Even though overall unemployment in the DC area is above the national average, it still sits below the 6 percent mark for the larger population and falls even further when you examine only technical professionals. This means companies throughout the area are struggling to find the tech talent they need and many critical IT positions may even be sitting vacant.
Often, when hiring situations such as this exist, current employees are left carrying a substantially heavier weight since they aren’t just responsible for their work, but also the duties associated with the unfilled position. And, as pressure mounts, burnout is more likely to occur.
The Source of Tech Burnout
When departments are short-staffed, employees are asked to spend more hours at work to make sure that essential activities are completed in a timely fashion. Additionally, their overall workload becomes greater, increasing general job stress. As time passes, this pattern can lead to resentment and even exhaustion. And, with enough time, some of your best and brightest may begin to reach the burnout phase.
However, some of the causes of tech burnout can actually be mitigated by management if they have the right information. Here are some methods that can help keep this state from becoming the new norm in your business.
Make Sure Hours Worked are Accurately Tracked
In some cases, management isn’t full aware of how burdened a particular department may be because they don’t have concrete data showing a problem is on the rise. A recent poll revealed that more than 20 percent of technical professionals may be underreporting the number of hours they actually spend working, as time spent remoting in from home or handling tasks via mobile devices isn’t always recorded. This means the leadership team doesn’t necessarily know that their employees are pulling these extra hours.
Instead of letting this time go unaccounted, make sure all staff members record all of the time they dedicate to their jobs. That way, management can get a more accurate picture of the situation and is better positioned to allocate available resources effectively.
Another side effect of being able to remote in or use mobile devices to manage work is it allows employees to establish an “always on” lifestyle. While this may initially seem beneficial to management, the feeling of never having a reprieve can wear on employee morale. This is even truer when the leadership teams make this level of availability seem like a requirement for the position.
While taking some work home on occasion or being accessible when on-call is unavoidable, letting workers know that the need for downtime is supported by the company can alleviate some of the pressure. Consider instituting policies that limit the use of mobile devices or telecommuting outside of core business hours, allowing employees to regain control of their personal time. Further, make sure there is no stigma associated with requesting time off. This allows staff members to use that time to recharge without fear of reprisal.
Consider Alternative Staffing Solutions
If your business is struggling to find the workers they need, the consider expanding your search into new areas. MindFinders, one of the leading IT staffing agencies in the DC Metro area, can help you locate permanent and temporary employees to alleviate the stress on your current staff. Contact the knowledgeable team at MindFinders today to see how our services can assist in ensuring tech burnout isn’t the new normal for your company.
Written by Tim Booker, President and CEO of MindFinders, with over 20 years of industry experience.