IT leaders burning out after months of supporting remote work and no PTO

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, IT workers have had to quickly become the backbone of enterprises, according to a new survey.

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Image: Tijana87, Getty Images/iStockPhoto

IT departments are struggling under the weight of an increased workload and are burning out, according to a new survey from New York City-based tech firm Electric. The company spoke with 136 IT workers and asked them questions about how their work has been impacted by the move to remote working since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world. 

Those involved in IT have played a massive role in managing the almost instantaneous switch to remote work that nearly every organization was forced to undergo in February and March. 

"At a high level, the results indicate the majority of IT professionals are left feeling burnt out as a result of working longer hours, having smaller budgets, receiving more helpdesk tickets from employees, and taking less PTO than they would have in years prior," the report said. 

"Out of the respondent IT professionals, 74% of those surveyed indicated they felt more burnt out in the form of either emotional, physical, or mental exhaustion since the start of the pandemic."

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The study found that IT workers are reporting that they have to work more hours than ever before and have taken less personal time off than ever before as well. More than 70% of respondents said they are working longer hours and 83% say they are working more than 10% more than they normally would. 

Almost half of IT workers who spoke to Electric said they have not taken any personal time off since the start of the pandemic. 

Despite the increase in work, Just 25% of respondents said their budgets have increased, and most said their funding has either stayed the same or decreased. 

Another 72% of respondents said they now have to do more at work, taking on increased responsibility that wasn't originally part of their job description. Surprisingly, nearly 70% said they had to personally go into office spaces to perform essential tasks, and of those who did, more than 80% had to do it more than one time. 

With the move to remote work and telework, IT workers are reporting far more tickets that usual, with 62% telling the survey that they have seen an increase in ticket volume since the onset of the pandemic. 

The majority of the tickets are coming from mid-level employees with another 35.5% coming from entry-level workers and 13% coming from senior officials. 

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Nearly 30% of all tickets revolve around "Hardware/Software Alerts & Managed Software Updates," and almost 17% are related to "Security and policy management." Routine virtual workstation maintenance and server management and support also garnered high numbers of tickets. 

"It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a shift to remote work that has left IT professionals feeling overworked. Moving forward, successful organizations will be the ones ensuring that their employees, especially IT professionals, do not feel burnt out. Remote work is likely going to be a large part of most companies' reality for the foreseeable future," the report said. 

"Even as parts of the economy begin to reopen in phases, many companies will still pursue a hybrid approach that combines remote work and physical office locations until a vaccine is produced—perhaps even further into the future. As a result, businesses should take the proper steps to combat burnout in order to keep their IT teams feeling productive and happy, which will, in turn, help preserve business continuity."

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