If your technology and employees are not well matched, you won’t reach the potential of those employees. In fact, technology that does not aid in automating workloads generates stress in its workers. Especially within a lean workforce.
Imagine your IT as salad. If you’re like me, you need salad dressing. You reach in the cupboard to grab your favorite duo. First the olive oil….then its mate, balsamic vinegar. But only white vinegar is left, which isn’t a good match. Similar to these mismatched ingredients, technology must have specific components to work effectively with employees. It has to meet specific needs of each workforce.
Wherever expectations are placed on people — including every workplace, big or small — stress is inevitable. We may not be able to avoid it altogether, but we can and should minimize it wherever possible — particularly through the use of the right technology solutions.
You evaluate your employees based on the quality of their performance. But are you giving them the tools they need to perform at their best? If not, their stress could threaten the well-being of your workforce and your company.
Well-matched IT can help you transform your workforce into a force of nature!
Damaging Impact of Stress
It sounds straight out of a Stephen King story. Stress — the unwanted guest who won’t leave your house. Once this subtle, silent monster moves in, it hides in a dark room quietly growing tentacles. Planning how it’s going to squeeze the bejeezus out of each and every person in the house.
All kidding aside, stress truly is best avoided in any workplace. It’s also been the subject of a growing body of studies, including those of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO reports that stress costs US companies up to $300 billion a year. According to their research, unhealthy workforces stand to lose more than just productivity. Their very survival may be at stake. That’s because the organization’s image stands to be damaged beyond repair, both internally (among workers) and externally (among the general population).
Pressure is the main cause of workplace stress. It runs rampant in medium and large sized companies, for various reasons. But those aren’t the only organizations where people work under pressure.
Consider a small company with a lean workforce, for example. Let’s say an employee needs a half day off for a dentist appointment. She knows her absence will create a backlog for the company, so she’s likely stressed-out even before leaving work.
Such was the case at Sun Bum, a small but rapidly expanding manufacturing company with a lean workforce.
How to Spot Stress
Two symptoms of stress in the workplace are low engagement and low productivity. More signs that your workforce is crying for help are:
- Increased absenteeism and staff turnover
- Impaired performance and productivity
- Unsafe working practice and accident rates
- Increased complaints from clients and customers
It’s worthwhile for organizations to find and implement ways to prevent and treat stress in their workforce. Otherwise, the cost of the outcome could be obscenely high.
Think about this. On any given day, if your entire staff is less than 100% productive, it could cost your company a fortune. Employee satisfaction could also be at risk. That would potentially cost your company in ways you sometimes can’t even measure.
The bottom line in all of this, though, is that pressure is the predominant cause of stress in the workplace. The best strategy, therefore, is to find ways to minimize pressure among your workforce.
Recognize Pain Points of Workplace Pressure
Professional Services company Towers Watson conducted a survey of companies in 12 countries, including the US and the UK. Of the 22,347 workers surveyed, one-third said they were bothered by excessive pressure at work. That’s one in three.
Absenteeism is one of many reactions to pressure. On the other side of the absenteeism coin is ‘presenteeism’. This means attending work when unwell and unproductive and is such a common condition that this word was coined.
Digging further, the study also found that staff shortages also contribute to workplace stress. Fifty percent of respondents reported this to be a cause of their stress. That means one in two employees are responsible for a volume of work that, in a perfect world, would require at least an additional worker to carry out.
Technology and Employees: The IT Solution Reducing Workplace Pressure
Remember Sun Bum, the small company mentioned above? They represent a perfect example of how technology and employees, when joining forces, can create a dynamic, efficient, and satisfying workplace. The outcome at Sun Bum is overall well-being.
Now a better workforce at Sun Bum shows in their increased efficiency, boosted productivity and happy team. Some of the technology that brought welcome change to Sun Bum’s workplace is:
- Microsoft Dynamics GP (used by Accounting)
- Salespad (used by Customer Service)
- SmartConnect (integration tool for Dynamics GP)
- Data Resolution hosts 100% of Sun Bum’s apps
Sun Bum employees say the best two advantages of working with Data Resolution are the “always uptime” and the total, “everywhere” accessibility.
Risk Management Solution to Stress
According to the WHO, companies should assess the possible risks at work that could cause harm (i.e. physical or psychological deterioration of health). Stress stemming from “the design and management of work and working conditions” is hazardous.
Companies can learn how to identify these types of hazards, and manage them. The next step is to control their effects as well as they control other hazards in the workplace.
Larger companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) in place to help employees with issues such as workplace stress. Smaller companies, though, can’t generally afford those kinds of tools.
But the kind of tools no company should avoid is technology.
Technology and employees go hand in hand. To be fully productive, workforces need the tools of technology. In other words, IT is a sure way to creating a better workforce for your organization!