Technology Stress (Technostress)
Over the years I have seen a lot of people stressed by technology. I'm not a spring chicken so I have observed technological stress all my life and also help people to find ways to reduce their technostress through my therapy business, Awaken the Change.
So what is technology stress?
According to Tacy (2016)
'Technology stress, also called technostress, is an emergent psychological disorder experienced by individuals who use technology.'
Too much stress related to the demands of technology can result in fear, phobias, confusion and anxiety.
My reflections on technology
I first experienced technostress in my nursing career. I started nursing in the late sixties. At that time we did everything manually. We checked temperatures with a glass and mercury thermometer. We checked a patient's pulse by holding their wrist and we did a lot of continual observation. Then electronic monitoring machines were developed and things started to change. Firstly we needed training to use the machines and of course there was the cost of buying them so wards never seemed to have enough. I remember district nurses being given hand held devices to record their patient visits and later patient devices for patients to record their experiences in hospital. Many other technological changes came in during my nursing career. The biggest changes I observed was with all patient notes and tests including x-rays becoming digitalised and surgery being performed with digital cameras. Every aspect of healthcare has been influenced by technology. These technological changes to healthcare have been amazing and saved lives.
But the amount of stress put on healthcare staff to learn the new technology I believe was never realised. In hospitals some nurses were frightened of the new gadgets. They feared making mistakes and that compounded their anxiety of technology and so occasionally mistakes did happen. Years ago some nurses refused to take on board the new technology as they believed that monitoring machines could never replace a nurse monitoring a patient. Every healthcare job either changed or disappeared with new technology. Additional training skills were demanded. And today scams and hackers add that added fear and stress in our work and personal lives.
No one likes change but technological change happened in healthcare.
I have seen how education technology has revolutionised the way education is delivered. No more chalk boards. No more writing everything down. Online learning or blended learning is popular now. Through search engines there is the world of information at your fingertips in a few seconds.
Yet today we hear of children more stressed than ever with information overload, especially through social media. Teachers also often feel stressed with additional work and the demands of learning and using new technology.
Businesses have also prospered with technology as factories became automated and many aspects of human error are removed. Everything can be measured now. I have seen meetings go online. We can network with people around the world. So there is no need to struggle to travel to a meeting or waste time travelling. Another bonus is that the meeting usually starts on time now! Many workers can even work from home as they have computers and fast internet connections. In addition, things are categorised and stored on computer or the cloud now. No need for paper copies. No need for time consuming logging and manual storage. Businesses are saving money on going paperless. Technology has certainly been amazing in many ways for businesses.
However the workforce is also under stress with technology. People use their phones to check emails while travelling to and from work. It's common to see people doing business on their laptops and tablets while travelling on the train. People check work emails when they are on holiday or even deal with problems when they are supposed to be on holiday. In reality the working day has got longer not shorter. People have techno-overload and techno-addiction. And that means too many demands on them and their time.
I welcome change yet we do need to consider how technological changes have had an impact on our lives.
So I have been thinking, as technology continues to improve so we are unlikely ever to give it up. But what are the consequences of too much technology on our minds and bodies?
In my opinion, people need to de-stress and get balance in their lives. Embrace the technological era and all the wonderful things that technology has helped the human race to achieve but don't forget those human needs.
We need to rest, so don't use your phone or tablet late at night when you should be sleeping, as this can have a detrimental effect on sleep.
We need companionship and connections with other humans so remember to see and speak to your loved ones. Learn to build rapport with others. Give love and accept it.
We need exercise and getting outside in the fresh air so do go for a walk rather than use a treadmill inside. Look after your body.
We need someone to be there when we are lonely or struggling with health or other problems so physical presence is good. So do allocate some time to meet up with friends and family.
We need a sense of achievement so stop and reflect on how much you have achieved. Maybe you can use a Todo list to show how many things you have achieved in a day at work.
We need change but we need to believe that change can bring good things. Reflect on your life as I have done today and realise that life is precious, but also it will change.
So if you are feeling stressed or anxious you know things need to change. Just like technology has changed everything over the years you can change any negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours by accepting that change must happen.
And now my business is changing by using more technology online. So if you need help, contact me.
Tacy, J. (July, 2016). Technostress: A Concept Analysis. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 20 (2), Available at http://www.himss.org/ojni