What is Techno-stress? How can Occupational Health assist?

In the last few years, we entered a new era of working with technology. Since the Covid-19 pandemic working from home or ‘WFH’ is more relevant than ever. Before 2020, working from home was somewhat looked down on, and it was very rare to come across WFH roles.

This has given way to the rise of technology applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams reaching new levels of popularity amongst the general population. Inevitably this has had a knock on effect working patterns and working culture; employees are more accessible than ever.

*A study by Gartner in 2020 found that 48% of employees worldwide were using their personal devices for work purposes, up from 44% in 2018.

*Another study by TechRadar, found that around three-quarters (73%) confirmed that they use smartphones for work matters, with the most common reason being email and the least common being Wi-Fi hot spotting. Of those who use smartphones for work, a shocking 82% do so with their own personal smartphone, not a work-issued device. 

This has led to an increase in the number of people working overtime, as the lines between work and personal life can become blurred when working from home. The impact of work technology on well-being and mental health can be both positive and negative. On the positive side, technology can increase efficiency, reduce workload, and provide more flexibility in terms of work location and hours, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and work-life balance.

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However, there are also negative impacts of work technology on mental health and well-being. For instance, the constant connectivity and the pressure to respond to work-related messages or emails outside of work hours can lead to burnout and increased stress levels. Additionally, excessive screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, and other physical health issues. The term ‘Technostress’ has been coined for this exact issue.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, research has shown that 85% of UK employees believe that their workplace should play a role in their mental health and well-being. There are several ways in which employers can engage in employee wellbeing and healthcare. The two pathways for mental health and wellbeing treatment that The Doctors Clinic Group offers are Occupational Health and Private corporate GP appointments.

Our Occupational Health team can assist with guiding employers on how to create a working environment geared towards wellbeing and positive mental health by providing comprehensive and tailored strategies. This includes resources and education as well as training e.g. Mental Health First Aid training. Our corporate GP appointments can also give staff access to quick same-day GP appointments whether it’s on the weekend, via video or face-to-face.

The 360 combined healthcare strategy that we employ, can drastically cut down on patient waiting times and absenteeism but also, can help you foster a positive and healthy environment for your staff and team members. Overall, it’s important to balance the benefits and drawbacks of technology in the workplace and take steps to mitigate the negative effects, such as setting clear boundaries between work and personal time, encouraging face-to-face interactions, and promoting physical activity and other stress-reducing activities. Our Occupational Health team can also offer Work From Home Toolkits for management to be well-equipped with the challenges that WFH can bring.

Speak to our sales team for more information on our corporate healthcare offerings.

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