Famed Oasis front man Noel Gallagher once said: I work to live; I don’t live to work. For too many of us in the tech sector, we’ve been living to work during the pandemic. Longer hours, more stress and demanding work expectations have ushered in a mental health crisis. Research from Harvey Nash Group found that 75% more tech workers are concerned about the state of their mental health compared to before the pandemic.
Digital transformation accelerated in dramatic ways in 2020 and is set to continue this year. This has left CIOs and tech workers with a backlog of pressing projects to be completed faster than ever before. There’s been little to no time to celebrate successes or pause for a break. It’s only a matter of time before burnout becomes the norm.
As we adapt and change the way we work and begin introducing hybrid workplaces and virtual-first models, it’s incumbent upon all of us to speak up about creating a healthy environment that prioritises having the space to rest and recharge.
How can companies put the well-being of employees first?
- Create boundaries. The workday has a start and end time. Follow it. Don’t encourage working before or after hours or during holidays or weekends.
- Take a mental health day. Be generous with paid time off and create a culture that supports stepping away from work whenever it’s necessary for a few hours, a week or longer.
- Give people a break. Create a schedule that has built-in breaks and a lunch hour. Limit the need for remote workers to be on video all of the time.
- Lead by example. Top leadership sets the tone. Log out, turn off collaboration tools and notifications, and show your teams that it’s healthy to keep work and personal life separate.
Above all, patience is necessary. We’ve all been through a great deal of abrupt change. We need to be patient with ourselves and each other so that we can find a way forward that supports our emotional well-being. And let’s not forget to recognise and appreciate all the people that work tirelessly to keep us connected and productive whether we’re working from home or in an office.
We see you and we thank you!