Monday, October 5, 2015

The New (Micro) Leisure: Redefining Downtime In a Connected World

We used to think of leisure as a grand, sweeping concept. Two times a year we went on our one-week vacation where we can turn off and truly relax. We took our lunch breaks and our long weekends. But in today’s always-on world, with the heavy adoption of mobile technology and an omnipresent social profile, how has leisure changed? How has the way we work and, more importantly, the way we play changed?

To find out, we commissioned a study on the effects of mobile technology on leisure time in the hopes of understanding why our free time no longer feels free. Working in conjunction with our partners at Whitman Insight Strategies, we aimed to find out how Millennials today define leisure and how they find balance among competing priorities.

The first thing that we discovered was the profound paradox on our perception of leisure. Millennials are extremely conflicted about technology’s impact on their leisure time. For example, while 60% of our Millennial respondents believe that their mobile phones enhance their free time, 48% of them also worry about spending too much time on their phone. There is now also a constant multi-tasking layer on top of their everyday lives. Millennials want to be in the now, but they are also constantly thinking about and making plans for the future. This constant push-pull of competing priorities creates a new set of considerations for them when engaging with the people around them and their mobile devices.

This multitasking is blending our definition of play and work. While 51% of Millennials agree that smartphones provide a means to reduce stress during a busy workday, 78% also agree that checking work emails is a top disruptor of their leisure time. The smartphone has truly blurred the lines between our home lives and our work lives. A few years ago, companies attempted to develop firewalls, means of blocking leisure channels such as Facebook at work. Now, following the mobile revolution, there is no firewall big enough to keep our personal lives at home.

In this new world, no longer can we relieve stress a week at a time, a long weekend at a time, or even a lunch break at a time. Millennials are turning off and on every other minute of every day and are looking for relaxation that is ephemeral and bite-sized. We define this as Micro-Leisure, and it is more available than ever before thanks to mobile technology.

How can you use the tenants of micro-leisure to connect with Millennial audiences? Continue reading here. 

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