Mental Health Guide for IT Professionals

BY IT GLUE | July 16, 2021

When not at optimum health, our bodies show signs in the form of pain or discomfort that more often than not spur us into taking remedial action. However, when it comes to the mental side of things, we often tend to ignore the signs of an unhealthy mind. Fatigue, sleeplessness, anxiety, absenteeism and stress are some common signs of mental unrest. Mentally healthy individuals are often motivated, productive and better able to cope with life and work-related stress. However, those with poor mental health have a difficult time performing even simple, day-to-day tasks.

According to a recent WHO-led study, lower productivity and higher absenteeism at work due to anxiety and depression sets the global economy back by at least $1 trillion annually.

There are several factors that can significantly affect the mental well-being of a person. Of these, workplace climate is one such factor. We spend a large part of our days working or worrying about our work. Stress levels can shoot through the roof when deadlines are tight and workloads are heavy. In such situations, even something as incongruous as a slow internet connection can send people flying off the handle.

Although stress can boost productivity intermittently, it can manifest as physical and psychological symptoms if experienced on a constant basis. Some of the effects of stress include hypertension, backache, headaches, anger issues, job dissatisfaction and low morale.

In fact, an estimated 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems at work.

Busy as a Beaver

Most IT professionals work behind the scenes, and the strain and isolation associated with their jobs make their roles especially challenging. The shift to remote work did not make things any easier for them either. In addition to making IT upgrades overnight, they had to deal with new challenges posed by remote work every day, such as the inability to “unplug” from work, working longer hours and experiencing more burnout.

Information technology professionals are susceptible to stress due to a variety of unique factors such as:

Time and Knowledge Constraints

Statistics show that heavy workloads, tight deadlines and demanding managers all contribute to workplace stress. In addition to placing employees under high pressure, they also affect work quality. It can feel crippling to be faced with tight deadlines and not have the information necessary to finish the job. Since IT jobs require frequent upskilling, a constant barrage of deadlines leaves little room for learning. All of this can result in high absenteeism rates, which exposes companies to the risk of losing their best IT talent to competitors.

The cost of depression is $51 billion a year as a result of absenteeism and $26 billion as a result of treatment.

Data Sprawl

Each day, IT professionals deal with an overwhelming amount of data. The data of companies is invaluable, and hence, must be stored securely. A data sprawl occurs when data production happens at an uncontrolled rate. This makes it difficult for IT professionals to get things under control, adding additional work pressure to their already busy schedules. An unmanageable data sprawl and overworked IT professionals make for a terrible combination that often results in data breaches.

Clunky Manual Processes

Imagine using a feature phone in the age of smartphones. It’s a great tool but how much can you really do with it? Companies that do not upgrade to newer IT tools create more workload for their IT staff and hamper their productivity.

Lack of Communication and Collaboration

Poor communication is more often than not the fundamental cause of misinformation. Employees may feel stressed if they are unable to communicate their needs. Working in a hostile work environment can make resolving problems and finding fulfillment at work difficult. Having little to no support from managers and colleagues brings morale down, which affects performance and creativity.

Lack of Reward or Recognition

Many people feel insecure about their job performance, which can lower their confidence levels. Getting instructions from more than one supervisor can create confusion and increase the likelihood of making mistakes. Clearly defining goals and regularly giving performance feedback are two factors that can ward off work insecurity.

Weak Documentation Process

IT professionals have to continually deal with slow documentation processes that disrupt the flow of work. Streamlining the documentation process saves IT teams from having to reinvent the wheel every time a problem arises. Poorly categorized documents, in addition to a weak documentation process, results in reduced efficiency of IT workers.

IT professionals’ chronic mental health issues can be effectively addressed with a smart documentation program. IT Glue streamlines and automates the IT documentation framework so IT professionals can save time and reduce stress. It automates mundane tasks and helps IT professionals achieve a good work-life balance.

Here’s an infographic that debunks common myths around smart documentation. Don’t forget to read it.

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A Lot on One’s Plate

Amidst the factors resulting in poor performance among IT professionals are organizational insufficiency, inefficient communication, ineffective teamwork and overwhelming workloads. U.S. businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly due to workplace stress.

The right tools, as well as a good company culture, can dramatically reduce the challenges that IT professionals face. No matter what your role is, a good understanding of your mental health can save you the hassle of dealing with issues later in life.

This is our first blog in a series that will cover the impact of mental health on productivity at work. In the following posts, we will discuss what causes mental health problems at work, how smart documentation calms one’s nerves, and why ignoring mental health problems can set you back at work and in life. Stay tuned.

To see how IT Glue reduces time waste, improves collaboration, and provides your employees with the information they need, when they need it, request a demo.

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