Technological climate of modern-day office work

Global Misperceptions

By: Zahra Ali

To date, workplaces are nowhere near the ubiquitous, natural, and seamless technological environment created by the visionaries. Increased concerns about reduced productivity, adverse health consequences, and rising costs that result from stress in the workplace are reflected manifold in the studies of occupational stress that have been reported in the psychological and medical literature. Employees evaluate their occupational environment in terms of perceived severity and amount of explicit job demands and pressures and the level of social support provided by supervisors, coworkers, and workplace’s policies and procedures.

In organizational research, social support is defined as the availability and quality of an employees’ relationship with supervisors, coworkers, family, friends, and the amount of positive consideration and task assistance received from them. Social support has a beneficial effect on workers performance and well-being both physical and psychological. Social support mitigates the influence of perceived work stressors, or reduces levels of psychological and physiological strain.

Furthermore, it is nearly impossible to reflect on occupational health and well-being without considering the implications of technology in the workplace. Before considering the computer boom’s impact on workplace health and wellness, it is extremely essential to be aware of the technological climate in which contemporary workplaces function. Modern-day workers have been likened to nomads who relentlessly carry their work between office, home, hotel, car, so on and so forth.

 Conventional electronic tools operate under ‘direct manipulation’ human-computer interaction metaphor, requiring users to explicitly initiate all tasks and monitor all events, at all times. 

The technological evolution of the office environment may have propagated many perks and benefits but is also has brought with it some concomitant negative outcomes. In many instances, technology adversely affects health of office workers’ both physical and psychological health, leading to a host of drawbacks including but not limited to Musculoskeletal Disorders.

The effects of Musculoskeletal Disorders are costly and long term. Musculoskeletal Disorders cause a number of debilitating conditions including pain, numbness, stiff joints, muscle loss, difficulty in moving, tingling, and sometimes paralysis. In a nutshell, technology related pains and syndromes can be serious and are often linked to office settings.

Many people are informally expected to check their professional voice-mails/ emails after working hours, thereby blurring the distinction between work and leisure time; this amalgamation of work and family roles is also often a cause of increased stress and anxiety which requires careful attention to prevent psychological stress among employees.

The writer is a regular contributor towards SDGs and at present an M.phil Scholar.

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