Jaya Koilpillai Bohlmann
Jaya Koilpillai Bohlmann, MA, MSMOB, ACC, APR, is a communication, engagement, and organization development executive and coach at Designing Communication in Washington, DC.
Employers need to be alert to signs and symptoms of “technostress,” a byproduct of constant technology use that can lead to negative outcomes if left unchecked. This quick guide will help you identify and effectively manage this kind of stress among your staff.
Even before COVID-19 hit and sent millions of people home to work, the popularity of remote work was rising. Nearly 5 million U.S. employees, including those in associations, worked from home in February, an increase of 44 percent since 2015.
The benefits of remote work—increases in job satisfaction, productivity, work-life balance, job longevity, better health, and even higher salaries—are why 43 percent of full-time American employees say they want to continue working remotely even once the social distancing rules have lifted.
Many consider technology the miracle that is keeping associations and other organizations alive during this pandemic. But constant technology use can have potential negative physical and mental effects, phenomena collectively referred to as “technostress.”
This quick guide explains the main types of technostress—adaptation, overload, and isolation—and provides some practical strategies you can deploy to combat them.
The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated our need to adapt to new technologies. We might have had to upgrade our home and office routers and networks, computers, and webcams, and learn how to Zoom, chat, instruct, shop, or entertain our teams using various platforms. All of these have unique passwords, usernames, and security protocols. Taken together, these tools can cause extreme amounts of stress against the backdrop of this unprecedented crisis.
You can minimize this stress by using some of these techniques:
Managing employee well-being by taking steps to reduce technostress can boost the overall health of your workplace now and in the long-term new normal.
During this pandemic, employees might be glued to their devices even more than usual—to receive news updates, check in on friends and family, and access entertainment. By the end of the workday, they are probably exhausted from processing so much information.
It could be time for these fixes:
People who are isolated by remote work can suffer significant decreases in feelings of well-being, which can reduce employee engagement and, subsequently, productivity and retention. Engagement is already suffering in U.S. workplaces—only 15 percent of U.S. employees are engaged, according to various sources.
What can employers and supervisors do?
Your association might be among the 41 percent of global businesses that offered some degree of remote working before COVID-19 struck. The technology changes you’re making to conform to the distancing rules are likely to be needed for a long time: 75 percent of current teleworkers say they plan to continue to work remotely, maybe even for the rest of their careers. Managing employee well-being by taking steps to reduce technostress can boost the overall health of your workplace now and in the long-term new normal.