Technology increasing stress at work

Almost a third of UK employees (32%) feel that workplace technology increases job stress, research from Willis Towers Watson has revealed

A lack of tech reliability was cited as the main reason for this (by 46% of respondents), followed closely by technology increasing workload (45%). Other reasons cited were a triggering of tighter deadlines (33%) and a lack of human interaction (29%).

The research found generational differences when it came to employees’ perceptions of workplace technology. Workers over the age of 55 were more than twice as likely as 18- to 24-year-olds to say technology added to their workload (58% compared to 28%), and that technology increased their job security concerns (20% compared to 9%).

When asked how they coped with the issue, more than a quarter (28%) of all workers said they consulted tech-savvy colleagues, while 24% have asked for support or training from management.

However, 27% said they coped by working longer hours, 19% have avoided or delayed tech-based tasks and a further 15% have opted to delegate tech-based tasks to colleagues.

Just one in 10 workers said technology decreased their workplace stress, with 50% of these respondents saying it helped them work more efficiently, 51% saying it made information more accessible and 42% saying that it facilitated flexible working.

Mike Blake, director of health and benefits, GB at Willis Towers Watson, said that technology can be both a “blessing and a curse” for employees.

“Technology can be a considerable force for good with the potential to act as a catalyst for smarter, more efficient and more flexible working,” he said.

“Despite offering a wealth of opportunities to improve our working lives – simplifying and in some case eradicating many mundane or laborious tasks – these findings highlight that in some cases it can be both a blessing and a curse.”

Blake added that organisations must ensure they provide adequate training and support for employees when increasing the use of technology in the workplace.

“The drive to introduce new technology is inevitable as businesses search for more efficient ways of working, but these findings should act as a call to action to ensure it is adopted strategically, and deployed with appropriate levels of support, training and consideration to the mental wellbeing of users,” he said.

“With changing workforce demographics businesses face the challenge of balancing the needs of both younger and older employees to help protect and maintain the wellbeing and motivation of all.”

He added: “As part of this process, consultation with staff about the tools and technologies that they need to carry out their jobs more confidently and effectively may prove beneficial in helping smooth the transition to new improved ways of working.”

Willis Towers Watson surveyed 2,000 UK employees.