The working world has changed significantly in recent years due to the introduction of technology. And although there many more ways to communicate, we don’t appear to do it very well within a working environment. Lack of communication or bad communication can cause stress a huge amount of stress in the workplace.
It’s important to think about how we communicate with each other. Many organisations now provide mobile phones, laptops, and employees are added to organisation Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups. Depending on the size of the organisation they may be added to several email groups causing huge numbers of emails that may not be necessary for that employee.
This can lead to employees not being able to switch off from work and studies have shown that 26% of people feel pressured to respond to work communication outside of working hours. It’s important to be mindful of how this affects employees and their mental health. Although some stress in the workplace is good, it is important that we do take a break from work and set boundaries so as to ensure the stress doesn’t become too much. It is also necessary to remember that there are many ways to access emails etc. as it has been shown that 85% of employees use more than one device to communicate at work.
Another issue around technology and stress in the workplace is that in some instances it has taken the place of face to face communication. Although email is a great tool to communicate to a large number of employees, it isn’t the best way to provide feedback, even if it’s positive. I believe that as an employer we have to be mindful of how the information or feedback can be interpreted through email or text message etc. It is possible that the meaning can be misinterpreted by the person receiving the email, or what is expected from that person isn’t being made clear which can cause anxiety.
The best way to overcome this is to ensure either face to face, or telephone conversations take place. A lot of stress caused in the workplace is caused by employees not knowing what is expected of them as it hasn’t been communicated correctly. If this goes unaddressed it could lead to increased absenteeism due to high-stress levelsand a high turnover of staff. A recent study reported that businesses that have effective communication are more than 50% more likely to report employee turnover levels below average.
So how do we combat these issues around technology in the workplace? Some suggestions could be:
- Ensure that your organisation has a strict policy in relation to flexible working and aims to limit the number of devices used by employees as well as the working hours if working remotely.
- Ensure that you have a robust one to one process to enable all types of feedback to be given and give employees the opportunity to discuss any issues.
- Ensure that employees are taking breaks throughout the day and taking annual leave throughout the year.
- Aim to have an open and transparent culture so employees feel comfortable to discuss any issues they may have and get the support they need.
If you feel that this is something you need more support with in your organisation Altum HR can help. We can review current processes and provide support either onsite or remotely. Please contact us on 01925 552333 or visit our website at www.altumhr.co.uk