BURNOUT IN THE TECH INDUSTRY: WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Burnout has become a major problem in the tech industry, as many IT workers are struggling with chronic workplace stress and exhaustion.
A 2022 study of more than 36,200 IT professionals across the world has found that two in five tech workers are at high risk of burnout. This comes as a result of longer hours and more demanding workloads which leave little time for personal life and create work-life conflicts.
The same study also found that 42% of tech workers who are facing high levels of burnout are considering quitting their company in the next six months, while 62% of tech professionals report being physically and emotionally drained.
What is burnout?
According to WHO, burnout is an occupational phenomenon resulting from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Everyone feels some level of stress at work from time to time. But there’s a difference between feeling tired after a big work week and consistently struggling to find the energy to be productive. The latter is a common symptom of burnout.
Burnout can happen after a person is exposed to chronic stress for a prolonged period, resulting in emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced professional ability. It often leads to an employee disconnecting from their workplace, struggling to find meaning in their job and underperforming as a result.
How do you reduce employee burnout in the tech industry?
There are a number of contributing factors that can lead to chronic workplace stress, which leads to burnout. These five tips can help you prevent burnout in your tech organisation.
1. Focus on communication and support
Ongoing communication and support from managers are crucial. Employees who feel supported by their managers are 70% less likely to experience burnout regularly. Encourage managers to have regular meetings, weekly check-ins, and to collaborate regularly via communication channels such as Teams or Slack.
It’s also important to provide more opportunities for feedback, in order to create a continuous flow of constructive feedback from managers and peers. Ensure that this feedback is then addressed, so that employees feel that their voice is valued and heard.
Employee appreciation is another key factor in ensuring that employees feel supported by their managers. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way in improving the way employees feel about themselves and their work.
2. Consider job design
To proactively break the cycle of stress and burnout prevalent in so many tech companies, you need to understand what the main pain points in the business are that are leading to employee burnout.
If a job requires employees to be working unsustainable hours or creates stress inherently, you need to rethink the job design of the role to prevent stress and burnout at the source. You may need to review workloads and adjust job responsibilities to ensure roles are healthy and sustainable.
On top of this, you should ensure that your IT workers are always given reasonable deadlines for completing their work. A study by Gallup found that when employees have enough time to do their work, they’re 70% less likely to experience burnout.
3. Foster a positive workplace culture
A 2022 Global Burnout Study found that burnout is predominantly caused by organisational structures and cultures, and is not the fault of the individual. Creating a positive workplace culture helps to make employees feel more valued, which can reduce their likelihood of burnout.
To create a positive workplace culture, you should promote collaboration, reward employees for their work, be transparent, support diversity, promote inclusion and offer opportunities for learning and development.
4. Offer flexibility
Flexibility is one of the best (and most sought-after) benefits you can offer your employees. A global workforce study has shown that 89% of employees worldwide prefer to have the choice between working remotely and working in the office. Another study found that 82% of Millennials said they’d remain more loyal to their employers if they had more flexibility at work.
Employees value employers who empower them to manage their own time. By sending out a clear message for employees to embrace flexible working, you can help your people find a better work-life balance, which can help prevent burnout.
5. Invest in employee wellbeing
It’s essential to support employees to do things that support their personal health and wellbeing – such as practising good sleep habits, nutrition, exercise, social connection and more – so they can feel and perform their best. Doing so helps to replenish their physical and emotional energy, along with their capacity to focus.
This is where a fun workplace movement challenge or an employee wellbeing platform can help. DXC Technology is a tech company which has benefited from investing in both a wellbeing platform and movement challenges for their workforce. One DXC step challenge – powered by Springday – resulted in a 9% increase in regular exercise and 25% improvement in stress levels, while 15% of participants also reported better sleep.
A Springday wellbeing platform provides a library of expert wellbeing resources, wellbeing assessment tools to track progress, healthy-habit programs, and more. These can easily be accessed anywhere, anytime via a mobile app or desktop platform, which helps to remove some barriers that may get in the way of staff accessing the wellbeing resources you provide.
We have several different solutions that can help you support your employees to prevent burnout through managing stress, finding better work-life balance, and boosting their overall wellbeing. Book a free consultation with us to find out more.