Technologies at work : a blessing for your employees ?
Many people have forgotten that once upon a time, secretaries had to type documents on a typing machine and handle paper letters. None of your employees today would be able to manage without their wifi, their work computer, their mailbox or their smartphone. The challenge of a secure intranet network impossible to hack from the outside and computer tools as powerful as ergonomic has become essential for companies of all sizes and all sectors.
Teleworking, good or bad ?
Some people will remember the old ADSL ports of the 90s, which barely allowed you to download an image from a website and cut the internet connection at the slightest phone call on the same line. Many screamed their frustration waiting on the loading screen of Windows 95 and how fare were we from imagining the revolution that Wifi would be.
Since its appearance in the 2000s, wifi has made it possible to connect to the internet simply, cheaply and quickly from the comfort of one's home. Naturally, companies have followed this tendency by making teleworking possibilities more widespread for their employees. Teleworking offers many advantages: the ability to spend time at home and work from the comfort of your own office, to avoid traffic jams and early morning commutes, to avoid having to comb through your tangled hair in the morning and, most importantly, to concentrate without the hustle and bustle of an open space. Many people bless this new working arrangement. But what are the disadvantages?
Work-family conflict is a very famous concept in work psychology which states that sometimes, work tasks tend to enter the private sace, making this boundary between work and family permeable to the detriment of the family space. Individuals who experience this conflict are often less satisfied with their work, less committed to their work tasks and have a higher tendency to experience depression (Allen, Herst, Bruck, & Sutton; 2000). These employees are more likely to leave their jobs early (Netemeyer, Boles & McMurrian, 1996).
A study by Duxbury and colleagues (1992) shows that the presence of a computer with a work network connection significantly increases the tendency of employees to experience conflict between their work and family spheres. A study by Boswell & Olson-Buchanan (2007) also shows that people who log on from home outside working hours are more at risk for problems of depression and will leave their jobs more quickly.
Advice to employers for a serene use of technologies
While it is difficult to deny the benefits that information and communication technologies have brought to employers and employees, caution should be exercised in their implementation. This is why we suggest that you review some of the advice provided by occupational psychology in order to help you set up a connection policy that is as serene as it is healthy for your employees:
- Set up clear rules for connection and teleworking (schedules, hours to be worked, etc.);
- Train managers to set up these rules;
- Avoid promoting a corporate culture that values connections outside working hours;
- Valuing the positive impact of "white hours" (no screen) for your employees and encouraging or even rewarding screen-free breaks;
- Establish an ergonomic workspace with blue filter screens, including the assistance of an ergonomic prevention advisor if necessary.