Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression are a challenge that many leaders face in the tech industry when it comes to their employees, and themselves. The new world of work presents different pressures for those working in tech, as remote working heightens the need to pay more attention to emails and internal chat software to appear visible and productive.
After conducting a study involving more than 3,000 tech employees, the BIMA Tech Inclusion & Diversity Survey revealed that:
- 66% of those working in tech are stressed by their work
- 13% feel constantly stressed by their work
- 52% have suffered from anxiety or depression at some point
- Tech employees are 5x more likely to suffer from depression than the UK average
- 43% feel there is not enough awareness and support for mental health within their company
Promoting positive mental health should be a priority for every business as a supportive work environment can help prevent work-related problems, unexpected sick leave, reduce staff turnover, improve company culture and employer branding, and ultimately create a healthier, happier workforce.
What causes mental health issues in the tech industry?
The technology industry is growing exponentially, with countless opportunities emerging every year. Due to the fantastic potential career prospects, a job in the tech industry tends to attract a younger workforce than other industries (on average, not as a hard-and-fast rule), with many having little to no experience of such a demanding environment. This fast-paced and competitive environment coupled with long hours and late nights contribute to burnout and a negative work-life balance for many tech professionals, which can lead to mental health challenges.
Other contributing factors are:
- High-stress environment
Some stress can be a motivating factor at times, however, unrelenting stress, deadlines, projects and demands can be harmful to an employee’s wellbeing.
- The nature of work in tech
Employees in the tech industry are often working towards hitting stringent targets and are under constant pressure to deliver services efficiently in a cost-effective manner.
- Industry evolution
The tech industry evolves at an incredible rate, with new innovate technology and increased digitalisation making it difficult for employees to keep up. Development in the tech industry can lead to anxieties over new work relationships, job insecurity, uncertainty over future working conditions and obsolescence of skills.
How to improve mental health in the workplace
In recent years, there has been a welcome focus on the importance of mental health in the tech sector as well as other industries. There are several supportive processes that can be implemented in your organisation to facilitate a positive work culture that will promote positive mental health and wellbeing in your team, such as:
- Communicate mental health resources
Make sure you have available resources so your workforce knows what is available to them both internally and externally. If your HR has a mental health policy, for example, ensure your team knows that and who to talk to for more information.
- Give managers a ‘toolkit’
Train and provide your employees in managerial positions with a ‘toolkit’ of standardised responses for team members who may be feeing stressed or overwhelmed. These may include authority to:
- Offer ‘time-out’ for a few minutes
- Temporarily adjust flexible working arrangements to help reduce stress factors
- Revaluate workloads, targets and goals
- Lead by example
As a leader, it is important that you set the expectations surrounding a healthy work-life balance. Demonstrate that you also take time away from your desk and turn off work-based notifications so that you’re not disturbed whilst trying to relax and unwind. Encourage employees to get fresh air on their lunch break and exercise more, whether that’s going for a walk or a run before or after work.
- Create an infrastructure that supports remote working
With a shift to a more hybrid-model of working, ensure you have practices in place to prevent feelings of isolation. Ensure managers check in with individuals every day but be aware that communication styles vary.
- Invest in an employee wellbeing scheme
Employee wellbeing schemes are different from company to company. Putting together one that suits the needs of your tech team (if they’re in office, working from home or a bit of both), and promotes wellbeing will not only improve the happiness of your team, but will help you attract great talent in the future too!
For example, tech giant Google offers an all-encompassing wellness scheme featuring onsite healthcare services, including physician, chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage services, as well as access to fitness centres, classes, and community bikes. If that’s too ambitious for your organisation, software company, Intuit, offers a “Fit for Life” programme that reimburses expenses for meditation and mindfulness classes and offers incentives for employees engaging in stress-reduction habits, like taking a walk, practicing breathing exercises, or listening to calming music.
How can we help?
Do you ever wish you had a recruitment specialist who cares as much about your business as you do? A team who can work alongside you to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction?
At Formula, we get to know you, your organisation and what you’re trying to achieve in the long-term to make sure we get you there! We source high-quality talent with a view to your current needs, and your long-term strategy.