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How tech leaders can reduce workplace burnout

Acceleration Economy Cyber ​​Security

Burnout is becoming a serious problem across the software and cybersecurity industry. Faced with less free time amid a continuing tech talent shortage, despite grappling with new digital pressures spurred by the pandemic and facing layoffs in other areas Many engineers who do report feeling overwhelmed and over-allocated. Other factors such as unnecessary effort and legacy technology debt can also reduce morale. As a result, developers are becoming more and more open to leaving their jobs.

Burnout is particularly worrisome in cybersecurity, where alert fatigue and human error can lead to serious breaches that tarnish a company’s image. A recent survey found that nearly half of cybersecurity incident responders have experienced burnout or extreme stress levels in the past year.

I recently spoke with David Bennett, CEO of Object First, an object-based storage backup startup, about the role of burnout in today’s tech landscape, its causes, and possible solutions.

Main Causes of Burnout Syndrome

Over the past few years, we’ve seen big changes in how people work and how they work. First and foremost, the pandemic has forced most knowledge workers into remote positions, and many have stayed there, either by choice or by policy. But in this new normal, he’s no longer like 9:5, explains Bennett. Instead, people are always on. “It doesn’t matter if the company is big or small. A developer, an IT admin, and he can never have enough hours in a day,” Bennett said. “It’s felt at every level of the organization.”

As far back as last summer, the press continued to report massive resignations that disrupted the tech industry. Also, the current economic uncertainty from the war and the lingering impact of the pandemic have led to job cuts at many tech companies and start-ups, leading to voluntary and involuntary outflows from major tech hubs. There are also signs. Leaders faced with these harsh realities need to pause to think differently about their current employees and how their companies operate, he said. Otherwise, they face an uphill battle to retain their talent and stay competitive.

Advantages of snuff out burnout

Reducing IT team burnout has many benefits. First, it improves employee satisfaction by allocating more time to family, friends and personal activities. “If you create a great environment and make it easy to work outside the office, you can do great work at the company,” he says Bennett. Employee happiness correlates quickly with customer happiness. Satisfied customers become advocates for your products and services.

Here not only your comfort of play is at stake, but also your safety. Unaddressed burnout can have serious consequences for cybersecurity, and the biggest problem is often human error. “Overworked, overstressed security or IT management teams [is] You’re going to miss the basics,” said Bennett. Such oversights can lead to secrets, misconfigurations, or hidden vulnerabilities in software libraries that can be exploited.

A third big reason for reducing burnout has to do with employee retention. Bennett points out that new generations entering the workplace are paying more attention to their outside lives than ever before. These people strongly believe in their time, their hobbies, and their meaningful relationships. However, many American companies are still unaware of this. “The United States is going to have a big challenge compared to other countries that understand that,” Bennett said.

Strategies to reduce burnout

So how can we reduce burnout in programming and security circles? Here are some ideas.

Bring etiquette back into the workplace. Respecting employees’ working hours is essential. Video calls have been creeping in early mornings and late nights, but neither side should extend their working hours. Leaders have to pull the plug to create the standard. This could mean shifting the schedule back and forth to suit the employee’s time zone, Bennett said. “Let’s bring etiquette back to video calling”

Promoting outside activities with “Down Days”. Provide enough PTO so team members have time to do what they love. Giving people time to deal with their non-work life is necessary to reduce stress and have a positive impact on morale, Bennett said. He recommends encouraging “down days,” where employees switch off completely to do what they love, such as biking, fishing, woodworking, or other activities.

Understand the reality of remote work life. Businesses need to be spatially aware that people live lives beyond work. Especially in a remote work environment. New stressors enter his work and his life remotely, such as children, health care, household chores, and dog care. Companies need to make it clear to their employees that they understand these realities and avoid punishing them for paying attention to them.

A more flexible PTO. In Western culture, there is an expectation that PTO should be piled up and used in bursts. Ironically, as intended, people are using the PTO less and less.Employees may even feel pressure from management No Using their PTO. Bennett said the solution is a more flexible and less restrictive approach to his PTO that puts more trust in workers’ judgment. Managers must be aware that they want their employees to take time off.

value the output to create rather than what it is. Historically, IT performance has been measured by the number of tickets answered, hours worked, or points achieved in a sprint. However, these quantitative metrics unnecessarily burden any target.Instead the value should be measured by the output to create“The question you should ask is, ‘How many problems have you solved?’ And ‘How many problems have you prevented from recurring?'” Bennett said.

The CEO should dictate top-down change. Bennett encourages management to enact top-down change. “You have to start with the CEO.” Part of this is throwing away the old-school hierarchy of corporate America. Object First gets around this by engaging engineers more often in short “water cooler” meetings coordinated by his Donut plugin in Slack.

The economy may be accelerating all the time, but that doesn’t mean individuals have to keep accelerating constantly. Bennett says change is really filtered from the top to create the DNA of great companies. And this transformation he is not just related to IT and security, it could permeate multiple departments.

final thoughts

In a nutshell, Bennett asks executives to instill a healthy work-life balance, build a more understanding management team, and use the team’s input on what’s important to measure in terms of success. advocating that. Doing this can help reduce burnout and make people feel part of something bigger.

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Acceleration Economy Cyber ​​Security

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