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Companies are at Risk of Losing 1 in 4 IT Professionals Due to Poor Work-Life Balance

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Companies are at Risk of Losing 1 in 4 IT Professionals Due to Poor Work-Life Balance

The State of IT Work-Life Balance Report reveals that underneath the business surface is an always-on culture that threatens the retention of key personnel.

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Managers have little to no visibility into their teams' difficult on-call periods.

Thanks to Ophir Ronen, Head of Digital Insights at PagerDuty for talking me through the findings of its inaugural research on the State of IT Work-Life Balance, which found that companies are at risk of losing a quarter of their incident responders and IT professionals to a new job as a result of poor work-life balance. As a former developer, Ophir admitted that the results confirmed a lot of what he and his colleagues expected.

IT operations has always been about the telemetry of machines, not people. Hopefully, the results of this survey will convince organizations to worry about the telemetry of their people as well as part of the Human Ops movement.

The report findings are based on three separate surveys of over 800 IT professionals in development, operations and management roles in the US, Australia, and the UK, countries at the forefront of digital operations management. The surveys further reveal that IT teams, particularly managers, have little to no visibility in knowing when their teams are experiencing a difficult on-call period.  

The study indicates that although many IT professionals agree their work-life balance isn’t the greatest, they believe it’s just part of the job and accept the disproportionate time commitment involved. With the cost of replacing just one skilled responder reaching $300,000 or more, the return on investment by focusing on improving the health of responders and minimizing employee churn adds to a company’s bottom line.

“As organizations continue to integrate digital across their business, the demands of scale and speed places unprecedented pressure on IT professionals to maintain a quality customer experience,” said Jennifer Tejada, CEO at PagerDuty. “Using technology to transform the business operations to meet those demands is simply not enough. Building a company that crushes the competition requires businesses to continually guard and improve their employee Operations Health and ensures IT Operations teams perform at their best.”

The Digital Disruption Dilemma

In today’s always on world, incident responders must be prepared to engage at any time of the day and initiate remediation efforts if something goes wrong with a critical system.

  • In the US, nearly half (49 percent) reported their sleep or personal life is interrupted between 11 and 30 times a week.

  • Nearly a quarter of all IT professionals (24.9 percent) believe these interruptions adversely affect their work productivity enough to make their jobs unmanageable at times, which leaves companies with an elevated risk of employee attrition.

  • Almost 1 in 4 respondents (23.1 percent) reported they are more likely to look for a new job as a result of poor work-life balance.

The Effects of Managing Always-On Digital Services

The inability to manage stress was rated as the number one side-effect of poor work-life balance across all regions. US IT professionals were found to be less able to manage stress compared to their Australian and UK counterparts.

  • Nearly all (94 percent) of IT professionals surveyed who indicated that they are responsible for the management of always-on digital services, said their role impacts their family life. 94.5 percent of IT professionals also believe it impacts their work productivity.

  • IT workers in the US indicated they are most impacted by the management of always-on digital services, with 32 percent indicating this pain point, versus 21.9 percent in the UK and 21.1 percent in Australia.

Visibility Matters

The report showed that a manager’s visibility into their team's on-call experience may also impact an IT professional's overall perception of their work-life balance. Survey results point to a higher risk of employee turnover from respondents who reported their managers have little to no visibility in knowing when they are experiencing a difficult on-call period.

  • 72.0 percent of IT professionals indicated their managers have little to no visibility in knowing when they are experiencing a difficult on-call period. In the US, 61.7 percent of respondents said their managers have little to no visibility into their on-call periods leading to a disconnect in understanding employee duress and subsequent churn risk.

  • Of the respondents who said their managers have slight to no visibility into their difficult on-call period, nearly 1 in 5 (18.1 percent) rated their work-life balance as fair to poor. Almost a quarter of the same respondents (24 percent) reported they are more likely to look for a new job as a result of poor work-life balance.

  • Over half (54.8 percent) of respondents who reported that their managers have slight to no visibility, also said their practices and tools are only somewhat reliable for ensuring their teams are engaged in their work and thriving in their roles

“IT professionals shouldn’t need to search for a new opportunity once their current job becomes unmanageable or too stressful,” said Howard Wilson, Chief Commercial Officer, PagerDuty. “Organizations should adopt solutions and services to proactively monitor and manage the health and wellness of their developer and IT Operations teams as the ROI is clear. These practices can offer insights into difficult on-call periods, improve IT’s well-being and, most importantly, reduce an organization’s rate of employee churn.”

“Just like poor visibility into application and infrastructure impacts IT’s ability to improve performance, so does a lack of visibility into team workloads impacts your ability to retain an effective response team,” said Nancy Gohring, senior analyst at 451 Research. “New approaches to gaining insight into the experience of IT teams should help leaders better manage incident response and ultimately reduce staff burnout.”

The complete 2018 State of IT Work-Life Balance is available for download.

Download this eBook to learn how to prepare your business for agile adoption, how to ensure the proper business-IT collaboration that is critical for agile development, and how to choose the right stakeholders to increase productivity and enable accelerated time-to-value.

Topics:
developer life ,agile ,work life balance ,employee attrition ,employee retention

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