“We’ve seen for some time that it’s a seller’s market if you’re an IT pro, so they’re less likely to put up with a more stressful environment when they know the opportunity is out there to find something better, less stressful, even if it’s for less money,” says Hayman.
Fewer workers are expected to be on-call after hours
If you expect your IT workers to be available around-the-clock, you’re in the minority — only 9 percent of IT workers said they’re expected to be available at any hour, with “no excuses.” That’s down from 18 percent in 2016. Similarly, only 5 percent said they’re expected to be accessible from 6 a.m. to midnight.
As for extended hours, 19 percent said they’re expected to be accessible from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., up from 15 percent in 2016. And 67 percent said they’re accessible between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., up from 62 percent in 2016. These numbers suggest that many IT workers are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance at their companies, which is vital to satisfaction and retention, says Hayman.
Wellness efforts can help alleviate inevitable IT stress
Although the survey revealed that many IT workers report satisfaction in their roles, plenty still say they experience stress over work-related issues. When asked the most stressful aspect of being an IT worker, 28 percent said work-life balance, down from 30 percent in 2016. Similarly, 28 percent also cited “keeping up with organizational requests or workload,” down from 35 percent last year.
There are several health issues that IT workers report because of experiencing a “stressful situation at work.” The most common include sleeplessness (65%), anxiety (55%), irritability or short temper (48%) and weight gain or loss (42%). While it might be unrealistic to avoid stressful situations at work, IT leaders can take measures to allow for wellness accommodations or alleviate workloads if employee health begins to suffer.
Over half of IT workers can’t (or won’t) completely unplug
One avenue for establishing improved work-life balance is to check in on your company’s culture around performing work-related activities during vacation and downtime. It may not be a directly expressed expectation, but queues and habits may be perpetuating the impression that IT workers should check in even when they’re off the clock.
Technology makes it all too easy to answer calls or check email on vacation; 42 percent of respondents said they check “work-related communications” on vacation, but “only respond to critical requests and emergencies.” Another 9 percent check email and messages, but won’t respond, while 3 percent said they continue most aspects of their job on vacation. Less than half (46%) said they do not keep tabs on work-related emails or messages, and choose to completely log off for vacation.
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