Business leaders gathered at the Bellevue Club on Thursday morning to hear a panel about work-life balance, and the value of unplugging from screens at the annual KidsQuest Museum BizQuest breakfast.

bizquest panel

Speakers at the second-annual KidsQuest corporate breakfast, BizQuest, spoke about the importance of unplugging from technology and incorporating play for both kids and adults. Photo by Karen Miller.

The second annual breakfast provided an opportunity for the museum to connect with Eastside business leaders. The theme was “Families Unplugged,” and panelists spoke about the importance of putting down the screens, and really plugging into the world.

Panelists were Ben Steele, REI’s chief creative officer; Amy Patton, Limeade’s director of culture and well-being; and Paul Johns, the Seattle Seahawks’ director of youth football and legends program. All three panelists extolled the virtue of taking a break from technology, when it comes to both parenting and work-life balance.

All the panelists also spoke of the importance of play in a child’s development. Johns shared about the work being done with the NFL’s Play60 campaign, which was founded to combat childhood obesity and get players out in the community helping kids stay active.

Patton said parents can be a role model for getting outside, exploring, and staying away from the phone, email, and social media.

Johns agreed: “Kids are sponges; they are going to emulate what they see in the household.”

Steele said outdoor time, especially for children, is cut into more and more these days. “This isn’t a generation clambering for outdoor experience like there was maybe in previous generations,” he said.

The trend away from playtime outside is having a negative impact on adults, too. Fewer people are getting outside, and that can be harmful to a person’s health. Patton said stress is a huge issue for most people, and is a factor in a large percentage of adult illnesses.

She pitched the idea of “tech-free lunches,” in favor of getting out of the office for walks, or taking a personal break in the day. It’s something businesses can implement to bring down stress levels among employees. In that, Patton said, leadership needs to set the example to follow. It’s important for managers to practice work-life balance.

“Adults need recess, too” said Patton.