Stress in the IT Industry

Stressed Out? You are Not Alone

The server is down. A computer has a virus in the office. You have ten deadlines to hit to meet your boss’ expectations. Just to name a few. Many IT professionals feel like they are on edge at all times and cannot find a moment to unplug even when on vacation. Lifestyle diseases are more common among IT professionals than any other field. Overeating, sleep deficit, alcohol use and more are just a few health care issues that are prevalent in the IT industry.

 

Job Stress can lead to burnout and turnover, costing IT organizations countless dollars in replacement costs, and making methods for measuring and minimizing stress a business benefit.

 

A recent survey done by Careercast, lists these as the top 10 most stressful jobs in Tech:

 

  1. CIO’s – Often have to be available at all times and motivating their team is on the top of their priority list.
  2. IT Procurement Specialists– Tight schedules and working around client’s needs often result in high levels of stress.
  3. IT Managers and Directors– 24% of most IT Managers/Directors work more than 50+ hours a week. They do not work a typical 9 – 5  job when maintenance updates and migrations often occur after hours or on the weekends.
  4. Operation Specialists– Work on tight deadlines and need to troubleshoot problems at all hours. Any mistakes they make can impact a whole company’s access to data.
  5. Software Engineers– Demand for this job is in high demand and is expected to grow by 17% by 2024. A lack of talent in this position adds more pressure for these jobs.
  6. Application/Software Developers– Around one-third of developers surveyed reported they do not have sufficient time to do quality work. Over a quarter couldn’t plan tasks because of time limitations.
  7. Database Manager– Tight deadlines, multi-tasking, constant pressure are just a few of the demands of this job.
  8. Web Developer– Job growth for this position is 27% by 2024. Skyrocket demand adds to the pressure.
  9. Network Administrator– Demand is on the rise as businesses invest in better systems. Need to often be available 24/7, multi-task and be an effective communicator with all staff.
  10. IT Security Specialists– This position often has to make decisions on the spot and frequently variables around them are things that they cannot control.

 

 

Reasons for Stress

 

Security and Email Specialist GFI, put together an infographic to show their results from a survey they did on the stress IT professionals experience.

 

GFI IT Stress Infographic

 

 

How To Reduce Stress?

 

For most IT professionals, they truly enjoy their job and what they do. What can one do to alleviate some of the stress from their jobs. Here are a few suggestions from a neurobiologist and other professionals in the field.

 

  1. Just Breathe – It may seem simple enough but it does work when you concentrate on changing your breath. Deep breathing exercises, meditation and more can help induce a state of calm in your life.
  2. Take a Break – A majority of us spend our workday in front of a computer and most likely are dehydrated. Set a timer on your phone to take five minutes of every hour to get up and walk around, get a drink of water, etc.
  3. Set Your Priorities: Daily, make a list of the top three things that you want to accomplish that day. Prioritize your responsibilities by importance, size or deadline. Break larger tasks into smaller ones that are easier to accomplish. Cross things off your list at the end of the day to give you a sense of accomplishment.
  4. Delegate and use Time Efficiently: Distribute tasks amongst your team based on strengths. Determine when meetings are necessary and consider whether or not all parties are needed to be at a meeting.
  5. Make Time for Sleep: Remember when you used to take naps as a kid? Well, your body still needs it. Make sure you get in your z’s. Don’t sacrifice much needed sleep.
  6. Use Your Senses: In most offices, there is constant outside noise and distractions. Try to switch off the outside noise by using headphones, shutting your door or whatever works best for you. Is there a certain smell that puts you at ease? It’s been proven by studies that familiar smells can put a person at ease when they are experiencing high levels of stress.
  7. Minimize your screen time: This is probably the hardest thing for an IT Pro to do. Avoiding the thing that reminds you of work will hopefully allow you to relax and unwind. Anything that reminds you of work can trigger an emotional reaction of stress. Go for a walk, take up another hobby that does not remind you of work, or whatever that allows you to forget about the pressures from work.
  8. Be Grateful: When things get rough, it may be hard to be grateful. Take the time to make a gratitude list  or start your day with a Post-It note of things that make you happy. It’s easy to get caught up on the things that are causing frustrations and pain in our life. A grateful and positive person often has less stress and attracts positivity around them.
  9. Use Your Vacation Hours: Americans are terrible at using their vacation time and taking a break from their jobs. In IT, it is hard to disconnect from work while on vacation. Even if its a staycation, take the time for you to not think about work or your responsibilities.
  10. Just Say No: If you are off the clock, on a break, at a social event, etc., you have the right to tell some that asks about an IT issue to say no. Set up boundaries in your life when you are off the clock.
  11. Invest in You – Spoil yourself and feel  no shame. Take up a new hobby, a new outfit, workout, etc. Find those things that bring you joy. Put you first!

 

Reducing stress is easier said than done. The demand of new technology, rise in cyber attacks and security breaches, and digital transformation are just a few things that will be a part of IT professionals lives for years to come. HR Departments and CEO’s are realizing the demands put upon IT teams and are looking for ways to improve the lives of their employees.

 

Zunesis is here to help your business and IT departments with problems they may have that they cannot solve on their own. Our experienced professionals are here to help alleviate your stress. Contact us today to find out how we can help!

 

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