Almost a third of UK employees (32 percent) say workplace technology – from computer software to mobile tech – increases job stress, according to research. Contributor Mike Blake, Wellbeing Lead – Willis Towers Watson.
A lack of tech reliability was cited as the main reason for this by 46 percent of survey respondents, followed closely by the claim that technology had heightened their workload (45 percent).
Other shadow sides of technology highlighted by workers included a triggering of tighter deadlines (33 percent) and a lack of human interaction (29 percent).
“Technology can be a considerable force for good with the potential to act as a catalyst for smarter, more efficient and more flexible working,” said Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at WTW.
“Despite offering a wealth of opportunities to improve our working lives, however – simplifying and, in some cases, eradicating many mundane or laborious tasks – these findings highlight that, in some cases, it can be both a blessing and a curse.
“The drive to introduce new technology is inevitable as businesses search for more efficient ways of working, but these findings should act as a call to action to ensure it is adopted strategically, and deployed with appropriate levels of support, training and consideration to the mental wellbeing of users.
“As part of this process, consultation with staff about the tools and technologies that they need to carry out their jobs more confidently and effectively may prove beneficial in helping smooth the transition to new, improved, ways of working.”
According to the study, workers over the age of 55 were more than twice as likely as 18 to 24-year-olds to say technology added to their workload (58 percent vs 28 percent). They were also twice as likely as their younger colleagues to say technology increased their job security concerns (20 percent vs nine percent).
“With changing workforce demographics, businesses face the challenge of balancing the needs of both younger and older employees to help protect and maintain the wellbeing and motivation of all,” added Blake.
Encouragingly, more than a quarter (28 percent) of workers have tackled the tech stress burden by consulting colleagues who have the requisite know-how, while 24 percent have asked for support or training from management.
Twenty-seven percent, however, said they coped by working longer hours, 19 percent have avoided or delayed tech-based tasks and a further 15 percent have opted to delegate tech-based tasks to colleagues.
Only one in ten workers said technology decreased their workplace stress, with half (50 percent) of these respondents saying it helped them work more efficiently, 51 percent said it made information more accessible and 42 percent said it facilitated flexible working.