Before we dive into the article, please let me ask you a question.
How do you feel when your Zoom call freezes or disconnects you? Or you are unable to send and receive e-mail? Or your it takes days to get a simple IT issue resolved? Just thinking about these possibilities is enough to raise our blood pressure and spiral into an anxiety spiral.
Technology is exploding. But so is the stress and frustration with it because it is the HEART of our business. In recent years, techno-stress has become a prevalent term. Wikipedia defines it as a negative psychological link between people and the introduction of new technologies. It is the mental stress people feel while using technology.
A Dell study in 2020 showed that when employees with different levels of computer skills were put through a series of bad technology experiences, their stress level shockingly doubled. Moreover, they took a long time to relax back to calmness. It is evident that IT frustrations are not only affecting the mental health of employees but a company’s top-line and bottom-line revenue.
We have listed a few of the tech frustrations that lead employees to feel distracted and stressed, and ways to eliminate them from the work culture.
1. Disruptions in Functioning
The never-ending, time wasting “spinning circle” when performing simple functions – searching or browsing files, send/receive e-mails, launching any application, or simply editing a document.
2. New Technology
Introducing and rolling out new technology in the workplace should ideally enhance work efficiency. However, stress and overwhelm takes over when the tool or program is too complex to use.
3. Technical Failures
Malfunctioning software and technology is one of the most common reasons for techno-stress. Repeated technical issues with your computer or the software you utilize wastes a lot of time and money. It makes employees feel helpless, anxious, restless and stressed.
4. Time Consuming Program Installations
Occasionally, employees are required to install new programs or tools. Using new, robust programs facilitates ease and convenience. The aim is to make employees more productive. However, sometimes, the installation process of programs is too complicated or time-consuming. It irritates employees and slows them down.
5. Inability to Have Tech Support in Remote Working
With the pandemic, there is a significant increase in work from home or the remote work model. One of the many disadvantages is that employees do not feel their technology is adequate. Furthermore, employees find their IT department are not equipped with remote support skills and therefore are apprehensive to ask for help when facing technology problems. With remote working, it seems much more difficult to obtain immediate tech support and this adds to the frustration.
When one or many of these incidences happen multiple times a day, it causes employee energy drain. Stress takes over their productivity levels, causing the performance levels to decrease. Their strained minds refuse to give 100% in collaborations with their colleagues or clients. As a result, it impacts the overall environment, success, and profits of the company.
How to Avoid Computer Stress in Employees?
Techno-stress and techno-anxiety are having a negative impact on employees and workplaces. Here are some measures you can take to tackle them –
1. Include Timely Breaks in Work Routines
You cannot eliminate 100% of computer related stress. After all, IT and its working issues are a daily part of your work life. However, you can provide some time to your employees to relieve this stress.
Ask your employees to take short breaks during the working hours to keep their minds fresh. A walk in the corridor or a quick chat by the coffee machine can nullify the effect of IT stress and restore their energy. However, keep in mind that this is possible only when you let them take routine breaks with small tech issues. If you let the stress build up, it will most likely consume the productivity of the entire workday.
2. Keep the Computer Equipment Young
Just like people, computers age. You cannot expect an old and aged computer to work seamlessly.
Therefore, provide your employees with new and well-functioning hardware. Several companies try to save money by re-using old computer equipment. However, they may be slow or incompatible with certain operating systems and applications. It will lead to computer stress and impact your employees’ ability to give their best.
Providing new and tech-supported computer equipment to your employees is a good investment that will bring you more revenue in hindsight.
3. Provide Training to Employees
Technology is evolving constantly. You need to be on your toes at all times to stay updated. While you can provide your employees with functioning systems, you cannot remove the complexities of the programs.
Some programs, tools, or software solutions are hard to use and understand but you may not be able to eliminate them from the process. In such a case, you need to provide exciting training and (most important) easy to follow documentation to your employees. This will prevent computer stress and increase their experience and productivity. Once they are comfortable and adept at using the technology, they will not face issues as often.
4. Provide Easy Answers
Training your employees to use software or tools is an effective way to reduce computer stress, but it is not enough. You need to make sure they can navigate through the software on their own after preliminary training.
What do you expect employees to do when they face an error while working? You cannot fully prepare them for every possible problem. Therefore it is paramount your IT department is always ready to provide a white-glove, hand-holding experience to your employees making technology easy to understand and use.
5. Talk to Your Employees
The most effective advice is to simply keep the lines of communication open with your employees so they feel comfortable with sharing their technology problems or challenges. No matter how effective your strategies are, they might not get implemented in the manner you thought. Besides, every employee is different, and your methods might not be ideal for everyone. A smooth working process for one employee might be a living hell for another employee.
Hence, talk to your employees about their tech inconveniences and the possibility for solid solutions. Moreover, ultimate customer service and empathetic technology support can contribute to relieving the employees stress.
Technology is a substantial part of all our lives. Practicing it as a strength and making it easy for your workplace is the only way to prevent its stressful effects.
To rebalance your company culture and develop a healthy and easy relationship with technology, reach out to Vital IT. With 25+ years of experience, we can help you transform the way your company engages and embraces technology.