Serotonin through software: Can tech somehow lower workplace stress?

Workplace Stress

The workplace is the greatest source of stress in many Americans’ lives, according to the American Institute of Stress — and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon. 

The average full-time American worker clocks 47 hours per week, about an hour and a half longer than a decade earlier, according to Gallup. Almost 40 percent of workers regularly spend 50+ hours at work each week. And let’s be clear: This isn’t time spent gossiping around the water-cooler. In the on-demand workplace (ODW), it’s assumed that employees will be constantly available. Multitasking is the norm. Workers are expected to answer incoming emails and Slack messages immediately while also (somehow) spearheading strategic initiatives and making progress on longer-term projects. 

Given these circumstances, it’s no surprise that in 2019 the World Health Organization added employee burnout as an official occupational phenomenon in The International Classification of Diseases, a handbook that helps medical professionals diagnose diseases. WHO classifies burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” and says it can result in exhaustion, negativity, cynicism, and “reduced professional efficacy.” 

This isn’t just a problem for workers — the American Psychiatric Association estimates health costs associated with workplace stress and burnout total $190 billion annually, while the World Economic Forum posits that, taking into account related costs resulting from increased employee turnover and lost productivity, burnout costs the global economy a whopping $322 billion each year, Forbes reports

For HR professionals, the ODW can be particularly taxing. Even in a pre-Internet world, human resources has always been a stressful job — it requires interfacing with various stakeholders across the organization, managing delicate communications, meeting tight deadlines, and wearing multiple hats at any given time. But as the pace of daily work has intensified, these once tough-but-surmountable challenges have morphed into something far more insidious. 

One could argue we need a full-scale cultural reckoning to fully address the problem of burnout in today’s workplaces. But while we all wait for that, technology may be able to help bring a little more bliss to the office.

Spoke’s modern ticketing system was built specifically to ease stress in the on-demand workplace.

askSpoke helps HR professionals by automatically answering common and repetitive questions like “What’s the Wi-Fi password?” or “Do we have President’s Day off?” so that they can focus on bigger, more substantive tasks instead.

In a 2017 Kronos survey, nearly 20 percent of human resources professionals said their current HR technology is outdated and “too manual,” and detracts from their ability “to act strategically to fix big problems.” askSpoke’s machine learning and AI algorithms provide employees access to exactly the information and services they need, when they need them — 40% of cases don’t require any human input, and the system gets smarter over time. For requests that do require additional input, askSpoke still helps increase efficiency by automatically pulling in relevant context about the requester (e.g., job title, manager, team), so HR doesn’t have to do any digging and can get right to work.

On average, askSpoke resolves employees’ requests up to 80 percent faster than traditional systems. And, like any modern worker should be, askSpoke is available across multiple platforms, including email, web, Slack, or SMS — so employees can take a rest from their constant toggling, and maybe even go for a lap around the old water-cooler. These small changes can have a big payoff when it comes to employee well-being.

It goes without saying that technology has played a role in the rise of employee burnout. But now, it can also help combat it.  Get started with askSpoke today >

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