One of the more popular activities we’ve added to our recent wellness campaigns is cutting back or eliminating nonwork screen time. Participants echo the same theme in hundreds of evaluations: It was really hard at first, but once it became habit I found I had so much more time to do other things… Thank you! I love my evenings again. It’s as if they needed our permission to turn off their phones or tablets at home.
Excessive screen time (TV, video/online gaming, mobile) has been tied to slower metabolism, increased obesity, higher cholesterol, and reduced creativity in kids and adults. A successful campaign to get your clients to tune out for a week may be the best health promotion you can offer the whole year. Some ideas:
- Pull the Plug Campaign. Hand out buttons that say “I Pulled the Plug” along with a flier that explains the benefits and gives a list of things to do instead of watching TV. Encourage participants to wear the buttons to work that week.
- How I Survived a Week Without TV, Internet, and Mobile Apps Essay Contest. Ask employees to write an essay (250 or fewer words) on the creative things they did instead.
- Family Night Out. Solicit discounts to local recreation, cultural, or sporting events in celebration of Screen-Free Week.
- Lunch at the Improv. Hire local comedians to do a noontime standup routine in the cafeteria or auditorium in honor of Screen-Free Week. If that’s too risky for your organization’s culture, try a jazz band or other entertainment.
- Books R Us. Invite local used or new book merchants onsite to sell books for reading during Screen-Free Week. Ask for a discount in exchange for the free space and advertising.
- Hobbies, Hobbies, Hobbies. Feature new vendors each day to demonstrate hobbies to replace watching TV or playing online games.
- Volunteering Seminar. Invite representatives from local volunteer agencies to discuss opportunities at a lunch-time seminar.