Working from home is something we have all settled into and although it has made many workers more productive, it has decreased a sense of community. Now more than ever, we are relying on technology to stay productive and connected, but when technology fails, workers feel like they have nowhere to turn which increases stress. Research has showed that it takes three times longer to relax and recover from stress peaks due to device downtime versus comparable pressure-packed situations.
Facing the Inevitable
COVID-19 has forced 88% of global organizations to require or encourage employees to work from home; meaning an increased reliance in mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets in order to stay productive.
When devices experience downtime, workers can’t work. That not only impacts the bottom line, but the mental health of employees too. Consider the following from right before the pandemic struck (December 2019):
- 33% of remote workers say experiencing tech issues results in extreme stress levels
- 47% have spent their own money to fix devices as their employer was unwilling or unable to resolve it themselves
- 66% suffer from heightened anxiety and stress when mobile device issues directly prevent them from doing their jobs
But since the start of the pandemic, the average remote worker has experienced 230 tech problems (that’s four tech headaches per week) while working away from the office.
That’s staggering. And in December 2019 (again, before the pandemic) 37% of remote workers have taken at least one day off due to the stress of not being able to do their job because of mobility issues and 8% took at least 10 days off because of it. While numbers for 2020 and 2021 aren’t yet available, it’s safe to say they may have increased.
Stop Tirelessly Troubleshooting
Technology is supposed to make things easier, faster and better…only when it works.
Although it’s understood that things break down, it always seems to happen at the worst possible time. Your car stalls out on the way to an important business meeting or the heating element in your oven dies right before dinner party guests arrive.
Those are issues of frustration and inconvenience, but when a timely solution isn’t available – or when there isn’t anyone around to assist – is when feelings of helplessness occur.
To briefly summarize:
- Tech issues and downtime leads to high levels of stress and anxiety…
- …but an overwhelming majority of workers do not report these issues…
- …which means the IT department can’t fix them in a timely manner…
- …and worker stress and anxiety continue due to tech issues and downtime.
It’s a vicious circle. So how can it be broken?
Since the onset of the pandemic and the shift to remote work, there has been a 500% increase in manager one-on-one meetings. As an aside, for 59% of managers, the loneliness of remote workers is a concern.
When managers check-in with remote workers, simply asking about their devices is a smart, simple way to know how they’re performing.
IT departments, on the other hand, can’t check-in with remote or mobile workers. But what they can do is check in on the devices which, when down, cause great anxiety and stress.
The most common mobile device issues impacting frontline workers are poor network connectivity (45%), battery failure (41%) and problems with apps (40%) which are required to do the job.
There are tools which allow IT administrators to monitor what’s happening with any device – be it a smartphone, tablet or rugged device – and take proactive measures to resolve any issues before they negatively impact the end user.
In this day and age when maintaining a healthy mental mindset is becoming a higher priority, it is important to keep controllable stresses to a minimum. This includes device issues that can be easily controlled with the right technology allowing for a healthy mindset and more hours of productivity at work.
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