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8 ways to fight burnout on IT teams
Is your team's morale and well-being at risk? IT leaders share strategies for watching out for the troops – in an era of ever-increasing demands
5. Offer flexible solutions
Different people are overwhelmed by different tasks – and find relief from burnout in different ways. Smart IT leaders embrace a number of approaches to alleviating stress for their teams.
Enabling technology professionals to decide how, when, and where they accomplish their work can give employees a sense of control over their workload – if well-managed. “This can add work-life balance, a critical ingredient to sustainability and avoiding burnout, but it can also create an always-on, 24-hour working environment,” says Garton of Bain & Co. “It is essential here to establishing working norms that avoid this.”
Some employees may prefer predictable office hours. “The most important thing to zero in on is team-member balance – and that’s different for everyone,” says Katcher of ITA Group. “Avoiding and managing burnout is all about staying focused on each team member individually, and identifying solutions – large or small – that work for them. Whether it’s task trading or job sharing or simply taking a quick, 15-minute break from the grind, it’s about uniquely empowering them to be successful in their role as a change agent in the digital transformation.”
6. Use analytics as early warning systems
All those analytics solutions IT has been hard at work implementing can come in handy in measuring technology team members’ workload, health, and morale. CIOs can take advantage of workplace analytics solutions or active listening agents to monitor for tacit signs that individuals or teams may be overloaded. "These kinds of tools can be used as early warning systems," Garton says.
7. Create joy
All work and no play is a clear recipe for burnout. “We’re all under pressure, so it’s important that we find ways to have fun along the way,” says Collins of SAS. “It fosters a strong relationship between the employee and the employer. When both sides understand each other’s responsibilities and find ways to help out and lean on the other, it’s good for business and good for the people. As we’ve gotten better at this, we’ve seen better engagement. We’ve seen the attitude shift from just putting in hours to people truly becoming motivated and engaged.”
8. Be the role model
It’s important for CIOs to give their team members permission to take care of themselves. One of the most effective ways for an a IT leader to do that is to take care of yourself in a transparent fashion.
CIOs who work a reasonable number of hours, carving out vacation and personal time, and block off time on their public calendar to exercise and eat right set an example for the larger organization. “People feed off the stress and anxiety of others, including yours,” says Swann. “Model healthy behaviors.”
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