Even after the most challenging year in living memory, technologists remain positive about the future and fully committed to guiding their organizations through the pandemic.
Data from a recent global research study titled Agents of Transformation 2021: The Rise of Full-Stack Observability, found that 75% believe the current crisis is a defining moment for them professionally and a chance to shine, and 90% are determined to make a difference and create a legacy of innovation in 2021.
It is this level of passion and commitment, coupled with a huge amount of skill, that has delivered the rapid digital transformation that organizations have needed during the pandemic. In many cases, this has been the deciding factor in a company’s survival.
Technology professionals have pushed through digital transformation at three times the speed of pre-pandemic levels to meet rapidly changing business priorities and customer needs. At the same time, they have had to maintain flawless digital experiences for customers and employees across an increasingly complex IT environment.
Technologists feeling the strain
Unfortunately, for many technologists their incredible contribution over the last year has had a negative impact on their own personal wellbeing. The research quoted above also found the vast majority of technologists feel under immense pressure, have difficulty switching off from work and are constantly worried about making a costly mistake.
Staggeringly, 91% of technologists around the world say that they need to achieve a better work-life balance in 2021.
Of course, these sentiments aren’t limited to the IT profession. The pandemic has taken a toll on workers in all sectors, as people have struggled to come to terms with new ways of working (and living) during these extraordinary times.
A study from Harvard Business Review, amongst 1,500 employees in 46 countries, in various sectors, roles, and seniority levels, found that 89% of respondents said their work life was getting worse and 85% said their well-being had declined during the first six months of the pandemic.
Organizations stepping up to support employees
Evidently, it’s not just technologists that are feeling overworked and struggling to maintain their work-life balance during the pandemic. But for business leaders that continue to prioritize rapid digital transformation above all else to get through the pandemic, the fact that technologists are feeling so overwhelmed should be a red flag.
The last 12 months have highlighted the critical contribution that technology workers now make to their organizations and this will only increase over the next 12 months, as the speed of innovation and disruption ramps up across all industries.
There are, of course, no easy solutions to this worrying situation. Businesses are doing the best they can to navigate this tumultuous period and many are placing a major focus on supporting their people at the same time, launching fantastic initiatives to boost morale and engagement and protect mental health.
Time to ease the pressure on tech professionals
However, when it comes to technologists specifically, there are practical measures that employers can take to ease the pressure. One of the most striking themes to come out of the Agents of Transformation 2021 report was the growing sense of frustration amongst technologists that they are wasting time and not being as productive as they could be because they don’t have access to the tools and data they need.
In particular, many technologists don’t have full, real-time visibility across their IT estate, nor the means to quickly identify and fix performance issues before they impact the business and customers. As many as 68% of technologists admit that they waste a lot of time because they can’t easily isolate where performance issues are actually happening.
Even where technologists are able to identify these issues, they are then unable to see how they affect the business. This makes it very difficult to make informed decisions and prioritize actions, which in turn creates barriers for technologists to perform at the level they want to.
These professionals are hugely ambitious and have a strong desire to make a positive impact; but at the moment, many are being hindered from doing so because they don’t have the right level of visibility and insight into their IT infrastructure.
Not only is this situation detrimental to organizations, but it also has a personal impact on technologists. They’re having to spend a significant part of their working days (and often evenings and weekends) trying to gather the data and insight they need, rather than having it at their fingertips. The lack of full-stack observability and the ability to connect this to business impact must be hugely frustrating and demoralizing for technologists, particularly when so much is being asked of them.
As HR and IT leaders look at new initiatives to support and protect the wellbeing of the technology employees in their organization, they shouldn’t neglect the technical tools and data that can make such a difference. Aside from the operational and commercial benefits, having the right observability tools in place can free up time and ease the pressure on technologists. And right now, that’s what is most important.
Gregg Ostrowski is the Regional CTO at AppDynamics, Part of Cisco.
Photo by Grzegorz Walczak on Unsplash