Alleviating IT Burnout

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Alleviating IT Burnout

It is no understatement to say the COVID-19 pandemic has created massive challenges for industries during 2020. The need for physical and social distancing, quarantining and shielding, as well as creating new ways to interact while keeping apart has led companies to dramatically change the way they operate.  

Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data, reported that before COVID-19, 17% of US employees worked from home for 5 days or more per week, increasing to 44% during the pandemic. This was replicated around the globe as governments implemented lockdowns. For those unused to remote working, this increased the feelings of anxiety that can lead to burnout, as they struggled to balance their work and personal lives.  

Many of the changes in the way we work were managed by IT teams, even as they too relocated to home offices. Tools and applications were rolled out in record time to support new ways of working.  Connectivity moved beyond the company’s physical walls and into thousands of homes, requiring support teams to maintain a steely eye on network security and stability. Additionally, an ever-growing number of IT end-user support requests challenged IT teams.    

Maintaining the pressure 

Of course. burnout is a problem in every industry but IT burnout has long been an issue as budgets tightened and workloads increased. The challenges faced by everyone in 2020 drove stress levels higher. In one article, BBC cites a survey conducted by tech recruiters Harvey Nash in May 2020 that stated ‘more than a third of tech professionals had seen their mental health deteriorate as a result of the crisis’. The article points out that even those used to remote working began to struggle with the situation once the pandemic hit.  

In 2019, the WHO recognized burnout – ‘a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’ – as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ characterized by three dimensions: 

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 

  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and 

  • reduced professional efficacy. 

Even as resources stretch toward breaking point to support the growth in remote working, the pressure remains to keep service and maintenance projects on-track. As companies adapt to new business models to become more competitive there will be no relief from that pressure. For many, the pandemic highlighted the need to accelerate digital transformation plans to become more agile, both in the way they operate and in how they deliver services. Once again, IT teams will be at the forefront of making these transformations successful. 

 

 If you are looking for a solution to manage your company’s digital transformation program and alleviate the pain of rolling out service and maintenance projects, Schedule a demo 

 

Having seen how staff can work together remotely, many companies are considering shrinking their office space and continuing flexible working once the pandemic ends. It seems that the logistical challenges of managing hardware refresh programs and Windows 10 servicing alongside digital transformation initiatives, with users, equipment and connectivity spread across hundreds and thousands of locations, are not going to disappear.  

What could disappear is the extra headcount traditionally brought in to manage IT projects. As rollouts increase in frequency, shrinking budgets may no longer be able to accommodate the cost of hiring this additional expertise. As a result, every stage of the project – from defining the scope through to progress reporting – will likely become even more challenging. 

Consider how many hours/weeks/months you have seen swallowed up by these tasks:  

  • Compiling project data on users, applications, hardware and more. 

  • Filtering duplicate information and chasing input to correct errors and fill gaps. 

  • Building relationship charts and a multitude of sub-projects and tasks. 

  • Creating and sending emails and having endless discussions about timelines and requirements. 

  • Pulling together project progress reports and looking for ways to speed up rollouts. 

In the article ‘10 sources of IT burnout and what you can do about it’, ‘repetitive work’, ‘constant firefighting’ and ‘unmanageable workloads’ are called out as some of the causes of IT burnout. With fewer hands and a greater number of tasks, the probability for human error increases. So how can you help prevent burnout from happening in your teams?  

Be on the watch for the signs of burnout 

In these unprecedented times, sadness, anxiety, frustration, irritability and other physical and emotional reactions are understandable, but they can become overwhelming. Recognizing the signs of burnout, keeping an eye out for your teams, while not forgetting to give yourself a break, is critical.  

One of the tips mentioned in the article ‘6 Ways to Prevent Work Burnout’ is to seek out productivity solutions. With project rollouts on the increase, IT departments need to find new ways of working that will allow them to achieve more with less effort. A way of doing this is to adopt a repeatable process that allows teams to manage projects more effectively.  

Automation is key to alleviating IT burnout 

Automation has already transformed many industries and as Forbes notes, ‘In the face of a global public health crisis, every kind of organization (has been forced to propel forward their automation and digital transformation plans for the critical sake of the "safety" component within automation’. So, why not apply automation to the tools you use to manage IT projects? After all, it will help you reduce the number of repetitive, administrative chores that, done manually, can be a source of frustration and stress. 

 

See how ReadyWorks saved a Global bank’s project manager at least a year’s work during a Windows 10 upgrade.  

 

By introducing automation into your project tools and workflows, you can: 

  • reduce the time you spend on tasks at every stage of your IT project rollout including data collection and analysis, planning and reporting. 

  • free up time for you and your team to spend on more strategic and satisfying tasks. 

  • retain knowledge from one project to the next so you aren’t starting from scratch every time. 

  • drive more accuracy into your project, reducing the risk of human error and the chance of overlooking critical information. 

Achieve faster, more consistent results with ReadyWorks 

The ReadyWorks approach is to apply automation every aspect of an IT program:

  • Data collation and clean up as data is collected from multiple system tools, databases and platforms 

  • Best practice templates for successful project planning 

  • Systems, team and end user workflows are triggered by dates and events including communications to users, managers and support teams 

  • Real-time reports can be shared with stakeholders in views tailored to their needs 

 To see how you could streamline your costs and provide your teams with the tools they need to successfully deliver on your company’s maintenance, service and transformation projects, schedule a demo today. 

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