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Enterprise technology can be a double edged sword for your organizations’ success. The benefits of collaboration and communication tools are well-documented and should, generally, boost productivity. However, one problem the industry speaks about less is the possible risk of stress that such technologies can produce. When your coworkers are constantly connected through your organization’s IT solutions, they’re likely to lose out on ‘down-time’ and even risk burning out. 

A responsible organization should have a range of checks and balances to ensure employees do not get overwhelmed by workplace pressure. Nonetheless, it can happen in even the best companies that technology does, unfortunately, play a role in increasing stress and damaging your workers’ work/life balance. Technology means colleagues are susceptible to email overload, and 24/7 availability means that more conscientious workers can end up doing more than they really should.

However, in today’s hyper-connected market, it is invaluable for employees to be able to check company portals whenever they need. So, how can businesses strike the right work/life balance?

Disconnectivity Anxiety

Numerous studies have shown that the ubiquity of smartphones and other devices in our everyday lives has been proven to increase stress. One of the major causes of this stress is so called ‘Disconnectivity Anxiety’, referring to the feeling that you are missing out on important information. While being able to connect with friends, family and colleagues at any time means we’re able to access information and support instantly, it also means we’re unable to switch off. The fear that we’re missing out on new information - whether that be a new photo on Facebook, an urgent message from our loved ones or a vital out-of-hours work email means we’re simply unable to disconnect.

And this inability to disconnect has a damaging effect on our work/life balance. We find it increasingly hard to leave work at work. Even if it’s just a case of looking through our emails out of hours, or signing into the CRM or Salesforce to see what’s new, this takes away a few minutes from our personal lives. Add this up over the course of an evening, a weekend or our free time during a month and this can have serious consequences for our personal lives.

Mental health research has shown that working ever more hours can increase depression, push our anxiety levels through the roof and makes almost 60% of individuals feel more irritable. Not only is this negative for workers, it’s also damaging for businesses too. Stressed workers are less productive, less engaged, take more time off for health reasons and are more likely to leave the company. So what can be done?

Human-centered technology

While it isn’t realistic to expect employees to just ‘turn off’ as soon as they leave the office, it is perfectly reasonable to give them greater control over how they connect with your enterprise IT outside of office hours. At present, most employees need to open various apps, tools and software to keep up to date with what’s going on when away from their desks. Sometimes it’s essential to stay connected, but the way this is currently managed is incredibly time consuming.

Imagine a doctor receives an urgent email one evening telling her that there is a problem with a client’s case. The doctor first needs to open up the company CRM and hunt down that folder in particular. She would then need to open up the Yammer app on her phone, login and follow the discussion to find out the latest developments before returning to her email to contact the client. And all this while trying to put the kids to bed.

Enter the single screen experience

Collage offers the antidote to the ineffective approach described above. Collage brings all of an individual employee's communications into one, easy to use interface. By drawing data from Yammer, email, Salesforce, Office 365 and other services into one screen and presenting it in a contextually driven way, employees can keep up to date on developments quickly and easily.

Rather than having to open up numerous different apps to find out what’s going on in their team, Collage users can quickly scan the app’s home screen. If anything is pressing they can quickly get to the app in context, but if no trends affect them they avoid Disconnectivity Anxiety knowing they’re not missing out on any crucial developments.

Tech that works for you

Technology should work for users, not the other way around. While it’s not realistic to expect employees to disconnect as soon as they leave the office, Collage gives them instant access to information and lets them know what’s most important in a quick and easy way. There are many ways of reducing work related stress, but giving your employees the technology to better control their work/life balance is a great place to start. 

David Lavenda
Chief Product Officer