'IS IT FRIDAY YET?'

IT Professionals Surveyed Cite Rising Workloads as Leading Source of Job Stres

May 31, 2000
12:48pm

MENLO PARK, CA -- For information technology (IT) professionals, all work and no play can dampen productivity, suggests a recent survey. More than half (55 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) polled cited rising workloads as the number one source of stress in the workplace. Office politics ranked second with 24 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by RHI Consulting, a leading specialized consulting firm that provides information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees.

CIOs were asked, "Which of the following do you think is the greatest source of workplace stress for IT professionals?" Their responses:

Rising workloads 55%
Office politics 24%
Work/life balance issues 12%
Commuting 4%
Pace of new technology 1%
Other 1%
Don't know/no answer     3%
100%

"With employment at record highs and the pace of technological advancements continuing to escalate, workloads on already understaffed IT departments are rising exponentially," said Greg Scileppi, executive director of RHI Consulting. The danger in this situation, Scileppi warns, is the risk of employee burnout. "Recognizing and taking steps to alleviate an overburdened staff can prevent turnover and allow firms to keep key IT initiatives on target," he said.

Scileppi noted that office politics can also get in the way of productivity. Nearly one in four CIOs surveyed said this is a leading source of job stress at their firms. "IT professionals are working more closely with employees throughout the enterprise, which increases the need for diplomacy and solid interpersonal skills."

Scileppi offers the following suggestions to address work-related job stress:

  • Get employees involved. Seek out individual input on ways to better manage workloads. Staff members may offer creative solutions to keep morale and productivity high.
     
  • Let workers know they count. Acknowledge and reward hard work with bonuses, special awards, recognition programs and career advancement opportunities.
     
  • Promote outside activity. Plan monthly lunchtime or after-work social gatherings with your staff to build camaraderie and provide diversions from day-to-day routines. Encourage participation in local tradeshows or user groups to keep employees involved in the industry and promote networking. Events such as these bring diversity to the workday.
     
  • Look for signs of burnout. Symptoms typically include a poor attitude, lack of enthusiasm, fatigue or increased absenteeism. If someone on your team shows signs of job stress, acknowledge your concern and try to develop a plan to ease his or her workload.
     
  • Encourage team building. To reduce the potential for misunderstandings at work, hold regular meetings to obtain progress updates on initiatives and provide a forum for team members to interact and exchange ideas. Increased communication can diffuse office politics.
     
  • Bring in outside help. Hiring additional staff -- either full-time or on a project basis -- until work levels return to normal, can relieve pressure on internal staff.

RHI Consulting provides firms with skilled IT professionals for projects ranging from e-commerce initiatives and multiplatform systems integration to help desk and network support. The company has locations throughout North America and Europe, and offers online job search services at www.rhic.com.


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