Sinister stressors! Are your business systems messing with staff well being?

When we work with internal business clients, we focus on how systems, mainly software systems, are creating blockages in work processes.

I have worked previously in change management and employee culture and I was constantly frustrated by IT systems that were simply hard to use. They create massive problems!

Of course there are things that are blatantly wrong with the interfaces that IT designs and we have all seen those. IT defends itself by blaming the users. I hear things like, “They just don’t get it! They learn! They are stupid!”

This is old fashioned thinking, as I believe that knowledge workers, in fact any human beings, are generally driven to perform and to satisfy their bosses. Given a good recruitment process and the right knowledge, skills and abilities then they should be able to use the system given to them – with NO training.

Everyone knows about this IT pigheadedness but the issue is more sinister than that.

Daily hassles is an interesting area of psychological inquiry. It suggests that, when many things are constantly creating minor stresses in our lives over days, months, and years, it all adds together and can turn into a disorder like chronic stress, anxiety or even depression. Kanner (1981) says, “Its the daily hassles, rather than major life events, that are more stressful.”

Try eye tracking in your call centres

If someone is using a frustrating software system over an over again then they are at risk. This is exacerbated when the software system governs the interactions they are having with customers. And when ‘the system’ irritates customers and they blame it on the staff we have further unnecessary stress.

We did a project in Australia with call centre staff and this stress meant that shift times were very short (4 hours) and turnover was out of control! It was not a nice place to work and IT wouldn’t listen. Until we did eye tracking and demonstrated with time in motion videos why the staff hated the system. They listened and are now changing the system.

Our recent case study on this from our partner Objective Digital’s white papers page.

Can this thinking help your staff?

Please feel free to get in touch jbreeze@objectiveasia.com

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