Moving forward from 2020’s rapid-fire digital transformation acceleration

When it comes to digital transformation, it’s never been a question of if for business leaders — only when. And while most managers and executives understood shifting sooner rather than later would probably be better, no one truly anticipated that something like Covid-19 would turn sooner into now. As companies face the reality of suddenly implementing their digital transformation plans as fast as humanly possible, they face a new challenge of how to prevent the shift from creating or worsening burnout.

What’s the problem?

Going through a digital transformation often can create enormous benefits for a company. It can shift fundamental organisational operations to eliminate redundancies, enable better data use and analysis, improve the customer experience, expand agility, and more.

But being surrounded by and forced to use technology to a high degree can create new stresses, even if you implement it over a more extended period. For instance, more programs can create more distracting alerts and lead to procrastination — 75% of workers in the United States say notifications make it hard to focus while working. Similarly, decreased face-to-face interaction can create feelings of isolation — from a pool of 3,500 participants, one out of five workers (20%) surveyed by Buffer and AngelList cited loneliness as a struggle. The ability to work from anywhere can also make it hard to draw boundaries between work and personal life, which can contribute to one becoming overwhelmed.

What is digital transformation in business: everything you need to know

Kicking off Information Age’s digital transformation, DevOps and CTO strategy month, we look at everything you need to know about what is digital transformation in business; the challenges, the technologies and above all, how to succeed — which given the current situation with coronavirus, has never been more important to get right. Read here

Tips to manage digital burnout effectively

1. Be highly selective about where you bring in technology

Going through a digital transformation doesn’t mean you abandon everything manual or analog. In fact, ideal shifts should allow workers to spend more time in analog work, such as collaborating creatively with a teammate face-to-face with greater frequency because another responsibility becomes automated.

Instead, digital transformation means that you bring in the technologies that can create real operational differences for your business. So don’t bring something into your infrastructure just because it’s trendy or emotionally appeals to you on a showroom floor. Limit your digital shifts to what you need to move toward your vision — which will save money — and the remaining manual tasks will maintain a natural counterbalance to the screens and devices.

2. Use technology to set boundaries for other technology

Good examples here might be making databases available only through your office hours or for a set number of total minutes per day per user or setting email inbox limits. The idea here is simply

that you can add implementations that prevent employees from accepting an “always-on” mentality and that reinforce the concept of taking time away from their job.

3. Increase support from digital adoption specialists

Although many of your workers can be tech-savvy, you likely hired most of them for other skills and knowledge sets they bring to the table. Increasing your digital adoption expert support, such as by bringing on more IT specialists, will allow those experts to focus on the technology so everyone else can focus on using the technology as a tool. Make sure that your remote workers can access those specialists just as easily as the workers in your office.

4. Consider life cycles

Developing an infrastructure that needs less updating as a whole or as parts is always financially friendly, although it can mean more money upfront for better models. But the longer life your infrastructure has, the less often your workers also need to go through the stress and confusion of modifying their habits and familiar tools. When you do make transitions, give everybody as much possible notice in advance under an easy-to-understand schedule, and make it clear that you’re not expecting perfection through the learning curve. Consider reducing project workloads during periods of transition, as well, as workers will need extra hours to learn, fix honest mistakes, and move off old systems.

Any of these strategies can help keep burnout at bay. But perhaps the most important final thing to remember is that people almost always feel less stressed out when they have a say in the changes being made. Get their feedback about what they need and want from day one and be transparent for the best results.

Written by Priya Merchant, digital transformation leader, Genpact — opinions expressed are her own

Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice consists of the best articles written by third parties and selected by our editors. You can contact us at timothy.adler at