New Scientist article features work by Anna Cox & Marta Cecchinato

Work by Anna Cox & Marta Cecchinato on using microboundaries to reduce digital distraction features in a New Scientist article today. You can read the full article here

Their research on how people cope with work-life balance issues and the expectation of being always online shows that people can implement microboundaries to help them cope with the always-on culture around technology (Cecchinato et al., 2015, Cox et al. 2016, Cecchinato et al. 2017). Microboundaries are strategies put in place by users to limit the negative effects of boundary cross-overs (e.g. receiving a work email on a weekend) and feel more in control. When we feel in control, we experience less stress and fewer interruptions between work and non-work. They relate to digital behaviours and can occur on devices, applications, accounts, and notifications and we have clustered them into four categories:

  • digital (e.g. using separate accounts and/or applications);
  • physical (e.g. deciding when not to wear a smartwatch or carry a device);
  • temporal (e.g. enabling 'do not disturb' mode at night);
  • social (e.g. disabling notifications when out for dinner or deleting an app when on holiday).
    We have compiled a list of microboundary strategies divided between email, other communication, notification, time, and expectation management that you can try.