Technology: Cause or Solution to Employee Burnout

I wrote a post recently about technology and burnout. I believe burnout is a huge issue for individuals and organizations. It’s an issue we need to be cognizant of in our roles as human resources and business leaders. In today’s workplaces, we have an opportunity to use technology tools to help us reduce the effects of employee burnout.

technology, burnout, employee burnout, human resources

But not everyone feels the same way. I saw a comment after the post that said, “I love technology but often times it’s contributing to the problem it’s trying to solve.” Let me say, I don’t disagree with the comment. I’m not writing today to say the comment is wrong or inappropriate. I ran across this article recently in Training Magazine titled “Avoid Technology as a Tool for Rudeness” that focused on the need to manage technology and not let it overtake our lives.

Which is why I’m following up today to say that technology shouldn’t be labeled as the sole cause of employee burnout. In fact, in some cases, technology isn’t a contributor at all. Yes, technology is a big part of our personal and professional lives. We need to understand technology so we use it effectively. We need to manage technology so it doesn’t manage us.

Organizations that rely on technology to accomplish their goals and ask employees to use technology in their work, should help employees understand effective ways to use their technology. While many devices and applications are incredibly intuitive, organizations should make sure employees know the tips and tricks to use the program effectively.

I’m reminded of the notion of how many keystrokes it takes to do something in a word processing application. For example, I might do something that takes 6 keystrokes. And it works just fine. But someone shows me a way to do the exact same thing in 3 keystrokes. That makes my work easier. And helps to make me more productive.

The challenge with saying that technology contributes to employee burnout is that implies the answer is to rid ourselves of technology. Yes, it’s true that managing the amount of time we spend on our devices is valuable. At my house, we don’t check our devices during dinner. But the benefits of technology warrant me learning how to use and manage it so it doesn’t become a contributor to stress.

Individuals should be free to embrace technology tools to make their life and work easier. Organizations and individuals need to learn how to properly use technology. Organizations need to place realistic expectations on employees when it comes to response times. And they need to effectively communicate those expectations throughout the workforce.

If we’re going to reduce employee burnout, it’s important to understand all of the causes. And take a holistic approach to creating processes, systems, and programs that will address the issue at every level.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking the KronosWorks 2016 in Orlando, FL

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November 28, 2016 at 07:58PM