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The Pros And Cons Of Technology At Work For Employee Wellbeing

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Technology is becoming part and parcel of every workplace, be it healthcare, office work, or construction. In this article, we explore whether this is a good or bad thing for employee wellbeing.

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Technology is an ever-growing phenomenon that is infiltrating every aspect of our lives. The quicker it develops, the quicker it is becoming part of our world, including at work. However, for those employees who may be set in their ways and have been doing things a certain way for so long, this may cause an element of disruption.

An employee who is unhappy with how their workplace is treating them may leave the workplace. This could leave employers with a settlement agreement on their hands, or worse.

Because of this, it’s important that employers understand how the implementation of new technologies may be impacting their workforce. In this article, we’ll be exploring what technologies may be being implemented at work, and the pros and cons of these for employee wellbeing. Take a look…

The Pros of Technology at Work for Employee Wellbeing

Starting with the pros of technology being implemented at work, some examples include:

Making the Work Environment More Health Conscious

Whether you work in construction or in an office, your health is of paramount importance. Even office workers may find their bodies are at risk of certain ailments, including Repetitive Strain Syndrome (RSS) or back issues.

New technologies within workplaces are helping to combat these health issues. Some examples of them, as well as their uses for employee health, include:

  • Ergonomic mouse: these are used to align the body, especially the wrist and hand, when sitting at a computer for long periods of time. They can help to reduce the chances of RSS.
  • Smart lighting: lighting is important for both eye strain and productivity levels. The right lighting can reduce glare on the screen and improve employee wellbeing.
  • Temperature control: whether it’s too hot or too cold, this can have an impact an employee’s productivity and wellbeing. Research shows that just two hours in an enclosed meeting room can impact employee decision-making due to increased carbon dioxide levels. Using smart temperature controls can eliminate this risk.
  • Security: increasing the use of security technology, like visitor management systems and heat sensors, in the workplace can protect employees from potentially dangerous threats.

Makes Processes Quicker and More Efficient

New technologies are no doubt improving efficiency in the workplace. It’s making peoples’ jobs easier to carry out and collaborate on, leaving more time for building clientele and thinking about bigger picture stuff.

Collaborating and Communicating Whilst Working from Home

Covid-19 completely altered the way many people work. Now, working from home and hybrid working are how we conduct ourselves, and this is only made possible through technology.

Being able to easily contact your colleagues whilst working from anywhere is helping to keep people sane whilst working from their home offices and kitchens.

Improving Accessibility

The workplace is now more accessible than ever before, which is allowing those who have disabilities and special needs to take part in work they would not have been able to 20 years ago. Now, it is possible for physically disabled people to enter workplaces with relative ease, and work at a desk and on computers in a way that hasn’t always been possible.

What’s more, websites are now making accessibility a priority by implementing virtual assistants and other tools. Of course, there is still a long way to go before this is perfect, but digital solutions for this are improving in leaps and bounds.

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The Cons of Technology at Work for Employee Wellbeing

There are clearly plenty of ways in which technology is improving employee wellbeing, but let’s head to the flip side. Now, we’re going to explore some of the negative aspects of it all. Some examples include:

Feeling Watched

We’ve explored how implementing security cameras and mobile apps for employees is good for their safety, but it may have an adverse impact on their engagement. Cameras and technological applications may cause employees to feel as though they’re being watched all the time. This can have an impact on trust levels within the office, and can make employees feel less engaged and burnt out over time.

Tricky to Adapt to

Every one of us gets into habits at work, so when a new technology is implemented, this can disrupt the usual way of doing things. For people who aren’t used to learning new things quickly, valuable time will be taken out of the person’s day to learn it – time which would usually go towards doing their job.

Of course, this time is just a small investment to no doubt improve efficiency in future. However, at first, it may lead to employees feeling left behind and unhappy, and can cause stress levels to rise.

May Leave Certain Age Groups Behind

Along the same vein, for those who have not grown up using certain technologies day in and day out, it can be a huge adjustment. Especially for those who may be retiring in the next few years, they may feel as though it is pointless getting to grips with a new way of working before they leave.

This could potentially lead to people leaving their jobs before they’re scheduled to. It could even have the potential for lawsuits regarding ageism and discrimination.

Changes in Expectations

As the world has transitioned to technological advancements in the workplace, things are being achieved quicker than ever before. Reliance on paper communication, like letters, has now switched to email and instant messaging tools. Not to mention, computers and online filing systems are allowing workers to execute and collaborate on their tasks quicker than ever before.

As time goes on, this is leading to expectations on workers to be higher too. Work that would have previously taken all day, or even weeks, to achieve can now be completed in hours. So, managerial expectations are constantly increasing, leaving many employees feeling over worked and burnt out.

Is Technology Good or Bad for Employee Wellbeing?

As you can see, there are a number of good things that have come from technology being implemented into the workplace. That said, with change happening so quickly, there will no doubt be people feeling under pressure, and as though they are being left behind.

It is down to employers to support their employees with training when any new technology is implemented at work. It is also important that employees feel heard in their struggles, so adopting a culture of support and collaboration is paramount.

What do you think of the advent of technology in the workplace? Is it helping or hindering when it comes to employee wellbeing?

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained employment law professional. Be sure to consult an employment law professional if you’re seeking advice about employee wellbeing. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

Written by Marcus Richards

Photo by m. on Unsplash

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