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In the 1970s, psychologist Herbert Freudenberger coined the term “burnout” to describe the impact that severe stress can have. Since then, burnout has been further studied and discussed, and, in 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as an occupational phenomenon, a syndrome that is the result of chronic work-related stress. Symptoms can be wide ranging but most manifest as exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and reduced professional performance.
One sector where employees experience a significant level of burnout is the IT workplace. Professionals working in this high-pressure environment contend with long hours, continued responsiveness, cybersecurity issues, tight deadlines, repetitive tasks and extended screen time. These can all impact a person’s well-being.
So, with technology being a vital part of the modern world and a rewarding career for those working in the industry, what can you do to avoid IT burnout?
Recognizing Career Burnout Symptoms
The first step to learning how to avoid or prevent IT burnout is to recognize the symptoms and identify the root causes of these symptoms. This can equip IT professionals with the tools they need to get their career and well-being back on track. Anyone can experience career burnout and not realize the impact it’s having on their health, so it’s good to be aware of the symptoms.
Workplace burnout symptoms can include the following:
- Physical and emotional exhaustion
- Feelings of absenteeism and cynicism
- Reduced work performance and poor productivity
- A loss of enthusiasm and motivation for work
- Memory and concentration issues
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Increased feelings of restlessness and anxiety
- Feeling emotionally distant or numb.
If these symptoms sound familiar, it’s a good idea to take a look at what the underlying factors could be. These may be hard to identify, especially for those who are experiencing multiple symptoms. But it’s important to consider what needs to change to recover as, if left unaddressed, burnout can lead to deeper health issues.
Identifying the Causes of and Solutions for Burnout
Many factors can lead workers to experience career burnout, but identifying the main causes can help them find solutions. Common causes include dysfunctional or toxic relationships with colleagues, lack of career development, poor work-life balance, long hours and a high-pressure working environment.
Professionals dealing with IT burnout may experience multiple workplace triggers at the same time. In this situation, employees can try facing one challenge at a time rather than trying to tackle all the issues at once. For example, if a lack of career development is the main issue, employees may consider enrolling on a technology degree. This can lead to opportunities for career development or help employees realize they are passionate about a different area of IT than the one they initially entered.
University of Phoenix Degrees
University of Phoenix offers numerous online technology-related bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science, cybersecurity, data science, information technology and security management. While a bachelor’s degree can serve as an entry point into higher education in a specific niche, a master’s degree can give graduates the chance to further develop and refine their skills and knowledge to expand their career path. What’s more, University of Phoenix’s flexible start dates and online classes make it possible for students to study around their other commitments, whether work-related, childcare-related or otherwise.
If committing to a degree isn’t currently possible, employees looking to switch up their careers can consider studying for an undergraduate certificate. University of Phoenix offers many undergraduate certificates in technology that allow students to enhance their skills in a shorter amount of time than the time required to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Certificates can also place students in a good position to study higher-level degrees in future.
Putting the Well in Well-Being
If the cause of IT burnout is a heavy workload or a work-life imbalance, there are often several solutions. Firstly, employees can ensure they take their full allocated work breaks, ideally away from the desk or workspace, perhaps by going for a walk or meeting a friend who works nearby.
It’s also a good idea for IT professionals to reduce their screen time and use of digital devices outside work hours, perhaps by taking up a non-digital hobby such as running, gardening or painting.
Another key burnout management tip is to practice positive social time. Spending quality time with family and friends can help those coping with burnout maintain healthy relationships and social interaction, which can combat loneliness or isolation.
It’s also a good idea to check in on health habits. A heavy workload may mean eating on the run or disrupted sleep patterns. Eating nutritious food, exercising regularly and getting the recommended amount of sleep can help employees maintain a balanced life and good well-being.
Implement Management Techniques to Avoid Career Burnout
Occupational burnout can manifest in anyone and any industry if workplace stress goes unchecked and unmanaged. Recognizing when change is necessary and implementing these changes will not only protect your health now but put you in a stronger position to work effectively in the long run.
Get more advice on how to overcome and prevent IT burnout from University of Phoenix.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is dedicated to advancing the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners and to helping students navigate degree programs that are best suited to their interests. The University’s degree programs are aligned with numerous in-demand career paths including in, nursing and business. The University provides flexible start dates, online classes and numerous scholarship opportunities to make it possible for all students to earn the degree they require to get ahead in their careers.
In addition, University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the resources needed to be competitive in the workforce for no additional charge. These services include resume and interview support, career guidance, education and networking opportunities.