technostress how to handle it in the workplace

Technostress – how do you handle it in the workplace?

Guard against techno-creep in the workplace, or else it can take over your life.

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” – Steven Spielberg

Technology taking over modern-day life

One of the biggest culprits that can cause states of chronic stress in many people today is that ubiquitous reality of modern-day life.

Technology.

Technostress is a “thing”. It is described as a modern disease of adaptation caused by an inability to cope with the new computer technologies in a healthy manner.

Technostress can be like a cancer if not managed

Technostress is particularly pernicious in the workplace, where WhatsApp groups and other platforms blur the lines between people’s private and work lives, preventing them from switching off, relaxing and fully enjoying their rightfully deserved time away from work.

Receiving messages after working hours has become the norm for many. Management often fails to set firm boundaries and rules, expecting their teams to be on stand-by to respond to messages at all hours. One South African study has shown that many employees fear that by not responding to after-hours work messages, they will be prejudiced.

Techno-creep in the workplace

As useful and effective as online messaging platforms are for arranging meetings or keeping teams informed, it is important not to abuse this instant access to people. Organisations should have a standard policy in place to regulate devices to guard against this kind of techno-creep.

Developed countries have begun to implement rules to limit the hours during which employees may send work emails and online messages. Bombarding staff with late-night instructions or discussions about issues at work is not productive in the long term. It will inevitably lead to staff burnout and ultimately have an impact on physical and mental health.

10 Tips to push back techno-creep

1. Work with what is within your control. Set your own boundaries.

2. Discourage an office culture that celebrates workaholism.

3. Safeguard yourself against burnout and the mental and physical consequences of overwork.

4. Make clear what the agreed-upon working hours are and make sure that matters needing attention are dealt with during those.

5. Set the online/offline rules when the workplace is calm and not under pressure.

6. Do not respond while you’re preoccupied or busy, while you cook dinner or have a toddler climbing up your leg when you are likely to blow up and communicate emotionally—this only leads to embarrassment and unprofessionalism and, of course, more stress.

7. Do not take the bait of after-hours stress storms that can easily be dealt with in the morning. Agree on parameters for what constitutes urgency, so that when something does come through after hours, everyone knows it is code red.

8. Set rules for what is permitted or what is not for work groups. Don’t allow memes, religious messages, calls for donations, and so on.

9. Don’t comment or contribute when rules are flouted. Simply do not engage.

10. Mute notifications on overly active groups to spare the constant pinging, and adjust your settings so that people can’t see when you are online.

 

By Linda Cilliers

Sources:
– mg.co.za/article/2018-06-29-00-whatsapp-at-work-is-useful-up-to-a-point
– www.thejakartapost.com/life/2019/01/09/why-social-media-is-boosting-your- stress.html
– en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technostress
– jobadvicesa.co.za/office-chat-groups-affect-lives

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