TEKsystems Survey Finds IT Professionals Setting Firmer Boundaries for Work-Related Stress and Work/Life Balance

Annual Survey Indicates IT Workers Experiencing Lower Stress Levels and Having Higher Expectations for Work-Free Vacations; Sleeplessness and Anxiety Highest Stress-Related Side-Effects

TEKsystems' IT Worker Stress Test and Work/Life Balance Infographic (Graphic: Business Wire)

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HANOVER, Md.--()--In advance of the unofficial start of summer, TEKsystems®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions and IT services, today released the results of its annual IT Worker Stress Test and Work/Life Balance survey which explores IT professionals’ current levels of stress and health effects, expected accessibility and ability to disconnect from work responsibilities. Formerly known as Stress and Pride, the survey results point to an environment where IT workers have placed limits on the levels of stress they are willing to accept and increased expectations for a reasonable work/life balance, including the ability to unplug during vacations.

Key highlights from the survey include:

Stress Levels Stable; Unlimited Accessibility Expectations Fall; Majority Willing to Sacrifice Pay for Less Stress

                   
“I consider the work I am currently doing to be the most stressful of my career.”     2015     2016     2017
Agree     12%     16%     14%
Neither agree nor disagree     26%     24%     25%
Disagree     62%     60%     61%
                   
During a normal work week, I’m expected to be accessible:     2015     2016     2017
24/7 – No excuses     13%     18%     9%
6 a.m. to midnight     5%     6%     5%
6 a.m. to 8 p.m.     17%     14%     19%
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.     65%     62%     67%
                   
Has stress at work ever…(percent answering “yes”)     2015     2016     2017
Motivated you to seek employment elsewhere?     58%     58%     66%
Made you consider taking a new, less stressful job for less pay?     44%     43%     51%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Stress levels remain consistent, with the majority of IT professionals, 6 in 10, reporting they are less stressed now than at any point in their careers, with 83 percent of respondents reporting they would still choose IT as a career. This is certainly aided by the fact that almost 70 percent of those polled report they are only expected to be accessible during traditional working hours, indicating a good work/life balance. This, coupled with the extremely low unemployment rate in IT, may be why 66 percent would seek other employment if stress became an issue, and why at least half would do so for less pay.

Three-Quarters Experience Work-Related Stress; Sleeplessness and Anxiety Top Health Side-Effects

         
Percent indicating they suffer from work-related stress       2017
Job factors increasing stress levels       72%
Stress levels not affected by work       28%
                     
What is the MOST stressful part of being an IT professional?   2015       2016       2017
Impact on work/life balance   27%       30%       28%
Keeping up with organizational requests/workload   28%       35%       28%
Keeping up with technology   32%       22%       27%
Coordinating, interacting with co-workers/supervisors   13%       13%       17%
         
Percent indicating they have experienced the following health issues due to a stressful situation at work       2017
Sleeplessness (inability to fall or stay asleep)       65%
Anxiety       55%
Irritability/short temper       48%
Weight gain/loss       42%
Increased blood pressure       27%
Depression       25%
Other       11%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Nearly three-quarters of IT professionals report that work-related stress contributes to their overall stress level. This seems to be spread evenly over three primary areas: the impact on work/life balance, keeping up with organizational requests/workload and keeping up with technology. Of particular note is that work/life balance is tied for the top stressor and nearly half of those asked report they’ve missed a significant personal event for something work related. When asked what effect work-related stress had on their health, sleeplessness took the top spot, with anxiety and irritability rounding out the top three. At least one-quarter of respondents reported depression to be a result of work-related stress, and weight gain/loss and higher blood pressure represented the more overt physical manifestations of stress.

Nearly Half Make Concessions to Time Vacations Around Work Schedules in Return for Expected Work Reprieve; Vacation Violations Cause Interpersonal Stress

       
Do you time your vacation to align with periods of expected lighter activity at work?     2017
Yes     46%
No     27%
Not applicable, I’m always busy     27%
       
Do you think a real vacation - where you totally unplug - is possible anymore?     2017
Yes, absolutely     53%
It’s possible, but all the stars need to align     37%
It’s not possible, I am ALWAYS connected     10%
                   
When on vacation, I’m expected to be accessible:     2015     2016     2017
24/7 – No excuses     5%     9%     4%
6 a.m. to midnight     2%     2%     2%
6 a.m. to 8 p.m.     3%     1%     2%
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.     6%     5%     7%
I’m not expected to be available     84%     83%     85%
       
When on vacation…:     2017
I do NOT monitor my work-related communications/activities     46%
I DO monitor my work-related communications/activities but do NOT respond     9%
I DO monitor my work-related communications/activities, but ONLY respond to critical requests and emergencies     42%
I perform most of my regular job role responsibilities     3%
       
When on vacation…: (percent answering “yes”)     2017
Has excusing yourself from an activity to address work-related issues ever caused conflict/friction with your traveling companions/family members?     37%
Have you ever concealed partaking in work-related activities from traveling companions/family members?     23%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: While nearly half of respondents alter or schedule vacation plans depending on workload, another quarter don’t have the option of a slower work schedule around which to take vacation. But from what respondents report in terms of staying connected or being accessible, once on vacation, they feel they should be free from any expectations from their employer. However, when voluntarily monitoring work-related communications, as 54 percent report they are, nearly 40 percent report this causes friction with their families/friends, and nearly a quarter hide their work activities on vacation.

“Overall, it’s still a great time to be a tech pro. Most IT workers are experiencing lower stress levels than in the past, and they don’t feel like their jobs require them to be accessible outside of reasonable times,” says Jason Hayman, research analyst for TEKsystems. “We’ve seen for some time that it’s a seller’s market if you’re an IT pro, so they’re less likely to put up with a more stressful environment when they know the opportunity is out there to find something better, less stressful, even if it’s for less money.” Says Hayman, “When it comes to their vacation time, they’re reporting that it’s possible to disconnect completely. Looking at those who choose to stay connected, it appears it doesn’t aid in keeping stress down. That could be a red flag for them to start looking at their stress level, how it’s affecting them and start thinking about ways to address it, including looking for a less stressful work environment.”

TEKsystems’ Jason Hayman is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey, or to schedule an interview, please contact Nathan Bowen at nabowen@TEKsystems.com.

About TEKsystems®

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, an Allegis Group company, we understand people. Every year we deploy more than 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals–while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.

TEKsystems. Our people make IT possible.

Contacts

TEKsystems
Company Contact:
Nathan Bowen
410-540-3090 T
nabowen@teksystems.com

Release Summary

TEKsystems Survey Finds IT Professionals Setting Firmer Boundaries for Work-Related Stress and Work/Life Balance

Contacts

TEKsystems
Company Contact:
Nathan Bowen
410-540-3090 T
nabowen@teksystems.com