It’s ironic isn’t it, that the very things we’ve developed to make our lives easier, have made them harder, in ways we could never have predicted as technology has evolved. It’s easy to feel like we’re drowning in a sea of connectivity and the pressure to keep up socially and professionally is relentless.
It’s no surprise, that the theme of this year’s Stress Awareness Week is related to ‘Workplace stress and automation’. Taking a deeper look at the effects of technology on our working lives, a survey by the International Stress Management Association showed that nearly all of us feel panic when we can’t locate our mobile phones, a frightening number of us check messages and social media in the night, and whilst we’re aware of the additional stress, we find it hard to put our technology away.
Yet, we mustn’t be ‘bitter’, the ‘sweetness’ that tech brings to our lives, the doors it opens, the ideas, news and views that it enlightens us with, have propelled our lives and businesses forward at a pace we could never have experienced otherwise. Harnessing that power in the workplace is just as beneficial to business as encouraging staff to switch off and put it away.
For all the pro’s and cons, the fact remains that we are on a journey, and we need to learn to manage and deal with the stress caused by connectivity.
In the workplace, the duty falls to managers and HR professionals to openly promote a stress free working environment with very clear work/ life boundaries and support for employees in place. Managers must lead by example and make sure that teams are able to talk openly about stress (a survey by ISMA in 2017 revealed that 94% of people experience work-related stress yet only 32% feel they can speak to their line manager or HR department about it. Read more).
Here’s our top 3 ways to look after your team’s stress and few tech savvy apps to help them on their way!
Get a wellbeing policy in place. A workplace wellbeing policy is important to remind staff that you take their health, wellbeing and happiness seriously. Encouraging staff to take regular breaks, get enough sleep, eat healthily, and exercise are great ways to endorse it (My Fitness Pal, Sleep Score).
Lead by example. It’s OK to turn it off! As management, YOU need to take proper breaks and turn your phone and email off too. If an employee is working, emailing or calling out of hours, why? Make yourself accessible and keep the lines of communication with your team open. Is their stress coming from tech related distractions? (Trello, OFFTIME).
Get social (off line). In and out of work. Downtime with friends and family is key protective factor to mental health and wellbeing, and is proven to reduce stress. Workplace social events or team activities can support this. Encourage mindfulness as it’s proven to increase productivity and emotional wellbeing. (Headspace).
What policies have you put in place to deal with technology related stress in your workplace?