This year, resolve to cut down on your team’s stress

We’re about halfway through January, so that means most people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. Rather than just waiting for 2017 (that’s the year we’ll turn it all around!), why not change gears and resolve to make things a little better for your team? 

There’s good reason to: IT work is stressful. It requires long hours, plenty of contentious situations and an always-on mentality that results in fewer vacation days taken and even plenty of work getting done on this time off.

A new study backs that up. Although it focuses on one particular industry, a survey found:

  • 52.2% of respondents put their daily stress level above 6 on a scale of 1-10, and
  • 51.3% rated their supervisors’ ability to lead and engage at a 5 or below.

Reducing stress, improving productivity

Obviously, the kind of IT pro who takes an active interest in their team’s stress levels and well-being isn’t the type that these workers would rate poorly. If you’ve read this far, you’re not part of the problem.

However, there are ways you can make work a little less stressful for your people – and hold onto good tech talent as a result.

  • Encourage [actual] vacations. A vacation day spent answering the phone, replying to business email or texts and monitoring various systems is barely a day off. Use the rule that if someone has to be contacted for an emergency, they will. Otherwise, the time’s entirely theirs.
  • Check back on assignments. One workplace expert recently pointed out a problem you may not have considered: Treating strengths like a blunt instrument. Just because a tech once showed interest or proficiency in a certain area, that doesn’t mean that’s what they want their entire career to be. Check back regularly to see if they still find their role rewarding or whether it’s starting to wear on them.
  • Communicate frequently. Essentially, whatever stresses workers will be revealed if you ask – and they’re comfortable answering. What that means: Staying in touch at all times, both when things are and aren’t stressful, will get better feedback and answers.

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