January 14th, 2019
Understand Technostress Can Hinder Productivity Before It’s Too Late, Says Microsoft
Honored as an invincible tool in the business world that accelerates the processes and drives satisfactory results, technology can come over as a distraction for workers rather than a productivity booster, says tech giant Microsoft.
What is Technostress?
“It is a term given to what happens when technology- computers, laptops or smartphones starts to interfere with our daily life- our health and happiness.”
About 20,000 European workers were questioned and they said the continuous stream of emails, messages and notifications disturbs their focus and sometimes important things get missed.
“This ‘always on’ culture of emails is killing people,” said Sir Cary Cooper, an organizational psychologist at Manchester Business School Here’s the rest of his chilling quotation: “It leads to worry, anxiety, depression, and physical ill-health. There’s a whole field now called technostress, and the evidence is that unconstrained emails, where there is no guidance by employers, are damaging for people’s health.”
Others said the way their employer deployed technology also stopped them being more productive.
Research as shown that a large number of people are suffering from high levels of technostress which is a matter of serious discussion now. Employees’ health cannot be put at stake.
A glimpse on what research says-
The report illustrated views in 21 European nations including the UK, found that only 11.4 percent of European workers said they felt highly productive.
“Modern workers have an abundance of technology at their fingertips,” said the report. “But this availability doesn’t necessarily translate into impact.”
Instead, the continuous updates and notifications from social media disturbs their concentration, the report has shown.
Microsoft indicated the danger of “constant connectivity”- the urge to make instant replies to the inbox messages.
It has been suggested that a company’s “digital culture” could improve worker’s productivity and help them feel more involved.
With ‘digital culture’, they meant to say the company should analyze the way technology is used in their premise. They recommended conducting proper training sessions to help employees on how to make best use of technology and their adopted software systems.
The study also took into account the email responses received from people on whether they found use of technology in their day-today jobs a good thing or not.
It was concluded that having a well-managed digital culture observes 22 percent employee productivity. Comparatively, the companies which do not have a managed digital culture reported 20 percent employees felt disengaged.
“It’s the unintended consequences you have to think through when you deploy technology,” said Sir Cary Cooper, a professor of organisational psychology at the Manchester Business School who has written extensively on the technostress staff can suffer.
“We do not want to throw the technology out because it’s very good for communications, but we have not developed good guidelines on what counts as productive use of it,” he said.
“There’s a whole field now called ‘technostress’ in management science,” Sir Cary told the BBC, saying that it dealt with the adverse consequences of adopting novel computer systems or software.
“Technologies can overload people and make them less productive because they get caught up in it rather than use it to deliver a service or a product.”
Sir Cary said email had been named as the “second most damaging issue” by big firms who were members of the UK’s National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work, that he helped to co-ordinate.
Acknowledging this, a number of firms have now limited when emails can be sent in a bid to reduce such kind of load on workers, he said.
“Productivity comes from creative interchange,” he said. “It does not come from people sitting in front of machines sending emails.”
Technostress is something that just cannot be ignored like this. Adopting a sound digital culture in your organization is the best answer to putting a stop on the hindrances caused in work productivity and caring for the employee health.