A combination of occupational stress and technological advancements is significantly impacting the workplace. Working parents are trying to juggle family and career and high unemployment has forced many families to rely on one income. Some students are dealing with technological fatigue even before they enter the workforce. A 2012 “Business Week” article reports that excessive use of the Internet can hamper emotional development and cause students to feel disconnected and anxious.
Technological advancements can create fear in employees. Automation of work processes often results in the elimination of jobs, and remaining employees worry about maintaining their competitive edge. Smaller staffs often mean added responsibilities and the use of part-time workers, along with pay cuts and freezes, compounds the feelings of insecurity.
Wireless laptops and handheld devices, though designed to improve workplace efficiency, often have employees “plugged in” 24/7. There's more pressure to respond to voice mail and email, and be actively involved in social media and professional networks such as "LinkedIn." Telecommuting has become commonplace, but a June 2012 study by Mary C. Noonan and Jennifer L. Gass in the "Monthly Labor Review" found that it has resulted in extra work hours and added demands from employers.
Technology malfunctions create added stress as employees are forced to slow down or even lose data. “Inc.” magazine reports that small businesses often do a poor job of providing the resources necessary to adequately maintain office computer systems with the latest firewalls, security software and data recovery systems. Employees should not be expected to deal with computer meltdown issues themselves and require adequate information technology support.
Information Technology Professionals
“Business News Daily” reports that information technology professionals experience the most stress from their occupations; nearly 40 percent reported working at least eight hours or more of overtime a week. Excessive workplace demands have caused loss of sleep, missed family time and health-related issues. Businesses can avoid such problems by equipping employees with the budget, staffing and resources they need to be effective. Developing some creative perks to offset the issues created by new technology might also reduce stress.
Caroline Banton has more than 14 years of experience in the communications and publishing fields, working in global development and finance. Her articles have covered business, economics and recruitment, among other topics. Banton holds an M.B.A. in marketing management.