Wellbeing and Technology resource roundup

18 April 2024

New technologies can help us complete tasks more quickly and efficiently, as well as offering us increased accessibility and convenience – but there is a downside. Our resource roundup includes articles, books and podcasts about the connection between technology and wellbeing, and strategies for navigating new technologies.



Email as a source and symbol of stress

Stephen Barley, Debra Meyerson & Stine Grodal, Organization Science (Jul–Aug 2011)

Research paper into the impacts of email overload on wellbeing. The study deepens our understanding of the impact of communication technologies on people’s lives and helps untangle those technologies’ seemingly contradictory influences. Still relevant more than a decade later.

A world without email: Find focus and transform the way you work forever

Cal Newport (March 2021)

Bestselling book. Constant communication has become part of the way we work as we check our emails every 5.4 minutes. But at what expense? Author Cal Newport argues that this steady flow of distractions disrupts us from achieving any meaningful work, is highly stressful and is costing big bucks in the form of untapped potential. In this book, he shows how to redesign work without the constant pings of email distracting us, liberating people to do their most profound, fulfilling and creative work – and much more of it too.

Scheduling emails

Scheduling or delaying emails is a great way to get those emails done (before you forget) without impacting your colleagues and employees unnecessarily. There are lots of how-tos and guidance, including:

Delay or schedule sending email messages in Outlook for Windows

Schedule emails to send in gmail

How to use Scheduled Send in Apple mail



“Research proves your brain needs breaks”

Microsoft, Work Trend Index special report, April 2021

In a study of brain wave activity, Microsoft researchers confirmed what many people sense from experience: Back-to-back virtual meetings are stressful. But the research also points to a simple remedy – taking short breaks. This helps people’s brains reset between meetings, helps improve focus and engagement in meetings and work more generally, and helps people feel less exhausted at the end of the day.

Sick of meetings? Try this instead

Lisa Leong, This working life podcast, ABC, October 2023

Is your day full of meetings, leaving you tired and working late just to get everything done? Surely there must be a better way… In this podcast episode, Lisa Leong finds out how we can do meetings better and looks at one technique called The Circle Way. Guest speakers include Christina Baldwin (co-author, The Circle Way) and Michelle Crozier (Circle Way facilitator).



Focus & digital minimalism

Stolen Focus, Why you can’t pay attention – and how to think deeply again – Johann Hari (January 2022)

Highly recommended book. Why have we lost our ability to focus? What are the causes? And, most importantly, how do we get it back? Author Johann Hari went on a three-year journey to uncover the reasons why our teenagers now focus on one task for only 65 seconds, and why office workers on average manage only three minutes. He interviewed the leading experts in the world on attention and learned that everything we think about this subject is wrong. Johann discovered there are 12 deep cases of this crisis, all of which have robbed some of our attention. In Stolen Focus, he explores these cases and shows how – as individuals and as a society – we can get out focus back.

Digital minimalism: Choosing a focused life in a noisy world

Cal Newport (March 2020)

In Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport outlines a practical philosophy and plan for a mindful, intentional use of technology that maximises its benefits while minimising its drain on our attention, focus and time. Demonstrating how to implement a 30-day digital detox, this book promises to identify which uses of technology are actually helping you reach your goals, and which are holding you back.



“Question of the Month – Right to Disconnect”

Bee Singh, Catalina Consultants, ACA (March 2024; paywall)

The ACA’s HR advisor Catalina Consultants provides an explainer for the new Right to Disconnect legislation, which forms part of the Fair Work Amendment Act (Closing Loopholes Part 2). The article outlines what the new rules actually mean for employers and some practical measures to take to ensure compliance.

“These are necessary guardrails” Expert reactions and advice for our new right to disconnect from work

Lisa Leong, This working life podcast, ABC, February 2024

There’s been a lot of talk about the right to disconnect laws. But what do they mean practically? This podcast episode discusses how the laws will help people to switch off from work (and what that will do for the health and wellbeing of all). Guest speakers include Dr Chris Wright (Associate Professor in Work and Organisational Studies,  University of Sydney Business School), Dr Gabrielle Golding (Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide Law School) and Sarah McCann- Bartlett (CEO, Australian HR Institute).



“IT advice for working remotely”

Peter Johns, ACA (March 2020)

In the early stages of the Covid pandemic, Peter Johns (Butter Paper) wrote a useful list of advice for people heading home to work remotely for the first time. He offers comprehensive advice on all things tech, from computers, software, internet and email to ergonomics, useful apps and file storage solutions. Though most are back in the office, this advice is still useful for hybrid workers and those working remotely more often.



Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum Toolkit (Aust)

The Australian AMWF has adapted the Architects Mental Wellbeing Toolkit (UK), with local resources and simple practical advice to individuals and practices on coping with the stresses of an increasingly pressured profession. The Toolkit covers eight key themes:

  • Technology
  • Office Culture and Overtime
  • Support Systems and Staff Education
  • The Physical Office Environment
  • Caring for Students, Graduates and Interns
  • Promoting a Healthy Workplace

ACA EAP service

Would you like to offer your employees access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) but can’t justify the cost? The ACA has launched an EAP service for ACA members, offering a high-quality EAP at a fraction of the cost. The EAP service is available from TELUS Health, a trusted mental health and wellbeing partner to over 15,000 organisations around the world.