Technology evolves with the purpose of making our day-to-day easier. However, sometimes it may turn into an enemy of our personal productivity and also of our wellbeing.
The term technostress appeared in 1997 when Larry Rosen y Michelle Weil wrote a book of the same name where they defined this XXI century disorder. The ‘Observatorio Permanente de Riesgos Laborales’ of the UGT (Spanish General Workers Union) describes it as ‘the type of stress caused by the constant exposure to the use of new technologies and to the information and communication (ICT) coming from the Internet, smartphones, television or telecommuting’.
How does technostress operate?
According to the ‘Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo’, stress related to the use of new technologies operates in three different ways:
- Suspicion and the feeling of being unable to use the ICT and fear to use new devices and programs.
- Technofatigue. Tiredness or mental exhaustion due to a constant use of this kind of technologies as they provide with an unbearable amount of information to the user.
- Technology addition. A compulsive use during long periods of time which create a strong dependency of ICT.
Who is affected by this?
Technostress affects to one out of three Spaniards. Although young people are inclined to suffer from this type of disorder, any sector can suffer from technostress, especially at work.
We need new technology to develop a great deal of our work. But stress appears when we are not able to disconnect. Despite getting out of work, we keep answering emails through our smartphone and we cannot handle the anxiety of being disconnected.
How do we avoid it?
There are researchers that look for ways of measuring technostress within the companies in order to find solutions that better fit real problems. A rational use of technology, deleting constant notifications or taking ‘digital naps’ will allow us to disconnect for a while and keep from feeling stressed.
However, under these symptoms hides another problem. Technostress problems due to the use of new technologies are actually a symptom of a bad work organisation.
Technology does not have to be an enemy if we know how to use it for the benefit of our own productivity and our company’s. Thanks to tools like Kiply, which help employees to better acquire these new skills and to spot their training needs, our learning process will be more personal and we will get rid of stress and anxiety more easily. It’s also important to help employees to better manage their time so they are able to conciliate their professional and personal lives. Companies and employees have the possibility to easily improve their productivity by preventing technostress.
Image: Christopher Adams