Stress And Burn Out In The Digital Age
A recent Gallup poll found that the average working week for adults in the United States in 47 hours, with forty percent of workers reporting they usually work at least 50 hours per week.
The flat world of digital business means talent are able to do more work away from their desk than ever before. Smartphones and tablets are allowing employees to check their work emails at home, on their commute, on vacation, or wherever else they find themselves. The traditional nine to five concept is now redundant – work is 24/7.
With the temptation of checking in so easily, are HR doing enough to ensure employees are not stressing themselves without realizing it?
In a survey conducted by The Pew Research Center, 94% of jobholders reported they are internet users, with 39% stating that the internet, cell phones and email were enabling them to work with more flexibility, while 35% said they had increased the number of hours they spend working.
With more employees working longer than they need to, this will eventually have a huge impact on the individual’s work/life balance and job satisfaction, two principles hugely important in terms of talent wellness and engagement.
Overworking will increase stress-levels and the risk of burn-outs, which completely counteracts technology’s ability to increase productivity and makes for a desperately unhappy workforce. This can also affect talent sustainability and development, as working long hours leaves little room for learning and can frustrate employees to the point of leaving the company. Overworking can also lead to many stress-related conditions and illnesses.
The modern family dynamic often sees either both parents working full-time or a sole provider working full-time, and while new computer systems and advanced technologies are allowing workers to be more efficient, and have reduced the amount of time it takes to complete tasks, human resources must make sure there are taking steps to protect the family time of their talent.
Staff surveys that ask questions about job satisfaction and work/life integration can provide HR with a good idea of which departments and employees require help in this area, and should be undertaken regularly, the option of completing these anonymously could provide more honest responses.
Allowing workers to telecommute and work remotely for an allotted amount of days per month may also decrease stress and prevent burnouts, as workers feel less compelled to rush to the office and can work flexibly from home.
If the role allows, HR should also consider job-sharing, allowing two key players to work part-time in the same role providing them with more free time. The outcome of this can produce higher motivation and commitment and much less stress.
Lastly, human resources should not only encourage but implement the use of employee vacation time and sick leave. Some talent perceive that if they take time off, they may be seen by their executives as hard workers and dedication to their role.
To combat this, executives must set an example that while engagement is key, we are all entitled to a break now and then.
Failing to deal with workplace stress can leave HR with many more complex problems. Please see this page for further help: https://www.betterhelp.com/online-counseling From stress-related illnesses to poor engagement and low job satisfaction, the department must have clear cut strategies and policies when it comes to preventing stress in the digital age.
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