As an IT Manager, you are responsible for ensuring that your team performs at its best and delivers on its objectives. However, working in IT can be stressful and demanding, and it's not uncommon for IT managers to experience burnout. In this blog post, we'll explore the common causes and effects of IT burnout, and provide tips and strategies to help IT managers prevent and manage burnout with the help of MSPs.
What is burnout and what causes it?
Firstly, what is burnout? It is defined by the World Health Organisation as "a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised 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."
Burnout can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job — such as your schedule, assignments or workload — could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
- Unclear job expectations. If you're unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you're not likely to feel comfortable at work.
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, or you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. This can contribute to job stress.
- Extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
- Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.
- Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don't have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you might burn out quickly.
In IT, this may relate specifically to the following factors:
1. Large workload: IT professionals are often responsible for managing complex systems, troubleshooting issues, and meeting deadlines, which can lead to long hours and high stress levels.
2. Lack of control: IT professionals may feel like they have little control over their work environment or the projects they are working on, which can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness.
3. Insufficient resources: IT departments may be understaffed or underfunded, which can create a sense of pressure to do more with less.
4. Poor work-life balance: IT professionals may feel like they are always on-call or unable to disconnect from work, which can lead to feelings of burnout and exhaustion.
What effects does it have?
The effects of IT burnout can be significant, both for individuals and organisations. Some common effects include:
1. Decreased productivity: Burnout can lead to decreased motivation, focus, and productivity, which can impact the quality and speed of work.
2. Increased errors: Burnout can lead to cognitive impairment, making it more difficult to concentrate and remember important details, which can increase the likelihood of errors and mistakes.
3. Poor job satisfaction: Burnout can lead to feelings of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with work, which can impact job performance and lead to high turnover rates.
4. Mental and physical health problems: Burnout can lead to a range of mental and physical health problems, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic illness.
How can you prevent burnout?
Organisations which are struggling with burned out staff should consider working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP). MSPs can help IT managers by providing additional resources, expertise, and support, such as:
• Staff augmentation to help with workload management
• IT infrastructure and security management
• Help desk and support services
• IT strategy and planning
• Training and development programmes for IT staff
MSPs can take on the daily burden of IT management and monitoring, as well as offering additional services such as 24/7 support, cloud migration and full-scale transformation projects.
Working with an MSP can help IT managers relieve some of the workload and stress, allowing them to focus on managing their teams and projects more effectively. Considering working with an MSP? Download our free eBook to learn how to choose an MSP, what to look out for and how to ensure they drive value for your business.