Mindfulness: the shield against digital workplace stress

Credit: Unsplash+

In today’s era, where digital technology pervades every aspect of our work lives, a new study shines a light on how mindfulness and digital confidence can safeguard employees against the adverse effects of the digital workplace.

Conducted by researchers from the University of Nottingham’s Schools of Psychology and Medicine, the study delves into the experiences of 142 employees, offering insights into combating stress, anxiety, and overload in the digital era.

The findings, published in the journal PLOS ONE, underscore the importance of adopting a mindful approach to digital work environments.

Elizabeth Marsh, a Ph.D. student at the School of Psychology, spearheaded this mixed methods study with the aim of exploring the impact of digital technology on people’s health and identifying strategies to mitigate negative outcomes.

The digital workplace, characterized by constant connectivity through emails, instant messaging, and mobile devices, often breeds stress, anxiety, fear of missing out, and even addiction.

Marsh notes, “As work is increasingly mediated by digital technology, we wanted to find out the impact this is having on people’s health and whether there are ways to mitigate this.”

The research highlights two key protective factors: digital confidence and mindfulness. Digitally confident employees, those who navigate digital tools and platforms with ease, reportedly experience less anxiety related to the digital aspects of their work.

Mindfulness, the practice of staying present and engaged in the moment without judgment, emerged as a powerful buffer against the full spectrum of digital workplace stressors.

Dr. Alexa Spence, Associate Professor of Psychology, points out the double-edged sword of digital workplace technologies.

While they facilitate communication and productivity, they also contribute to stress and burnout, emphasizing the need for adaptive strategies in the face of an ever-evolving digital landscape.

The concept of mindfulness in this context refers to an awareness of the present moment, allowing employees to engage with digital tools in a way that minimizes stress and enhances well-being.

The study’s findings suggest that mindfulness can reduce the likelihood of falling prey to the “dark side” of the digital workplace, including overload and the compulsive need to be constantly connected.

Professor Elvira Perez Vallejos, a specialist in Digital Technology for Mental Health, stresses the importance of organizations recognizing and managing digital hazards just as they would other workplace risks.

Encouraging mindfulness and digital literacy among employees not only enhances their well-being but also promotes a healthier, more productive work environment.

This study is a call to action for both individuals and organizations to cultivate mindfulness and digital confidence.

By doing so, we can transform our digital workplaces from sources of stress and anxiety into spaces of productivity and well-being, ensuring that technology serves to support rather than undermine our mental health.

The research findings can be found in PLOS ONE.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.