Network Synergy Blog
Burnout is a Bad Thing, Just Ask Your In-House IT Team
Burnout—a psychological process that can impact an employee and lead to stress, exhaustion, depression, and frustration—is a serious threat to any workplace. However, have you ever considered the potential harm that could be done if your IT-focused staff members succumbed to these feelings? Let’s examine the phenomenon of IT burnout, and how we can help fix it.
First, let’s dive a little deeper into burnout itself, and then apply it to your business’ IT team.
What is Burnout, and Where Does It Come From?
Burnout is a complicated animal, as it involves a lot of different feelings and phenomena that vary from person to person. Bill may become cynical about his role and be easily frustrated in the workplace, whereas Olivia may more frequently call in sick and feel depressed when she is in the office. Laura may make uncharacteristic errors in her work. Oliver may seem disconnected from his role.
All of these individuals could be feeling burnout, and just be exhibiting it in a different way. According to a 2018 Gallup survey, nearly 25% of employees felt burnout… and that’s before the concept of the workplace became a lot more complicated and, in many ways, stressful.
In short, burnout is a form of psychological exhaustion brought on by conditions in the workplace.
The reasons that people feel burnt out are just as diverse as the way that these feelings are displayed. While most people might assume that burnout is related to an employee’s workload (as it often is), other reasons can contribute to these feelings as well. If an employee is unsure of their role, for instance, or they feel they are not being adequately represented or treated fairly in the office, they could easily feel burnt out. Maybe they feel they don’t have the time or the support to accomplish what they are meant to accomplish. This is another source of burnout that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Lately, IT Professionals Have Been Hit Especially Hard
While this perhaps isn’t such a surprise, information technology professionals have recently shown particularly high levels of burnout. So much was proven in a global survey conducted by Yerbo, a mental wellbeing platform.
In this study, The State of Burnout in Tech -- 2022 Edition, Yerbo collected 32,644 survey answers from IT professionals from 33 different countries between January and September 2021. We encourage you to review the study’s conclusions for yourself, but we’ve assembled a few highlights here:
Burnout Leads to Four Major Issues for Employees, Each with Their Own Impacts
Based on the study’s findings—which had an entertaining facade put over them reminiscent of the famous cabinet arcade game Pac-Man—their Burnout Index identified four symptoms frequently felt by those suffering:
- Exhaustion often impacts burnt-out IT professionals, with 62% feeling drained physically and emotionally after the workday and 56% being unable to relax once back at home.
- Self-Inefficacy, which can develop into chronic procrastination and Imposter Syndrome, was shown to impact 51% of those surveyed to make them feel as though they were underachieving, and 33% feeling inefficient at work.
- Cynicism builds walls between a burnt-out employee and the rest of their team, causing diminishing engagement amongst 43% of those surveyed and causing 27% to lose sight of their purpose in the workplace.
- Depersonalization, or the emotional shutdown of the burnt-out IT professional, led to 26% of respondents reporting fears of growing harsh with their teammates and a lack of sympathy amongst 22%.
Ultimately, the survey concluded that almost half—42.1%—of the IT employees they surveyed faced a high risk of burnout.
So, How Can You Help Reduce Burnout Amongst Your IT-Focused Employees?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to actively fight against feelings of burnout in your workplace and the team members you’ve hired to work there—including the people who make up your internal IT department.
Eliminate Stress Wherever You Can
Perhaps this is a little bit obvious, but if you can make their jobs even a little bit easier and express your appreciation for their efforts, you can go a long way toward reducing your team’s feelings of burnout. By giving them more specific objectives to meet, providing them with the training they’ll need as time goes on, and otherwise creating a more supportive and comfortable workplace (including sufficient time off), you’ll take away a lot of the stress that burnout feeds on.
Giving Your Team Some Autonomy
Let me ask you something: when was the last time having someone hovering over you, breathing down your neck, motivated you to do something?
I didn’t think so, so why would it ever help motivate your team members? Giving them a degree of self-management and reasonable flexibility will help to keep them engaged and motivated to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Paying them at a rate that reflects this autonomy will help as well.
Provide Them With the Support They Need
If your IT team is feeling overworked by the responsibilities your business presents them with—particularly if it’s to the point that they are working extra hours to keep up and don’t have the opportunity to keep up on their certifications—burnout is certain to set in. We can offer our services to help support your team by taking over some of their workload. Think of us as adding a bunch of employees to your existing team for a single monthly cost. We’ll let your internal IT team do what they do best and pick up whatever is left over, allowing them to succeed, which translates into greater benefits for your business.
Give us a call at (203) 261-2201 to discuss your options with us today!