With an increase in remote working due to Covid-19, the term “technostress” has been re-introduced into our vocabularies.
In 1984, “technostress” was first mentioned and explained in Craig Brod’s book ‘Technostress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution’. Since then, the term has been widely used to explain the stress of using modern technologies to conduct tasks.
What Is Technostress?
Technostress is caused by an inability to adapt to using modern technologies to complete tasks in a healthy manner. For example, spending too much time on computers can cause technostress, and it may be hard to cut down, resulting in stress and irritability. Technostress can present itself in many forms, including:
- Increased anxiety & panic attacks
- Lack of concentration & poor job performance
- Insomnia & lack of motivation in the morning
- Easily losing temper due to high stress levels
- Nomophobia (the feeling of not wanting to be “switched off” from technology).
- Chronic fatigue & feeling burnt out.
Do I Have It?
Technostress can be caused by excessive use of technology, and it can branch out through a range of technostressors.
Examples of technostressors include techno-unreliability (not trusting technology) and techno-invasion (the feeling that technology is ‘taking over’). However, the most common technostressors (especially during the pandemic) are:
Techno-insecurity is as a result of being afraid of falling behind. This could be due to lack of technical knowledge and skills, or the fear of asking for help. To prevent techno-insecurity, make sure to take your time to learn about the technical skills that are needed for your role. You could also research into technology or the task at hand for extra information. Do not be afraid to ask for help or for training, it is likely that other employees will be feeling the same. If this is the case, bringing the issue to light may result in a group training session for techno-insecure employees, or a 1-1 session to bring you up to date if you feel behind.
Techno-complexity occurs due to a lack of training or technical support. Similar to techno-insecurity, this can result in the feeling of falling behind. To overcome techno-complexity, concentrate on one task at a time. It is easy to start drowning in work when you can’t work the systems. Technology is ever-changing and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest updates and platforms. Similar to techno-insecurity, don’t be afraid to ask for training. Also, signing up to online courses or watching videos on how to work the systems in your role could help.
Techno-addiction is the feeling of being a work-a-holic and being excessively devoted to spending time doing work. To overcome techno-addiction, cutting down on screentime is the best way to start. It is important to take regular breaks and disconnect when you are finished with your work day. Outside of office hours, it is important to sign out and step away from the work desk. Take time for yourself and focus on achieving a work-life balance. Instead, take walks with your family, start a new hobby or spend time with friends. This way, you are not solely focused on work and you can relax, the emails will always be there when you log back in.
With increased remote working, technostress is becoming very common. By implementing preventative measures, you will naturally become less technostressed so you can lead a healthier and more productive lifestyle.
Written By: Emma Mitchell