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Workplace Health and SafetyJuly 30, 2018
The modern workplace is changing: apps, online platforms, digital tools and smart devices have made work more portable and our professional lives more accessible that ever. It’s become all too easy for work to be a 24/7 pursuit if we choose it to be.
In theory these devices are intended to make work easier. But do they also make our professional lives more stressful?
Research revealed in a new report published by Reventure showed that 73% of Australian workers feel that technology makes them feel ‘always on’, meaning they can never truly shut off from work. Overall, 85% believe new and emerging technologies are affecting the way work is accomplished and defined.
The pressure to be ever-available and ultra-responsive could be having an adverse effect on the health and productivity of employees. What can business owners, managers and employers do to help reduce employee stress?
While it’s easy to preach work/life balance, employees tend to follow the example set by their bosses. If you’re regularly emailing after hours, making late night phone calls and eating lunch at your desk with no breaks — chances are your employees are feeling the pressure to do the same. Many employees look to their bosses for guidance on how to behave and approach their work. A real commitment to health and wellbeing in the workplace will have to come from the top. Keep your work to business hours, encourage (and take) breaks and make a real commitment to health and wellbeing in your own working life.
How often do we attend a meeting only to find colleagues still using their phones, laptops or tablets? Physically present, but mentally elsewhere? The pervasive nature of technology can paradoxically make it harder for people to focus, collaborate and fully engage with their co-workers. Walking Meetings have become a popular method to shake up the drain of the modern meeting. Instead of having your meeting in the same-old office space or meeting room, take the team for a walk around the block or go to a nearby park or cafe and chat as you go.
Walking meetings combine work-related discussions with fresh air, nature, light exercise and a much-needed break from technology. The change of environment can also spark creativity, facilitate more honest conversations and can even generate the important insights and perspectives that might not have been possible in the dreary confines of the office. Statistics have even shown that employees who participate in regular walking meetings report feeling more creative and engaged at work.
One of the benefits of the tech-revolution is that is allows people to work from almost anywhere. Introduce policies and procedures that allow people to work from home every once in a while or to change their standard working hours so they can better manage their out-of-work commitments such as kids, hobbies, personal goals, health and relationships. With more freedom to manage their work alongside the other commitments in their lives, employees can better manage their workload, personal lives and the stress of juggling both.