Technostress: are we damaging our employees?

1 November 2017

Technostress: are we damaging our employees?

Jane McKenzie, Professor of Management Knowledge and Learning, joins in the conversation on National Stress Awareness Day, sharing research into how Technostress may be damaging both your organisation and employees. 

Stress costs organisations large sums of money each year in lost productivity. It can also be expensive for employees in terms of potential damage to their health and well-being.  

More and more organisations are introducing mobile technology to transform the way people work. Yet this comes with a risk that they exacerbate underlying stress levels, simply because people feel unable to switch off from that anytime, anywhere connection.

The incessant demands on time and attention can feel invasive of private life, creating conflicting priorities between work and home commitments. Mentally overloading people with information and input to be managed, plus constant interruptions, can fragment attention and disrupt concentration, leading to a sort of work based ADHD.  

When combined with high levels of role overload, prevalent in many modern organisations today, and a possible sense of job insecurity arising because users don’t know how to deploy the technology effectively to do their job better, aspects of Technostress can substantially reduce return on mobile technology investments, because they undermine expected performance benefits.

In 2016, the Henley Forum working with a Henley DBA student, Johnny Jensen, set out to take the Technostress temperature in a large public-sector organisation, which was rolling out mobile technology across its workforce, using a short ten-minute survey that measured these factors.

Over 800 managers completed the survey. Analysis of the results across age groups, levels of experience and management provided some fascinating insights into Technostress levels in the organisation. Overall the most stressful part of any manager’s mobile technology use, seemed to be the need to change work habits, while simultaneously dealing with the tight timescales and greater workload that mobile technology seems to generate.  

Dealing with the constant distractions that technology causes is a significant concern and directly undermines any productivity and performance gains from technology. In this particular organisation, it was the mid-career managers who seemed to find mobile technology the most invasive of their private life, but the older managers who experienced the most job insecurity, despite the fact that they were the ones who seemed best able to manage the work home conflict”  

You can find many other useful insights in our knowledge in action briefing, designed to help organisations think through how they can mitigate the effects of Technostress in their mobile technology roll out.

Jane McKenzie and Johnny Jensen will be presenting more detailed findings from the research and engaging delegates in discussion on 29th November
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