In today’s Digital Age, the U.S. Census Bureau found that nearly 80 percent of Americans own a laptop or computer, and 75 percent own a smartphone. We have many technologies and devices at our disposal; however, many of us turn toward various activities and products to cleanse ourselves from the ‘digital stare.’ It’s often difficult to disconnect and unplug ourselves from digital tasks, but there’s a shift happening that’s moving us away from purely living and breathing digital.
“Digital detox” was a prominent theme at the 2018 Paperworld conference in Frankfurt, Germany, last month. Office trends reflecting technology, while present, moved into the background. Instead of a computer or laptop being the focal point of the desk, it was notebooks, folders, and file storage stealing the spotlight, in favor of a more calming design. This not only portrays consumers’ desire to do more of their work through raw, tangible mediums, but also the importance of focusing on “mindfulness” in the office. Some companies are innovating by transforming their offices to provide spaces for quiet time, collaborative work, private spaces for relaxation and thought, mood rooms, and creative spaces. For many offices, this transformation requires a wide variety of new architecture, furniture, and themes. However, the time and investment is not just for aesthetics; many believe that these future office concepts increase employee productivity, happiness, and overall well-being.
Another way consumers are reducing their digital usage is by getting back to basics and using pens and planners to schedule their daily routines instead of their smart devices. According to NPD data, sales of appointment and planner books/organizers have grown by nearly $10 million year over year*. While planners were very popular at Paperworld 2018, notebooks, pens, and unique writing instruments like calligraphy and brush-tip markers, were prevalent as well. Trends such as bullet journaling and hand lettering are growing, which is also reflective of the digital detox.
Digital detox embodies a shift towards relaxed environments with less emphasis placed on technology. Using notebooks instead of a laptop during a meeting, or scheduling daily tasks in a paper planner, are ways consumers are able to change their oftentimes monotonous, digital-filled days. While technology will most likely always be an integral part of modern society and the working world, there are many concepts that are becoming commonplace that ease the overwhelming digital presence in our day-to-day routines.
*Source: The NPD Group/ U.S. Retail Tracking Service, 52 weeks ending February 3, 2018 versus same weeks in 2017