Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that we should be available 24/7. This is likely to become a greater concern as more employees are granted “flexible” working times.
There are obvious advantages for workplace technology: flex work arrangements such as telecommuting, flexible schedules, positive impact on productivity, retention of talented employees, and costs. However, the expectation of being available 24/7 is stressful.
Even if we are at home sick, on vacation with our families or bonding with our newborn baby, many people feel compelled to respond to work-related information in real-time.
We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.” – Matt Haig
Sometimes, we have a laptop all fired-up in one hand, we are conversing with someone with our smartphone on the other hand while checking emails, and another mobile device is on standby.
It is extremely difficult to enjoy stress-free moments outside of work with your family when an email alert on your smartphone can trigger a stress reaction.
Technology does not automatically make us stressed. Being connected to the internet and using email, text services, and social media should not drive us to work ourselves into an emotional wreck.
Rather, they should be tools to help us connect with people, to move projects forward, and to share important information with family and friends. It’s all about how we handle it, and luckily, there are lots of ways to deal with technology stress.
Recognize the signs of technology stress
The first step in dealing with your technology-related stress is realizing that your gadgets may be causing you anxiety, frustration, sadness and lost productivity.
If you feel alone and a bit aloof while communicating with people all day, this is a good sign, that technology is dominating your life. In addition to anxiety, people who are experiencing technostress reports being irritability, having headaches, and feeling mentally fatigued.
If you are unsure about technology stress in your life, then answer these questions:
How would you feel if you arrive at work, but realized you forgot your smartphone?
When you want to surf the web, but you can’t, do you feel anxious and out of place?
While reading this post, do you have several other “windows” open so that you can get other tasks completed?
People with high levels of technology stress feel unfocused and a bit distracted throughout the day if they are not online. There is also an increase in errors of judgment, poor job performance, and decrease job satisfaction.
Take a couple of days and keep a log of how much time you spend emailing, texting, checking social media sites, and surfing the web.
Also, do a good reality check about how you are spending your unplanned time surfing the web.
Should I really be doing this now with my time?”
If your answer is no, particularly if you feel anxious about unplugging from the web, then you might have a mild form on internet addiction.