You know your business’s software choices affect your budget, your productivity, and sometimes even the range of what you can accomplish, but you may not know it can also affect your employees’ levels of stress. Though not an often considered variable, it could be an important factor—and metric—to dictate your eventual success.
Why Does It Matter?
Functionality and price may still be your primary concerns, but if you can reduce stress along the way, you can:
- Improve engagement and productivity. More than half of workers in the UK and US who experienced high stress also reported feeling disengaged. Disengagement drives productivity down, so reducing stress levels could help drive productivity back up.
- Improve sleep and mental health. Stress is a leading cause of insomnia, so reducing stress with the right software can help your employees sleep better. It can also reduce their chances of developing anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
- Reduce sick days. Lower stress could even lead to better physical health, which could then lead to higher attendance.
How Software Affects Stress
Clearly, decreasing stress levels is a good thing. But how can your choice in software affect stress so much?
- Ease of use. If the system is difficult to learn or hard to use, it may cause employees more stress than it eliminates. Struggling with a non-responsive system, or needing to learn counterintuitive processes to do something that was easy before can be frustrating, and lead to increased stress.
- Software that enables seamless, ongoing communication can make employees feel less stressed too. They should be able to ask questions, find answers, and engage with others without issues—if they feel isolated or confused, it could make things worse.
- Simplification or automation. Any piece of software that actively makes a task easier (or eliminates one entirely) should cause a reduction in stress. The trick is, the work needs to be simplified or automated without the creation of new tasks or more difficult processes.
- Studies show that workplaces with high rates of transparency tend to have higher employee engagement (and lower employee stress), which makes sense; most people like to know what’s going on at any given point. An open system, which provides lots of information, should reduce workplace stress overall.
- How practical is it to implement this new software? If it requires a major change, such as switching over to a new operating system or abandoning previous software, it could cause more stress than it saves.
Key Variables to Consider
If stress is a high priority for your business to manage, make sure you consider these variables when choosing a new piece of software:
- Primary uses. How is this software going to be used? What problems is it going to solve? What problems is it going to introduce?
- User interface. How easy is it to learn this software from scratch? Is it easy to use on a regular basis? Does it save time?
- Can this software work for multiple people, and can it be expanded upon even further in the future?
- How does this software work with your existing software products? Is it compatible with all devices and operating systems?
If you’re interested in choosing new software that can make your employees’ lives easier, or if you want a piece of software that can directly measure your employees’ stress, job satisfaction, and output, consider investing in SAP’s workforce planning and HR analytics software. It could be one of the most important investments you make.