Managing IT Job Stress
Managing the Stress of Working in IT
We get it! Working in tech and IT can be super stressful. In our line of work as a hardware solution provider, our jobs include many different aspects of IT, from support and implementation to customer service, so we can understand how important it is to get a handle on stress.
The M Global help desk team members weigh in on their perspectives as to what makes tech jobs stressful, ways to lessen workplace stress, and their go-to stress management techniques. (The M Global help desk also has a "meme team" that finds or comes up with all our memes — see stress management tip #5).
Why are IT jobs so stressful?
Different types of IT jobs can come with their own set of pressures. Positions focusing on support and troubleshooting can have constant anxiety as they wait for something to break. Tech jobs that involve a lot of customer service can come with the worry of keeping clients happy and managing expectations. Those who focus on IT implementation have their own concerns, as they must constantly learn new things while meeting set deadlines. Regardless of your job focus, the following stressors are common across IT jobs.
Fix The Problem Now
Maybe this sounds familiar — nothing is happening, and then boom! The world falls apart. You have the shortest time possible to get everything back together. The nature of many jobs in the tech industry involves fixing something that is failing or figuring out a solution as fast as possible. The unpredictability of dealing with unforeseen issues and not knowing what will happen and why can be pretty stressful. Add on even more pressure if there is a knowledge gap and you need to become an expert asap (what do you mean you don't know everything there is to know about tech just because you happen to work in IT??)
Nontraditional Hours & Overtime
Depending on the type of IT job, you may find that the typical 9-5 Monday through Friday work week is not in the cards for you, especially if support is part of your job description. Being on-call can be stressful, even if nothing actually goes wrong on your shift. When something does go wrong, you can count on long hours and plenty of overtime until the job is completed.
Working With People Is Hard
We all bring our unique and curious mix of skills, personalities, ideas, and emotions to work with us every day. Even in the best possible work environment, there are bound to be a few hiccups. For those working in IT, it can be a little extra tricky since the job often involves working with people who are experiencing a problem and/or are already stressed. Conflicting priorities and different communication styles can complicate matters even further.
Have you ever felt exhausted after a long day at work — like you ran a marathon even though your backside hasn't left your office chair for 12 hours straight? Your brain has been hard at work troubleshooting, problem-solving, and all the things, but your body has not moved in hours. So why do you feel so tired? Studies have shown that thinking hard for extended periods can cause a build-up of toxic byproducts in your brain, affecting your decision-making skills. When you've reached that level of mental exhaustion, you're more likely to make impulsive decisions and choose low-cost actions that require less effort. No surprise there! The fix — old-fashioned rest and sleep.
Make Your IT Job Less Stressful
Switching jobs won't necessarily guarantee less stress. So what can you do to make the job you have less stressful? We've got a few ideas to get you started.
Keep People In the Loop — Things get missed, but if people reply all, more people will have eyes on it to help make sure things do not get overlooked.
Don't Ignore Hardware Problems — If you see an alert, address it. Don't wait for something to stop working.
Read the Whole Email — Don't miss out on critical information, and don't be stingy in giving out information. Answer all the questions.
In the immortal battle between sales and tech, finding common ground and working together is possible (it's our M Global superpower!) A collaborative team environment can relieve stress and prevent tension from taking root.
Sales - If you live on the sales side of the fence, be sure you understand the product or service you are working with. Understanding the details of the system and what's possible will help you manage the customer's knowledge and expectations effectively.
Tech - For those on the tech side, be proactive in fostering open lines of communication. Respond quickly to questions from team members and be generous with information that could be useful.
Stress Management Tips from the M Global Help Desk
Since we know a thing or two about dealing with IT and tech-related stress, the M Global help desk team put together some of their favorite ways to relieve work stress and be a normal human again.
1. Move It — Exercise Your Stress Away
Endorphins anyone? Physical activity boosts those feel-good endorphins while reducing stress hormones. Yes, please. Exercise is one of the most effective stress management tips out there. Besides improving overall health, it can boost your mood and sleep and even lessen mild symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Whether you do a full workout at the gym or a 20-minute walk, moving your body can work wonders for your stress levels. Go-to workouts for the M Global crew include jogging, pickleball, hiking, biking, and skiing.
2. Don't Worry About Stuff You Can't Control
There are probably going to be a million and one things to think about and take care of on any given workday. So why give brain space to stuff you have no control over? Focus instead on the things you can do something about. You'll be able to cross a few things off your to-do list and probably boost your mood in the process.
3. Video Games Can Bust Stress
Another favorite stress-busting tip from M Global team members is playing video games. One engineer says it makes the perfect transition from work to "real life," helping your brain to stop thinking (aka worrying) about work. Silencing your inner work critic with an endorphin rush is pretty cathartic.
Some M Global favorites include Super Mario World, Zelda, Destiny, Fortnite, Resident Evil, Hades, Call of Duty, Hollow Knight, Ori, and the old-school, Coleco Electronic Quarterback.
Tip: One M Global employee likes to play Slay the Spire while jogging on the treadmill — a 2-for-1 stress-busting technique. Just be careful not to fall off the treadmill!
4. Go Outside & Get a Life
Don't be the stereotypical IT person locked in the basement never seeing the light of day. Embrace the outdoors. Go for a walk, take up gardening, raise chickens, or run a marathon — anything that gets you outside the four walls of your office.
Engage in social activities (look at you busting another stereotype!) Drink the good stuff, hang out with friends, coach a sports team — anything that helps you get out of your work head and interact with other humans. It's all about enjoying life and not getting too caught up thinking only about work.
A few M Global favorite activities include hiking, biking, skiing, jogging, gardening, hanging out with friends, coaching sports teams (basketball, soccer, baseball), & lawn bowling.
5. Laugh It Off
Who doesn't love a good laugh? Sure, it feels good, but did you know that laughing can produce physical changes in your body (the health-boosting, stress-reducing kind). Laughing increases your oxygen intake (like when you laugh so hard you are left gulping air?) and stimulates your circulation. It even helps with muscle relaxation and releases our old friends, endorphins. Notice how several of our tips engage endorphins? It's because those beauties work wonders on stress levels. At M Global, we love to laugh and have a good time. While we take our work seriously, we try not to take ourselves too seriously.
6. Get Hardware Support With M Global
If any part of your work stress revolves around hardware failures, hardware procurement, or other common IT-related issues, it's kind of a no-brainer to get hardware support from us. We've got you covered - you can get on with being a human being again. Watch the full Office Hero video to find out how M Global can help bring calm to the chaos.
By Angie Stephens with contributions from experts at M Global.
M Global Can Help!
M Global is in the business of providing solutions. We want you to consider us an extension of your team, a trusted resource and advisor. Call us today at 855-304-4600 to find out more.