Technostress – a Buzzword or a Genuine Challenge?
A ChapmanCG HR Network Poll Commentary
In today’s digital age, as technology continues to advance, many of us experience stress from the rapid influx of new tech. Technostress causes anxiety, tension, or distress when we feel overwhelmed by new technology.
We recently surveyed our LinkedIn network about their strategies to cope with technostress. Most respondents reported that they block off time in their calendars for family time, while a third refrain from checking emails outside of office hours. Additionally, about a quarter of respondents attempt to limit their constant social media scrolling.
According to a survey shared by theHRDIRECTOR, 71% of workers between the ages of 18 and 25 feel overwhelmed by the number of digital tools they use for work. In comparison, 58% of workers aged 26-35 feel similarly overwhelmed, while half those aged 36-45 share this sentiment.
Although remote work and technology offer flexibility, they often have unwanted side effects such as technostress and burnout. To tackle this issue, we have identified five potential solutions that business and HR leaders can adopt to help employees manage technostress more effectively in the workplace.
- Cut down on mandatory video conference calls. We have all felt the online meeting fatigue, and most would agree that video calls can be more taxing than in-person meetings. Consider consolidating meetings and recording longer cross-regional sessions for later review by employees.
- Make each Teams meeting count. Annika in der Beek, the Director of People & Organization at ABOUT YOU, suggests providing a clear agenda so your team knows what to expect. She also recommends turning off email notifications during meetings and scheduling a 15 to 30-minute break between sessions. Being present and focused during the meeting will allow you to complete follow-up work more efficiently.
- Provide support and training for work-at-home technology. The University of Melbourne’s Professor Reeva Lederman highlights the significance of providing relevant training to employees instead of expecting them to learn independently. Employees with the skills to use technology proficiently feel more comfortable and experience lower stress levels, ultimately boosting productivity.
- Encourage your team to unplug, schedule breaks, and respect their personal time. Working from home can make it easy to forget to take breaks. Andres Richter, CEO of Priority Software recommends that his employees schedule time for their personal activities. Annika in der Beek turns off notifications on her work phone and encourages her team to do the same. Leaders should promote a culture that allows employees to disconnect during holidays, and only contact them in emergencies. Support employee well-being by suggesting physical activities such as outdoor walks, yoga, or brief meditations to practice mindfulness throughout the day. And don’t forget to disconnect at least an hour before bedtime.
- Be open and honest. HR and business leaders need to talk openly with employees to avoid burnout. Professor Lederman further suggests employees should discuss their preferred communication methods and personal schedules with their managers. Many leaders may be seeing their employees interact with their families for the first time.
As an HR leader, it’s important to raise awareness about technostress and offer guidance to business leaders and employees on how to address it. While it’s impossible to eliminate technostress from our work and daily lives completely, it’s crucial to acknowledge it, identify its root causes, and discover practical solutions to mitigate its effects.
What additional strategies do you use to encourage digital well-being? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.