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Rapid technological advancements are transforming working patterns and increasing stress and anxiety levels. Resilience training can help, explains Validium’s Mandy Rutter.
For many, the extension of the office into our homes and mobile devices has been a good thing, allowing us to work more flexibly, where and when we like. For others, it has led to the intensification of work, giving rise to unhealthy working patterns, email addiction and increased stress and anxiety levels.
We are in a state of dissonance over whether the benefits of technology in the workplace outweigh the negative side effects on employees’ mental health – and while we grapple with these issues, technological prevalence will increase. Digital technology is increasing in capacity and halving in price every two years (Moore, 1965), with wearable technology set to go mainstream this year.
In theory, the advantages for workplace efficiency are immense, allowing organisations to flex work patterns to better meet customer needs and reduce pressure on expensive office space and much-sought-after car parking facilities. However, the disadvantages associated with allowing, and in some cases legislating, that employees work more remotely and flexibly are not to be underestimated.
Far from being tempted to slack off, the desire of remote workers to show that they are still contributing, combined with the often invasive and addictive nature of email, means it is far too easy for employees to make themselves sick with stress and anxiety by using technology to lengthen and intensify their working day in unhealthy ways.
Professor Monideepa Tarafadar, a future of work researcher from Lancaster University Management School, warns that our lives have become so connected that debate about how best to separate work and life is now redundant. Instead, she argues that the priority is to find ways of