Do you work in the tech field and feel burned out? If so, you’re not alone. One study revealed that two in five professionals are at high risk of burnout; in the tech industry, it’s more than half. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and workers shifted to working from home, lots of tech professionals got more stressed, not less.
But why are tech professionals so strung out? What can you do to fight it? Read on to learn more.
What Is Tech Burnout?
Tech burnout occurs when employees in the tech industry experience extreme exhaustion and stress. Although burnout has always been a problem in many industries, around 68% of tech employees feel more burned out than they did when they worked at an office. Due to the recent focus on mental health, organizations are now trying to address the issue.
What’s Causing Burnout in the Tech Field?
Tech worker burnout occurred well before the COVID-19 pandemic, with teams dealing with poor managerial relationships, lack of support, and a staggering workload. After the pandemic, online meetings became an all-inclusive presence in the remote workspace, making virtual meeting fatigue common. This change has left many hybrid and remote tech employees mentally and physically drained from hours on camera in the same chair.
Common Signs of Tech Burnout
Here are some of the signs of tech burnout:
1. Negative Self-Evaluation
If you feel like you’re working all the time and accomplishing nothing, or if you think everything you do is wrong, then this may be a sign of tech burnout. Some other signs may include:
- Thinking catastrophic thoughts
- Feeling inadequate in your job
- A sense of your hard work not making a difference
2. Chronic Exhaustion
Do you feel tired or have little energy — barely able to get up in the morning, are firing only two cylinders and completely wiped out at the end of the day? Then, this might be a sign of tech worker burnout.
Usually, when you have a hard day, you can bounce back after some downtime or rest—as your phone’s batteries get recharged. If you have chronic exhaustion, however, it’s like the charge is all gone and it’s hard for you to get it back.
3. Extreme Cynicism
Do you feel like your negative thoughts or feelings about work crowd out the positive ones? Do you feel like nobody appreciates your work, everything is dreadful and nothing will change?
Although some might dismiss the “cynical tech professional” as a cliche, cynicism is a sign of burnout. If you see your work as a glass half empty—or devoid of water—it may be time to question if it indicates a bigger problem.
Cynicism can manifest in several ways, including:
- A lack of enthusiasm at work
- Being snarky
- Feeling disillusioned
How to Prevent and Combat Tech Burnout
Combating tech worker burnout can be very stressful and impair your ability to perform as an employee. Here are some actionable tips for recovering from tech burnout and cutting down job-related stress:
1. Communicate with Your Supervisor or Manager
Discussing workplace issues with your supervisor or manager can help prevent burnout and promote a harmonious work environment. Consider letting your supervisor or manager know about your stress level. This can help them understand how you work as an employee and pave the way for honest and open communication between you and your employer.
When communicating with your supervisor or manager, make sure to be clear about what’s causing you stress and how they can help you reduce it. Is the assignment brief too vague? Do you need more time to complete a task? Is another member of the team failing to communicate effectively?
You can also be proactive about the problem by providing your supervisor or manager with any solutions you might have.
2. Implement Clear Boundaries
Be clear about the volume of workload you can handle as an employee. This can lessen the chances of getting overwhelmed by your workload. It’s also important to inform your manager when you need to take a break or leave the office.
3. Take Advantage of Paid Time Off
Taking time off is essential in preventing tech worker burnout, as it allows you to mentally reset and boosts productivity when you get back to work. During your time off, unplug completely to get the rest you deserve. Before you leave for PTO, however, ensure that someone covers your tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed when you get back to work.
4. Address Virtual Fatigue Head-On
Virtual fatigue refers to the feeling of exhaustion that follows a video conference call. This exhaustion may be because work-related virtual meetings usually require considerable mental and physical preparation before the meeting. Not every virtual meeting, however, will be critical for you to attend.
To prevent virtual fatigue, determine which meetings are necessary for you to attend and which are not. Avoiding these unnecessary meetings gives you more time to focus on important tasks and allows you to have a less hectic schedule. You can also prevent virtual fatigue by deciding when to turn off your webcam.
5. Work for a Company that Values You
If you share your company’s values, you’re more likely to feel a sense of fellowship or loyalty in the workplace. When working for an organization that shares values that align with yours, you tend to feel more committed to your work and more interested in the organization’s success.
Combat Tech Burnout
If you notice the signs of tech worker burnout, it’s your body telling you that something isn’t right and needs to change. Fortunately, burnout and stress are remediable and acknowledgment is the first step to dealing with them.
You can combat burnout by equipping yourself with data science skills. These skills can help you complete tasks efficiently.
The Data Incubator provides an immersive data science bootcamp where you can learn from experts to develop the skills you need to excel in the world of data.
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- Data Science Bootcamp: This provides you with an immersive, hands-on experience. It helps you master in-demand skills to start your career in data science.
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