Survey: IT pros are seriously overworked

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This may not be breaking news to you, but IT pros are often overworked and their departments are understaffed, according to a Spiceworks survey. 

The survey found that the average full-time IT pro goes way beyond the 40-hour workweek, putting in an average of 52 hours a week. The breakdown:

  • 22% work 41-49 hours a week
  • 17% work 50-59 hours, and
  • 18% put in more than 60 hours in a given workweek.

Where are these overworked pros?

Not surprisingly, some industries required more hours from their staffs than others. The far-and-away leader was engineering and construction, with 72% of IT pros putting in more than 40 hours in a week.

That was followed by manufacturing (with 60% of IT pros putting in more than 40 hours) and nonprofits (58%).

In terms of hours worked, finance and legal demanded most of its employees’ time (an average of 55.4 hours a week) followed by construction and engineering (51.8 hours) and manufacturing (51.6).

Why it matters

Now more than ever, it’s important to have an idea of how many hours your people are putting in. Why?

New overtime regulations from the Department of Labor could mean that starting soon, some of your techs who have been exempt from overtime will suddenly become overtime eligible. That means each qualified tech who makes less than $50,440 per year ($970/week) will need to be paid time-and-a-half for hours worked over 40 in a week.

In short, all those extra hours that your people are putting in could cost your company extra money.

Aside from which, it’s just not good business practice to overwork techs. Some of the costs of working too many hours in a week include:

  • decreased efficiency
  • staff burnout, and
  • increased absenteeism.

Result: It winds up costing your organization more in terms of money and hours-worked just to keep systems up and running, let alone making much-needed improvements or (heaven forbid) getting ahead on projects.

What to do

The first step toward making sure you have a fully functioning and adequately staffed office is to start collecting data on your team’s hours. Rough estimates are OK, but an accurate accounting of time spent in the office and what their time is devoted to is even better.

Using an adequate sample size, you’ll be in a better position to add staff if needed or set priorities. So the next time you’re approached with a request for a new proposal, you can say my people spend x percentage of their time on these business-critical tasks: Which other tasks should we cut back on in order to achieve those goals?

When you come with hard statistics, “Just make it work” or “Find a way” won’t be seen as realistic options. Instead, you’ll either be given clearer priorities and vision from the top or get the point across that extra help may be needed.