Mental Burnout in the Tech Industry

Every creative person has at one point in their career felt immense tiredness and exhaustion which comes from a very deep part of them and is usually influenced by work and prolonged stress.

This feeling is called mental burnout. In this article, we will be explaining what the term ‘mental burnout’ means, the types, causes, how it affects people and possible ways to handle it.

What is mental burnout?
Long working hours, competitiveness, tight timetables, and heavy workloads characterize the tech business, which is one of the world’s fastest expanding industries. It is also one of the industries where employees tend to suffer from mental burnout the most.

Mental burnout, also known as Burnout, is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress, according to a help guide. As the tension mounts, you begin to lose interest in and motivation for the role you took on in the first place.

You can’t be productive if you’re burned out. It saps your energy and makes you feel gloomy, pessimistic, and resentful. It can have a negative impact on your home, job, and social life.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized ‘burnout’ as an ‘occupational problem’ in 2019, and according to a study conducted by Glassdoor earlier this year, mental health challenges increased by 143%, while burnout increased by 100% during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the proportion of employees who referenced mental health increased by 143%. “Some organizations are taking substantial steps by establishing permanent flexible or work from home policies, allowing employees to have greater power over their schedule,” according to the study, in order to keep burnout and mental stress at bay.

According to Zavohealth, the term “technostress” which is similar to burnout, has been used to describe what occurs when stress results from the use of computers. It can pose a significant challenge to the health of employees. Stress-related illnesses, such as digestive disorders, alcoholism, diabetes, and high blood pressure, are common among IT (tech) workers. Cross-sectional research of 1000 Indian IT workers revealed that 56% had musculoskeletal complaints, 54% were depressed, 40% were fat, 22% had high blood pressure, and 10% had diabetes.

This strongly shows that occupational stress is having a negative impact on health and should be closely monitored in companies.

What are the types of burnout?
According to Emily Ballesteros, a Chicago-based burnout management consultant, there are three main kinds of burnout, each with its own set of causes.

Burnout can be difficult for people to recognize in their daily lives, according to Ballesteros. “We’re rarely given the chance to sit in a quiet room and consider: What do I truly require?” “How can I tell whether my quality of life is deteriorating?” she pondered.

The three types of burnout and how to deal with them are outlined below.

1.    Burnout by the sheer volume of work: Overload burnout is linked to exhaustion and is motivated by a desire to work harder to attain success, often at the expense of personal life and even health. It is common among highly dedicated employees who prefer to cope with stress by releasing emotions and working harder, a strategy that can lead to emotional exhaustion and depression in the long run. It’s characterized by having back-to-back appointments, having no time or energy for yourself, and feeling completely exhausted.

Nearly 60% of tech workers are burnt out, according to the community-workplace app Blind, which is used by Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

Expecting employees to work more than 100 hours per week has been regarded as exploitation of employees’ enthusiasm and drive, as well as placing profitability ahead of their health and wellness. According to Irish Tech News, stress is becoming the norm, with unjust compensation, unrealistic workloads, and excessive overtime being named as leading causes of professional burnout.

How to handle it:
Ballesteros recommended that people track at least three of their workdays and keep track of how much time they spend on various chores. “Then, objectively examining your data, and improved workload planning are some approaches to deal with this form of burnout,” she advised.

2.    Burnout due to a lack of challenge or a lack of progress: This type of burnout is characterized by a lack of opportunity for personal or professional growth, and it is linked to cynicism and a moderate level of commitment to work. 

How to handle it:
Cognitive avoidance, emotional venting, and disengagement are common coping methods for this kind. Having regular, candid discussions about stress with your boss is a good idea whether you’re just starting in the sector or have been working in IT for a long time. While some may think this shows weakness, it actually shows maturity, self-awareness, and a desire to perform your best work. If you’re starting to feel burned out at work, try to figure out what’s causing it and what you can do to alleviate the situation.

3.    Burnout by trying to please other people: People pleasers are more prone to burnout because they “would rather be uncomfortable than potentially make somebody else uncomfortable,” according to Ballesteros. People pleasers are natural “givers,” she adds, but they may find it difficult to say “no” to duties and are drawn to people who make a lot of demands. As a result, she noted, “they’re continuously socially fatigued.”

How to deal with it:
It’s essential to establish proper boundaries between your profession and the rest of your life, whether you work from home or at an office. There are a few easy things you may take to manage your time and energy expectations: When you’re out for the day, the weekend, or a vacation, set up an out-of-office email. Remove or turn off notifications for your work email and messaging platforms from your phone during non-work hours, if possible.

Symptoms of burnout
Burnout is characterized by a mix of internal and external symptoms:
  • Internal symptoms include emotional tiredness, cynicism, separation from work and life, feeling inefficient in your career, and feeling drained before you even start a task. Sunday scares, general gloom and a lack of motivation are all common occurrences.”
  • External symptoms of burnout are Physical tiredness and pain, insomnia, reduced immunity, which leads to increased drug and alcohol use, and a change in diet.
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