In today’s fast-paced society, pressure at work is unavoidable. However, while a certain amount of pressure can be beneficial to keep employees motivated, excessive pressure can lead to undue stress affecting employees’ health and work performance.
Every year for the past four years, marking National Stress Awareness Month, GFI has been conducting an IT stress survey to gauge the levels of stress of IT admins. Two thousand and fifteen (2015) levels have unfortunately shot up, especially within the UK. The below graph shows the percentage within the past four year of Yes replies to the question; “Is your job as an IT admin stressful?”
Opinion Matters, an independent insight agency, conducted the blind study by polling over 400 IT professionals from the UK and US. Every year the study aims to gauge IT admin stress levels and affect on IT admins’ lives.
When asked about how the job has impacted their personal life, only a low percentage of IT admins said that it hasn’t at all, and the trend follows the above chart closely, in reverse. The top two impacts of their jobs on their personal lives remain missing out on social functions and missing out on time with the kids, in both the UK and the US.
The World Health Organisation defines a healthy job as “likely to be one where the pressures on employees are appropriate in relation to their abilities and resources, to the amount of control they have over their work, and to the support they receive from people who matter to them.’ However, if these pressures become excessive or unmanageable this is where jobs turn into stressful ones. Unfortunately, this stress can be a detriment not only to the employee’s health but also to job performance.
When asked to point out the biggest source of stress, for the fourth time, management and end users took up half of the pie chart in both countries as the main culprits. In the UK, whilst management accounted for over 50% as the cause of stress in 2014, the number went down to 33% in 2015, with the access being transferred to lack of budgets for IT upgrades and projects.
Turning the attention to unpaid overtime those IT admins who work between 8 and 20 extra hours a week have stayed stable within the US but once again, in the UK the number shot up by more than 10% to be the highest it has been in the past four years, from 25% in 2014 to 38% in 2015.
Last year, to mark National Stress Awareness Day in the UK, The Guardian published a piece on how to deal with excessive stress at work where experts shared their views on how this can be done. Talking it out with someone seems to be the best way forward. Recognizing and acknowledging that stress is affecting you, your health and your work performance is the first step on the road to improving the situation. Talking it out with your superior comes next, and there should be no shame in admitting to what’s going on.
“Smart employers understand that an overstressed and unhappy workforce means less productivity, and the higher levels of illness, mistakes and staff turnover directly related to stress can have a very significant and direct cost to the bottom line,” explained Sergio Galindo, GM at GFI Software, when asked about his thoughts on the survey results.
Galindo continues “Investing in worker happiness and in systems to simplify the job of the IT department is often far cheaper than replacing over-stressed or unhappy staff.” However, the results point to the majority of IT admins thinking of changing career in order to get away from on-the-job stress.
With percentages, in both the US and UK, at their highest since the start of the survey, and levels in the UK reaching almost 90%, it might be a good time to start being more proactive when it comes to stress management in the workplace.
IT admins find themselves working against ever evolving threats, attacks and countless other factors outside their network. Add to that requests from management and end-users together with shrinking budgets and tighter deadlines, it’s no wonder stress levels go up.
Here at GFI Software we understand what you’re going through and every day we are working on solutions to help you out. So far over 12 million people have benefited from our software solutions which cover web, mail and network security. Click here to download the latest data and infographics for the 2015 study.