Information technology, or IT, support teams are the unsung heroes of the digital age, tirelessly ensuring that systems and networks run smoothly for businesses and individuals alike. With how many technology related problems we all experience on a daily basis, it’s not surprising that IT professionals face a unique set of challenges that take a toll on their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. By recognizing the demanding nature of IT support work and the stressors they face, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges these professionals confront on a daily basis and explore ways organizations can support them.
Understanding the stressors of IT support teams
IT support teams face a multitude of stressors that can take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being. In addition to a high-pressure environment, IT support teams are expected to provide timely solutions and troubleshoot complex issues while simultaneously managing the frustrations of users. This constant need for quick problem resolution and end user satisfaction creates a sense of urgency and can lead to heightened stress levels. IT support professionals have to juggle multiple tasks and manage heavy workloads with constantly evolving needs. Balancing numerous responsibilities, prioritizing tasks, and coping with high work volumes and tight deadlines can be overwhelming, making IT support a difficult and stressful job.
The physical and mental implications of IT support
Whether you work in IT or not, sitting in front of the computer all day takes a toll on your body and mind. According to News Medical’s Hidaya Aliouche in her article What are the Health Implications of Office Jobs?, the consequences of long term sedentary work are holistically detrimental. The laundry list of health ailments that can come as a result of long hours sitting down includes increased cardiovascular risk, higher rates of mental illness like anxiety and depression, musculoskeletal ailments like, “muscle tightness, joint pain, joint stiffness, and swelling”, and weight management problems.
In their study for the Journal of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences, V. Padma et al. further expand on this in regards to IT specifically. From their survey of 1000 IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) professionals, they found that, “Around 56% had musculoskeletal symptoms. 22% had newly diagnosed hypertension, 10% had diabetes, 36% had dyslipidemia, 54% had depression, anxiety and insomnia, 40% had obesity”. They discuss how stress levels in all professions are at an all time high, and with technology playing a larger role in our lives than ever, the load on IT is intense. From a cross-industry standpoint, they identify the existence of, “Technostress… the phenomenon of stress arising due to the usage of computers”. These high levels of chronic stress are harming all of us, and IT support teams are taking an especially large amount of it.
What can we do to help IT support teams?
With the amount of work that IT support teams do to keep us all up and running, ensuring that they are also being taken care of is essential to promoting a productive, safe, and healthy workplace environment.
One key aspect of supporting a healthy work environment for IT professionals is encouraging a healthy work life balance. What a healthy work life balance looks like will be different for everyone, but some of the hallmarks include keeping hobbies outside of work, making an effort towards health and fitness, and making sure to carve out time to spend with family and friends.
But for lots of people and oftentimes the tech industry specifically, this can become unachievable due to the nature of their work environment. Forbes describes the seaming dissonance between what benefits and aid companies are willing to provide in opposition to what their employees actually want and need. In his article Work-Life Balance In Tech: It’s Not A Myth, Damian Scalerandi describes how, ”professionals are seeking out simpler benefits that support their well-being: mental health support, fitness and gym reimbursements, free childcare, tuition and educational reimbursements and generous parental leave, to name a few”. Providing benefits like these that extend outside of the office not only takes a massive weight off employees' backs, but allows them to perform better at work. Scalerandi notes its benefits on job satisfaction, employee health, and retention.
One of the major ways employers can help their IT departments is providing them with the tools they need to not only do their jobs effectively, but reduce the workload they have in the first place.
One of our missions at HubbleIQ is to help organizations reduce their IT team’s workloads by proactively detecting issues before they derail operations. With application performance monitoring, network performance management, device performance management, and a comprehensive agent dashboard, HubbleIQ reduces help desk tickets and empowers end users to address their own tech problems. Not only does this make for a smoother experience for employees regardless of job position, it helps companies provide a better experience for their end users and customers.
You can try HubbleIQ free for 14 days here, reach out to us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or set up an appointment with our co-founder Belinda Batdorf at her Calendly link here.