Negative impact of compulsory online collaboration
  • Time learning new technologies not the subject
  • Inappropriate use of technologies
  • Lack of choice (e.g. told which technologies to use)
Work
  • Improved communication
  • Global collaboration
  • Flexible working
  • Tools to manage workload
  • Tools to make things easier
  • Creating positive online professional identity
  • Link to other professional/subject networks
  • Digital overload
  • Always on (24-hour access)
  • Changes to job roles/activities
  • Automation of tasks (e.g. redundancy)
  • Poor ergonomics
(Jisc, 2019c)

Some of the recommendations Jisc suggests to help improve your digital wellbeing are:

  • Ask for training and support on the digital systems and tools relevant to your role, so that you can use them effectively and safely.
  • Take time to explore and understand your digital preferences and needs.
  • Consider the impact of digital activities on your own health and the health of others.
  • Manage your digital workload by learning how to use tools effectively, managing your emails and avoiding distractions.
  • Create a positive digital identity.

Many of these will be explored in Sections 4 and 5 of this course.