With workplace digitalization on the rise, stress at work is increasing as well. While technology has streamlined several aspects of day-to-day work, the new normal of being constantly ‘on’ is changing the fabric of what is expected from employees.
Smart phones have led to the assumption that employees are constantly available; answering emails in the evenings and weekends has become the new norm. This perpetual stimulation and inability for employees to turn off and decompress is a troubling pattern and is not sustainable.
A recent study links constant work availability with heightened levels of stress, decreased mood and declining energy levels. We live in an age where nearly every work-related issue can be solved with the touch of a button, yet that same technology is pushing us over the edge. How do you maintain your efficacy in a digital world while acknowledging the importance of ‘turning off’ and de-stressing?
A career in SAP has many advantages. However, one disadvantage of a job in an IT-related field is the simple fact that ‘connectedness’ will be a guarantee. Whether you’re an SAP student aspiring for a career in SAP, or a seasoned SAP professional, you will need to learn how to manage work stress for a long and happy career.
Here are 4 tips for managing work stress in our digital era:
Smartphones have made on-the-go working possible. And while this is often incredibly convenient, it also means that employees feel pressured to always be on the clock. There are jobs that REQUIRE you to be ‘on’ all the time, and hopefully, those jobs are compensated accordingly. However, most careers allow for employees to disconnect and recharge during their off-hours.
Unfortunately, if those boundaries are not discussed at the beginning of a project or job, a line can be crossed. Employees want to showcase that they are efficient, proactive and care about their position, which often translates to answering emails at 9 pm on Sunday evenings.
We are all guilty of this, but if it turns into an expectation, it’s much harder to go back and remedy. Therefore, prioritize having an open and transparent discussion with your boss about what is expected once the clock hits 5 pm (or whichever time you are technically off). Establishing this right away will alleviate any future pressure or uncertainty about whether or not you can truly unwind during your off-hours.
Stressed employees are BAD for a company’s bottom line. Perpetual stress at work is directly linked to employee burnout. Employee burnout isn’t good for anyone, so make sure you’re advocating for yourself and the importance of your mental wellbeing.
Taking a break in the digital era often means spending time mindlessly scrolling through social media applications or refreshing email. If you do not have the self-control to manage your screen time, then completely removing yourself from your phone is the only solution. Take several small breaks throughout the day to recharge yourself and LEAVE your phone at your desk.
Go for a walk, grab a coffee, find a quiet corner and meditate- do whatever you need to do to reboot your brain and interrupt the daily digital grind.
We are all more successful when we step back, take a breath and walk back into a situation or a task refreshed and fully present. While this may seem counter-intuitive for productivity, it is essential for a sustainable and healthy career.
I’m assuming this won’t be a surprise to anyone: we’re happier and more productive when we exercise. Physical activity should be tailored to each individual. Too often we are discouraged from exercise because we think we have to lift weights or run 4 miles to 'truly' exercise. The most important pillars of exercise are getting started and finding something that works for you.
If you dread going to the gym or doing a certain exercise, then keep adjusting until you find something that works for you. I used to run 3 miles a day because I felt like that’s what I was ‘supposed’ to do to be healthy. I dreaded running and always put it off, which often led to me skipping a workout entirely. Over the years, I’ve found that getting up every hour to walk is extremely beneficial, and swimming laps after work is what keeps me feeling healthy and motivated. But that’s just me, you have to find what works for you.
We often need our phone while we exercise, so if you feel you need time to truly disconnect without receiving work notifications, try turning your phone on ‘do not disturb’ or airplane mode. Doing squats while answering work emails may not be the best way to alleviate high levels of stress from work.
Meditating in the digital era simply means finding a mental space and time where you can disconnect and shut off. Ironically enough, there are several great phone apps that can guide you through meditation, such as Headspace.
These apps guide you through a timed meditation allowing you to take your mind off of the stresses of work and day-to-day life. Meditation is hard and often takes significant practice and dedication, which is why apps (such as Headspace) are such a great option. I personally can’t calm my brain unless I’m guided through it, but each person needs to find what works for them.
Meditating could be taking a nature walk, practicing breathing patterns, sitting quietly and reading a book, essentially anything that allows you to unwind and calm down. Your mental health is worth dedicating time and energy to.
It is imperative that we keep our wellbeing at the forefront of importance. You may be the greatest employee or boss in the history of the planet, but if you experience burnout, your expertise and skills will be wasted.
A career in SAP is worthwhile and highly compensated, but nothing is more important than your mental health and wellbeing. In today’s digital era, we all need to find ways to decompress and de-stress in order to find success and happiness in the workplace.