Addressing stress in the tech industry
As we approach the summer season and holidays, it’s a good time to reflect on managing the work like balance.
Burnout is a significant concern in the tech industry, given its fast-paced and demanding nature; the constant pressure to meet deadlines and deliver results, to stay updated with the latest trends, acquire new skills, and outperform peers. Tight project timelines, high expectations, and a culture that values productivity all can lead to chronic stress and anxiety. Fear of falling behind or losing job security further exacerbates stress levels.
Post covid, working patterns have changed, more of us are continuing to work more at home, blurring the work-home, work-life distinction. Whilst this way of working has benefit from increased flexibility, the lack of boundaries can lead to increased stress, with remote work arrangements, global collaborations, and the expectation of always being accessible, adding to the difficulties in finding the time to disconnect and recharge.
We need to reconsider the work-life balance. Work – life balance sounds like it is either/ or – we work or we have a life – we have no life at work. We are not one self at work and another self at home, we need a holistic approach, one integrated self at home and work. Work needs to be more life friendly, so feel comfortable taking breaks, recognise that we work better when we are relaxed and refreshed. Keeping continual pressure to perform will exhaust us.
The tech industry can be a double whammy with long hours of intense workloads leaving little time for relaxation and self-care and the sedentary nature of tech roles, with prolonged periods of sitting, limited physical activity, and poor ergonomic practices makes it harder to look after our physical health contributing to health issues such as musculoskeletal problems, obesity, and cardiovascular conditions.
So what can you do about it? Take advantage of flexible work arrangements, any wellness programmes or stress management resources. Make time for you. Recognise when you need a break and make and take time. Talk to colleagues about ways to better organise workloads, communication strategies to maximise your time. Pay particular attention to your home life, research shows that burnout is much more likely to occur if work and home are stressful. If this is the case – do something about it now. Be proactive. Reach out to others to help you, it does not have to be a deep emotional heart to heart, just connecting with someone at work or socially, having a chat, doing something you like, can be restorative. Get outside, do something physical helps you see things differently and find other ways of doing things.
At the heart of our wellness is the ability to have autonomy, that is agency over ourselves, be in charge of ourselves, relatedness, that is connecting with others, and competency, that is recognising our skills. These all contribute to our purpose and meaning. This doesn’t have to be a huge life mission but can be a sense of what’s important to us today. Small acts of kindness, a smile, a compliment, all help build our connectedness to others and make us feel good too. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself as well. Lastly pay attention to your sleep, good sleep protects mental health – but that’s another blog!
Dr Sheila Ross, health psychologist, co-founder Feeling good app – proven audio programmes derived from sports training for recovering mental fitness and resilience. contact email@example.com for more information about how your organisation could benefit from free app access. www.feelinggood.app