New reports show that employers who urge their employees to “unplug” from work may experience long lasting benefits.
At one time, taking work home was not as common as it is today. With portable devices and modern day technology, employees are tethered to work 24/7. This can lead to employee burnout, loss of productivity, and may drain company finances.
Employers can support their staffs and avoid these consequences by encouraging their employees to unplug from technology and step away from work.
“Employers Step In To Prevent Worker Burnout”
In December 2013, an Associated Press article shed light on the growing concern of employee burnout. The root of the problem is grounded in technology. With devices connecting people to their places of employment, the work day is losing its 9-5 structure. But elongating work hours is not proving to boost profits. In fact, new research shows that a loss of productivity, due to information overload, may be costing employers trillions of dollars each year.
The Cost of Information Overload
In 2010, “Information overload cost American businesses just under $1 trillion in employee time lost to needless emails and other distractions,” says Jonathan Spira (the chief analyst a New York research firm, Basex) in the AP article.
Too much information not only wastes time, it drains employees of the energy they could dedicate to constructive tasks. With the presence of technology, employees have more data to process than ever before. If employers don’t offer guidelines as to how employees can work effectively, not incessantly, then members of their workforces may struggle with productivity and burnout.
Physical Consequences of Employee Burnout
Nothing good comes from burnout. In fact, the outcomes can be dire. Danica Kirka, author of the AP article, tells stories of employees, ranging from interns to CEO’s, who had to take time away from business to check into hospitals for stress, exhaustion, and in one case, a seizure.
Being proactive in helping employees to know when they should stop working is the best way to encourage employees to maintain high qualities of life.
Companies that Protect Employees from Burnout
In the future, a growing number of companies will probably try to protect employees from burnout. For now, two institutions, one corporation and a GE backed start-up, are blazing the trail.
- “Volkswagen turns off some employees’ email 30 minutes after their shifts end,” says Kirka.
- And the start-up in which GE has $30 million invested, Quirky, established downtown from the gecko. Once a quarter they have “blackout” dates when the office shuts down for one week.
As of now, it is not common practice for businesses to protect their employees from information overload. But when news breaks about the benefits that come from employers urging their employees to unplug, they might.
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