How To Improve the Work Life Balance in Tech
05/26/22 by Motion Recruitment
Creating an environment that improves employees' work life balance is at the forefront of many tech business leaders' minds in the past year. With the Tech Talent Shortage only becoming more pronounced and the effects of The Great Resignation still being felt in tech industries across North America, companies that are promoting conditions that allow workers time to grow both in and out of the office are the ones that are seeing better retention rates.
This is shown in the data, with 95% of human resource leaders saying employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention, and over half of workers saying they have missed important life events because of work commitments. It’s gotten to the point where the World Health Organization has classified Burnout as an “occupational phenomenon.”
However, while many thought that a transition to working from home could solve the work life balance problem, for many that simply was not the case. 65% of Americans said they are working longer hours now working at home, with 70% saying they are struggling to maintain a healthy work life balance. So how can the tech community head towards achieving a better work life balance? No matter where you are in your career, there are steps you can take. Tech in Motion, our community and events platform, recently outlined how managers can help improve employee mental health, and you can read those tips here. However, there are individual choices everyone can make to improve their work life balance.
Take a Break
As time has gone on, some things that were at one time common and universal have become relics of the past. Smoke breaks and water cooler talk are no longer part of many office environments; while there are good reasons for those changes, what was list was the time away from work during the day to relax and reinvigorate yourself. Taking micro-breaks throughout the day has been shown to help reduce stress and improve performance during the day.
In the same vein, actually taking PTO and unplugging from work for a vacation is something many in the tech community are concerned about doing, but does in fact help productivity in the long term. Only 57% of a survey of American workers said they used their PTO, and it has been shown those who don’t take any personal time are far more likely to experience burnout and decreased productivity. Tech workers should take advantage of PTO offered guilt-free and come back refreshed after their time away.
Separate Time and Space
While tech jobs were ahead of the curve when it came to remote work, it has become even more common. However, even with the increased acceptance of working from home, many workers are still dealing with the same issues that have plagued the rise of remote work.
The melding of work-life and home-life can be dangerous and quickly lead to burnout. Tech employees working from home should set strong boundaries between the two, including things like having a specific space only for work. While having remote work brings a lot more flexibility to how and when work can get done and work around things like picking up the kids after work, blocking out work time will help avoid distractions like chores around the house. When the work hours are done, don’t fall into the “just this last thing” trap and keep working. Turn off the computer for the day and get away from the workspace.
The Power of No
One of the quickest ways to burnout is to say yes to everything and end up being overloaded with tasks. Especially when starting out at a new company, it’s difficult to say no when asked to do something. That being said, it’s a fine line between being a team player and becoming a detriment by saying yes to too much and ending up holding back the team and becoming more stressed and frustrated as an individual as well.
Saying no to a task isn’t letting anyone down, it helps a manager know when you’re at max capacity and ensures that you don’t become overloaded to the point of becoming unproductive.
As tech workers continue to grow their careers, feeling the burden to always be on and available at all times can actually become counter-productive. Making an effort to create a proper work life balance can lead to successful and healthy growth in all facets of life. For more trends and expert insights in the tech workplace, download the 2022 Tech Salary Guide.