The 2020 pandemic hit the world like a freight train, forcing companies to adjust on the fly, implement new tech to facilitate collaboration and take care of their employees’ mental health.
But IT professionals faced burnout and couldn’t maintain productivity without further support from employers. So, the best companies designed flexible schedules, provided remote work, led with empathy, and supported their workers in any way possible.
Despite best efforts, tech professionals never got a break—not even post-pandemic. The world over-demanded their skills during COVID-19, especially for environments that supported first responders like police stations and healthcare facilities, then they experienced sky-high anxiety as nearly every major tech organization laid off workers by the masses. And now? They’re dealing with whispers about Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing them.
Tech professionals who power our companies deserve a break. With the arrival of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re sharing tips on how you can prioritize your tech employees’ mental health and support them during trying times… once again.
Happy Employees, Happy Business?
The benefits of taking care of your employees are well-known. From increased productivity and resilience to improved focus and morale, employees who receive the mental health support they need contribute more effectively to your business.
In short, if you support your tech professionals and their well-being, they will do the same for you.
Are You Taking Care of Your Tech Workers’ Mental Health?
More PTO days and flexible schedules are a good start, but we’ve rounded up six more impactful ways to show your tech teams that their mental health matters.
1. Be Vulnerable With Your Team
We’ve made tremendous strides in destigmatizing mental health, but still have a ways to go. You can lead the charge by being vulnerable with your team and sharing your mental health challenges.
Forrester Research analyst Arielle Trzcinski encourages opening up to your team—especially as an IT leader—to make mental health approachable and promote camaraderie.
Imagine sharing that you are taking a mental health day because you’re overwhelmed with tight deadlines. You’ve opened the door for conversations with your team about burnout, their stress levels, and what you can do to promote their well-being.
2. Empathize With Your IT Team
After nearly burning out, worrying about their jobs amid mass tech layoffs, and now stressing about competing with AI, tech professionals need mental health support and empathy more than ever.
Recognize the immense pressure they’re under and empathize by:
- Initiating more flexible working policies
- Encouraging them to take breaks throughout the day to decompress
- Reducing the number of (virtual) meetings
- Checking in and asking questions like, “I know this project is a heavy ask. How can I help lessen your workload?”
3. Recognize the Signs of Struggling Employees
Can you tell when your tech team is overwhelmed or experiencing high work stress? Take time to recognize common indicators that something might be off, like exhaustion, slouching, lower productivity, and focus, or fidgeting.
Once you identify signs of stress, be proactive and share resources or start a conversation about how you can help your over-stressed employees.
4. Promote and Share Resources
If tech workers are unaware of the resources available to them, how can they take advantage? Share resources with your team, including details like how much they cost, any subscriptions the company provides (therapy and meditation apps), or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services the business offers.
Studies show your employees want you to give them details about mental health support and programs offered through work. Give them what they want while simultaneously promoting their well-being.
5. Take Mental Health Services Digital
Everything is online or in an app these days—it’s what customers expect, and mental health services are no different. CIO.com suggests working alongside Human Resources to choose virtual therapy and mental health platforms like Talkspace and other well-being tools.
Not only do digital tools give your employees options, but they also let them choose what approach to take. Annastiina Hintsa of Hintsa Performance touches on why digital tools have changed well-being in the workplace: Digital tools make mental health support more accessible, and the threshold to start dealing with mental health challenges is low.
6. Lead by Example
Are you taking time off, discussing burnout and stress, and taking care of yourself? Employees follow by example, so, as a leader, you need to mimic what you expect from your tech team.
Think about the airplane situation. If the oxygen masks fall, you have to put your mask on first before you tend to others. Show tech workers you prioritize your well-being and encourage them to fill their proverbial cups. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Hiring IT Talent?
It’s not easy being a tech professional right now; it hasn’t been since the pandemic. They’ve managed high demand during the pandemic, navigated mass layoffs, and now they’re trying to cope with AI.
If you’re hiring, recognize everything they’ve been through and prioritize supporting their emotional and physical well-being. These tips are a great starting point.
If you need an empathetic, people-first approach to hiring top-quality IT talent, Prosum can help. Contact us to find and hire talent and learn how you can support your team’s mental health.