Technostress - stress that is caused by interacting with information technology (IT) devices- is becoming a serious health problem for individuals. The aim of the project is to investigate whether active workstations, such as standing and treadmill desks, and digital wearables that can monitor a user’s physiological signals, are helpful to alleviating technostress. Researchers identify events in our interactions with technology that generate technostress, such as interruptions through pop-up messages and computer slow response time. Due to the proliferation in technology usage, technostress and consequent health problems have increased in scope. Therefore, technostress requires immediate attention by researchers to develop methods to alleviate its adverse impact on health. High levels of stress directly impact a person’s health and is a demonstrated risk factor for anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as for diabetes and obesity.

Our study investigates how active workstations can influence an individual’s affect and cognitive alertness in helping them cope with technostress. Affect underlies the individual’s emotional experiences and can be described as positive affect (e.g. enthusiasm) or negative affect (e.g. frustration). Decreasing negative affect and enhancing positive affect of an individual can help modulate the intensity of the stress experienced by that person. From our earlier studies, we find that body postures and movements impact individuals’ affect and their cognitive alertness, and therefore may be leveraged as stress moderators (Labonté-Lemoyne, Santhanam, et al. 2015). Hence, we propose that the use of active workstations will alleviate technostress.

We plan to conduct a rigorous experiment with study participants who will be residents of the state of Oklahoma. Participants will use active workstations in conditions that can test our proposed ideas. We will record physiological signals and collect participants’ perceptual responses. Our analysis of this data will indicate effectiveness of proposed interventions of active workstations in alleviating technostress. Our research contributes to the emergent science on technostress suggesting methods to alleviate impact of stressors.