Reduce stress at work: Tips for IT pros

IT pros are putting in a lot of hours, and the stress could convince them to switch companies, or even careers. Here are some tips to help tech employees reduce stress. 

If IT managers want their departments to run at top performance, they may want to look for ways they can help their employees reduce stress, suggests a survey of over 2,000 British IT pros by staffing firm Randstad. The poll found that most IT pros feel stressed out and overworked and have a hard time taking a break from the office.

While most professionals feel overworked, people in IT seem to have it worse than others. On average, IT employees say they do the work of 1.5 people — meaning, they do the equivalent of 7.5 business days of work each week. In comparison, the average professional believes they’re doing the work of 1.3 employees.

And the situation in IT has only gotten worse as tight budgets and hiring freezes have kept tech staffs small. More than a third of IT pros say their workload has increased over the past year, with most blaming staff cuts or a requirement to keep the IT team lean.

That extra work has made it tough for IT pros to reduce stress, as 56% say their workload has gotten so big that it’s impossible to completely get away from work while they’re on vacation.

Those numbers echo the results of a previous survey of IT pros in the U.S. and U.K. in which 67% said they’ve considered changing careers because of workplace stress.

That can cause big problems for IT managers who might lose their best employees or suffer inefficiencies because of staff burnout. To help avoid those issues, here are some tips for both managers and employees to help IT pros reduce stress at work:

  1. Rotate jobs — Some roles in IT are more hectic than others, so a manager letting employees take turns handling the more low-key duties can help the entire department reduce stress. That will also prevent employees from getting burned out doing the same thing over and over again.
  2. Sleep and eat well — Heavy workloads can make it tough to stay on a healthy diet and sleep schedule, but doing so helps make people more productive at work, and feel better emotionally at all times.
  3. Increase flexibility — Employees are often less stressed and more productive when they do the same amount of work but at different times. Managers should consider flex-time policies and telecommuting options for staffers when possible, and employees can encourage their managers to allow flexible arrangements.
  4. Manage time better — It’s possible that some IT pros with large workloads could be managing their time more effectively. IT leaders can help by arranging training courses on time management.

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