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Blog Post|6 minutes

Aiming Higher – Fighting Work Stress & Taking on Bigger Goals

Aiming Higher – Fighting Work Stress & Taking on Bigger Goals
December 4, 2019

I wouldn’t wish even upon my worst enemy the task of writing a company’s mission statement or brand slogan.

Nowadays customers respond most to companies that convey higher-level, altruistic values in their messaging—especially in the world of enterprise tech, or Silicon Valley startups.

You can’t write something like “we’re here to make lots of money and dominate the market”—that’s just not going to fly.

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The slogans and mission statements that stick are ones that are simple and honest, you can retrace their loftier goals back to the day-to-day business value the company provides. How do you help customers protect their data, shop online, scale their business, etc.?

It’s not easy.

Too terse or too vague, and your message misses the mark. As a crutch, many companies avoid the task entirely and stick with messages that are vague and esoteric.

Work stress & modern business

Of course, the elephant in the room for many modern companies is that while they may espouse to take on grandiose goals, many of their own employees suffer under work stress and anxiety.

A recent survey by Wrike found that 94% of employees (US and UK) report feeling stressed at work and it’s been cited that specifically in the United States, businesses lose up to $300 billion dollars a year from the result of workplace stress.

The prevalence of work stress and anxiety often hits hardest on my generation (Millennials: 23 – 38 years old) and the next group of workers in line (Gen-Z: 18 – 22 years old). Nearly half of all U.S. Millennials and 75% of Gen-Z workers have quit a job partially due to mental health issues (with money and work cited as main contributors).

Much of this anxiety and stress does come from societal factors emanating outside the workplace.

We millennials were raised in a system closely tied to digital technology, with the principal purpose being to ‘optimize’ our way through life. Each year we grew older, technology was there to show us how to do things faster and smarter. The prevailing lesson has always been to succeed the system, not break it, and we’ve carried this principle into our work life. Study hard, get high test scores, intern like mad, build up career skills, advance up the work ladder.

As Malcolm Harris writes in Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, “We (Millennials) are encouraged to strategize and scheme to find places, times, and roles where we can be effectively put to work… efficiency is our existential purpose, and we are a generation of finely honed tools, crafted from embryos to be lean, mean, production machines.”

The drive to achieve isn’t necessarily the problem here, but sometimes it’s the endless mantra to “crush” tasks at all costs that can stress out employees.

Messages like WeWork’s “don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you are done” or communities like #ILoveMonday can serve as a source of inspiration for young and old workers, but they can also fuel the type of feedback loop that leads to burnout. Even if you’re conscious that corporate slogans, social media influencers and work life charlatans are all marketing a choreographed version of themselves to you, it’s still difficult to ignore the hype and carry on with your work life.

We can let companies off the hook for these societal variables, but they need to take more ownership over the things that cause stress inside their physical and digital walls.

Oddly enough, IT support solutions can play a huge role in helping to fight employee stress and anxiety.

Nexthink’s sweet spot – productivity and employee engagement

So what’s one of the main inhibitors to workplace stress? And what does it have to do with IT?

Some 39% of workers say a heavy workload is the main cause of their frustration. For many people, just managing daily tasks and staying afloat can be a challenge.

One of the principle ways companies can flip this scenario is by enabling their employees to make “small wins” throughout their day, as documented in Dr. Teresa Amabile’s research in ‘The Progress Principle’. After researching some 12,000 journal entries from hundreds of digital employees, Dr. Amabile was able to prove that progress—more than salaries or fancy office perks—is paramount to affecting whether or not an employee is happy and productive (rather than stressed out and unproductive).

The concept of making progress is a simple but powerful one that has roots in many departments such as HR, executive leadership and especially, IT support.

In fact, IT is one of the few departments in any modern business that can offer immediate results in their employees’ digital environments.

And that’s exactly what Nexthink can help businesses do.

On the surface, Nexthink’s entire world consists of hitting tangible business results for IT support teams and their colleagues. We help companies boost their ROI on digital transformation projects, drive down response times and MTTR, and meet several other key digital KPIs.

But diving deeper, we really help our customers reduce work stress by meeting several “Life KPIs” too. After a few months using the Nexthink platform, our customers tell us anecdotes that hold plenty of weight in the conversation of work life balance.

Here’s a short list of what I mean:

TWFF (Time With Family and Friends)

“I finally have the time to see my kid’s soccer games” – End User Support Manager, Banking Sector

POM (Peace of Mind)

“I’m not waking up in the middle of the night anymore nervous about our IT initiatives” – CIO, Healthcare Company

F&E (Focused & Efficient)

“Our employees encounter fewer computing issues, which means they have more time to focus on their workload and get home at a reasonable hour” – Business Services Manager, Enterprise Tech

Aiming higher

Maybe mission statements and company slogans are attainable, especially in the world of enterprise tech?

It just takes the right strategy and the right people leading the charge.

On the Nexthink ‘About Us’ page there are two key phrases that stick out to me:

  1. Our mission is to Help IT teams create seamless digital environments so people can focus on the work that matters most.
  2. Nexthink is an IT solutions company in the business of giving employees their lives back.

We’re resolute in knowing that even as an IT company, we’re playing our part to alleviate workplace stress for millions of digital employees around the globe.

What type of work employees want to focus on and the direction they wish to take their work lives is entirely up to them, but IT support should facilitate that process, not stand in the way.

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