How Android Digital Wellbeing improves work/life balance

Empowers employees to manage and understand their device usage time and ensure their privacy is protected

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For several years, the problem of notification overload — primarily from our smartphones — has loomed large. Android started to address this issue with the Lollipop version of the OS in 2015 by allowing users to treat high-priority and ordinary notifications differently.

Work/life balance, a concern that goes back to the mid-19th century, is one of the biggest issues facing modern workers. Being unable to switch off is bad for anyone’s mental health. Device alerts, notifying us of incoming emails and texts for example, tend to trigger our compulsions to answer immediately, even when the messages are not urgent and we have no work requirement to respond quickly.

Digital Wellbeing

Android 9 Pie introduces new ways to address these problems with Digital Wellbeing, a Google initiative to help people better understand their device usage and find ways to disconnect. This dashboard, accessed from the system controls, shows you your app usage for the day and your number of unlocks and notifications. Then it offers control panels for disconnecting (App Timers and Wind Down) and reducing interruptions (manage notifications and Do Not Disturb).

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You can view your usage for both the personal and work profiles (the Android work profile is a unique feature which separates your work and personal apps, keeping your personal data private). 

Notifications can be customized for individual work apps, such as your corporate Gmail or Drive. To further reduce the number of alerts, enable high-priority notifications from Gmail so you’ll only be pinged with critical emails.

Use Wind Down to dim your display  and help you power off for the night. The Night Light reduces blue light, which can make it harder to fall asleep, and instead gives your screen a red or amber hue.

Do Not Disturb enables you to completely silence your device. This mode allows you to mute sound, disable vibration, and ensure the screen stays off.   

In Android 9 Pie, the work profile is in its own distinct tab in the All Apps menu, making it easier to find and distinctly separate from personal apps. You can toggle off the apps, which turns off  any notifications. IT departments can also set access limits on the work profile to encourage their team members to step away from work.

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For more information on Digital Wellbeing, see the Android 9 Pie announcement and the Digital WellBeing site.
You can find the
Digital Wellbeing app in the Google Play store; it is available on all Google Pixel and Android One devices running Android 9 Pie.

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