Technology and mental health in tandem often take headline space for less than positive reasons. Indeed, it’s widely publicised that social media and too much screen time can increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Of course, there is a flipside. The question we should be asking; how can technology help reduce stress?
That said, stress, and in particular workplace stress, is a complex beast that won’t be solved via one fix alone. In addition to using technology to manage stress, employees must be supported by their managers and businesses. But, amidst all of the headlines that identify technology as a killer of productivity and mental health, conversely it’s technology which can be used to vastly improve them, too. With this in mind, and with the help of Natasha Bougourd from TSG, a UK-wide managed IT services provider that specialises in IT support and solutions, security and applications including Office 365 and Sage, here are 4 IDEAL ways technology can help manage stress in the workplace.
According to Perkbox, work is the biggest cause of stress for adults in the UK, with 59% suffering. What’s more, over one in five experience moderate-to-high levels of stress at work several times a week. That’s a number which simply needs to be shifted downwards, and fast. The biggest work-related contributor to stress is long working hours, which impacts 21% of people. Since these findings are so commonplace, solutions within the ubiquitous, ‘always on’ tech field seem perfectly suited to the task. A variety of apps have been rolled out to support stress and mental health including the likes of Headspace, Calm, and Stop, Breathe & Think. Though a subscription fee is usually required, this is one expense definitely worth the investment. Some employers are even starting to cover the cost of such memberships.
REDUCE THE NEED TO MANUALLY INPUT DATE WITH AI
Productivity is a buzzword in the business world right now, and it’s driven by technological advances. Artificial intelligence (AI) is driving increased efficiency by eliminating manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks like data re-entry. This can also go some way to alleviating the burden and stress of menial jobs, freeing up the opportunity for creativity.
This is because employees with jobs that require a lot of manual data input could save hours by using technology that now comes as standard in many of the latest versions of the software solutions they use daily, like their financial systems or CRM solution.
Though this technology is obviously a blessing, it’s vital that the systems and software which your workers use is up-to-date, as legacy systems that don’t work effectively can contribute to stress and additional, unnecessary work. Interestingly, a study by Randstad found that one of the top factors in employee satisfaction is having the latest digital and technology tools.
ENHANCE COMMUNICATION WITH REMOTE WORKERS
Businesses with frontline or remote workers consistently report issues with engagement; 21% of businesses cite low engagement amongst frontline staff as a barrier to productivity, while 78% believe connecting with those employees is the key to success. Conclusive as it comes, right?
While the statistics supporting remote working for employees are endless, with improved satisfaction, increased productivity and a better work-life balance just a few of the benefits, it can be easy for those workers to feel out of the loop with the office and company culture.
The solution? You guessed it; technology comes to the rescue again. How? Well, businesses are using intranet and communication platforms to help bring those remote employees into the fold, informed and involved. By keeping up-to-date with key business news and more informal topics, this often ostracised element of the workforce get to feel be a part of your organisation’s culture. This space can be used to share social media feeds, event details or even take the opportunity to publish focus pieces on those remote workers to introduce them to the rest of your workforce.
TIME MANAGEMENT HELP
Longer working hours are becoming a widespread issue; phones, emails and the people behind them are expected to be accessible and reachable 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, employees feel obligated to either work longer hours or to be contactable and working outside of hours, with 50% of people checking their emails outside of work (Dissent). Working more hours than standard can affect health, as the Australian National University found anything over 39 hours a week could be detrimental.
To combat this, a wide range of time management tools are available as either standalone software and for free, or as part of a business software package, for instance Office 365 which helps workers manage their time more effectively. From personal to-do lists to more comprehensive team or business-wide solutions where tasks can be assigned with a deadline and space for updates, the sky truly is the limit where tech and time converge.