In 2020, International Labour Organisation estimated that 2.7 billion employees – 81% of the global workforce – were subject to full or partial lockdown measures. This move prompted an exponential rise in digital communications, operations and processes – for example the number of users on one online video conference platforms increased by a factor of 20, to 200 million worldwide, in one month.
While there are many benefits associated with remote working, it is vital that employers do not underestimate the negative impacts that digital working practices can have on employee wellbeing. In Poland, workers took a combined total of 14.9 million days of sick leave due to mental and behaviour disorders between January and September 2020, which was almost 50% more than in the same period in 2019, according to data from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS). Moreover, multitasking and constant notifications are associated with lower levels of creativity and concentration, on top of the difficulty of effective interpersonal communication causes higher levels of stress and loneliness. Collectively called “technostress” these issues are caused both by the technology AND by organisational expectations, and lead to deterioration in productivity/performance and in employees’ mental and physical health.