Written by:
Iain Brook

Digitalisation linked to increase in burnout among software engineers

The pandemic has kicked digitalisation into overdrive – and it’s software engineers who are feeling the heat as they play a vital role in moving businesses online. I saw an interesting survey this week which backs this up…

A whopping 83% of the software engineers, developers and DevOps professionals interviewed by Survation on behalf of DevOps company Haystack, said they were suffering from some degree of burnout. And 81% said COVID-19 was to blame.

I guess it’s fairly obvious why so many software engineers are at the end of their tether – during the pandemic the push towards digital has basically been put on steroids. When we go into a coffee shop, we scan a QR code to check in, more of our purchases have been moved online, and a lot of the media we consume has also moved onto digital platforms.

Software engineers have been at the forefront of enabling this digitalisation, and it’s starting to take its toll.

Employers failing to mitigate against burnout

The good news is that employers seem to be getting better when it comes to spotting the signs of burnout. Almost 80% of the respondents felt that management is able to quickly detect burnout in their workplace, at least to some extent.

Obviously, just identifying burnout isn’t the same as actually helping employees who are suffering from it. Some managers are able to detect burnout, but they aren’t able to act on it, often because their companies don’t have clear guidelines on best practice.

To guard against burnout, employers should at least be doing the basics – we’ve introduced flexible hours and remote working to help our work/life balance, and my manager checks in with us to make sure we’re taking our full holiday allocation. Little things go a long way!

What does this mean for recruiters and HR professionals?

Burnout is sabotaging employee retention. So, if you’re working hard to make great hires, you’ve got to put the same energy into protecting your employees from being overstretched. It’s also down to every one of us to spot the signs when a colleague might be struggling.



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