Working in technology is a dream for many people all over the world. The rise of industry giants like Google and Amazon over the past two decades has seen them become some of the world’s most desirable companies to work for. In the past, children dreamed of becoming doctors, teachers or even lawyers – but today’s children will grow up wanting to be the next generation of app developers and software engineers.
But there’s a darker side to this industry. The glamourous perks of a flashy office and the chance to create something new and exciting only go so far. A survey by Blind found that close to 60 per cent of people working in tech were experiencing occupational burnout. Employers and employees in all areas of the industry could be facing this negative burden. So what could be done to fix this?
The first step to fixing a problem is understanding it. The tech industry can be exciting, and not to mention well-paid, but this also comes with immense pressure on employees. According to data by Spiceworks, an employee in the industry works typically works 52 hours a week, nearly 20 hours more than the American average of 34 hours.
Many people in the industry are willing to do this because they believe what they are doing might change the world. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a great technological innovation? The problem is, these long hours don’t always lead to a more productive employee. In fact – research has found the opposite is often true.
As an employer, more flexible working options will help your employees who are suffering from burnout. This might mean letting them come in late if they work late, or allowing them additional vacation time. Alternatively, you could allow them to work from home. Many companies have been surprised during the pandemic that they are able to keep working just as effectively, with many stating they will never return to the office.
You should also learn to spot the symptoms of burnout in your employees. If your best developer is suddenly very low on energy or is irritable around their co-workers, then there’s a sign something may be wrong. Likewise, if you notice any productivity drops in the team or anyone is generally acting apathetic or cynical there could be an issue. If you can recognise this, it may be time to talk to your employee and see what you can do to help.
Communicate with your staff
One of the best ways you can help counteract burnout in the tech industry is to improve how you communicate. Then you can rest assured that your employees know what’s expected of them, while they also trust you enough to speak out if they feel something is wrong.
The easiest way to do this is with feedback. If you celebrate your employees’ successes, they are less likely to suffer from low morale. They also know when they are doing well and when they aren’t, which can guide them towards improved performance and productivity.
Another way to prevent burnout is to give them challenging, but achievable, goals. If your employee’s goals are too easy, then they will not feel accomplished when they surpass them. On the other hand, targets that seem impossible will do nothing but demoralise your team and make them question how things are being run.
Focus and development
One of the best ways you can prevent burnout in the industry is to prioritise employee growth. Often the reason people in tech developing feelings of burnout is because they feel like they are not doing what they are hired for. Many programmers would happily sit and write line upon line of code every single day of their lives. However, when they start to become more involved in management or even just bogged down with meetings and other processes at the junior level, then problems start to arise. Give your employees ample opportunity to do what they were hired to do and they will be grateful for it.
Focusing on employee growth is also vital to ensuring your staff don’t experience burnout. Funding additional qualifications and opportunities for learning is key to creating an excellent work environment with a well-qualified team. Setting personal development goals as well as work-related targets is an excellent idea for this reason.
Tech burnout is a very real problem. The industry continues to grow year on year and unless the people in charge start taking steps to counteract it, the issue will compound on itself. With these simple tips, we can help the people creating the technology of tomorrow to be happy, fulfilled and productive.