PagerDuty, the global leader in Digital Operations Management, announced the findings of its inaugural research on the State of IT Work-Life Balance, which found that companies risk losing a quarter of their IT professionals to a new job as a result of poor work-life balance. The report findings are based on three separate surveys of over 800 IT professionals in development, operations, security and management roles in the US, Australia and the UK––countries at the forefront of digital operations management. The surveys further reveal that IT teams, particularly managers, have little to no visibility in knowing when their people are experiencing difficult on-call schedules.
The study indicates that although many IT professionals agree their work-life balance isn’t the greatest, they believe it’s just part of the job and accept the time commitment involved. When those subject matter experts are mobilized disproportionately and, at times, erroneously, to handle operations issues day or night, those critical employees become disillusioned and may decide to leave. With the cost of just one skilled IT employee reaching $300,000 or more, the benefit of monitoring operations and employee health is higher engagement, greater productivity and improved retention.
“As organizations continue to integrate digital across their business, the demands of scale and speed place unprecedented pressure on IT professionals to maintain their business services for a quality customer experience,” said Jennifer Tejada, CEO at PagerDuty. “Using technology to transform the business operations is simply not enough. Building a competitive business also demands understanding and improving employee operations health so ITOps can perform at its best.”
The Digital Disruption Dilemma
In today’s always on world, those responsible for managing digital operations must be prepared to engage at any time of the day and initiate remediation efforts if something goes wrong with a critical system.
- In the US, nearly half (49 percent) reported their sleep or personal life is interrupted between 11 and 30 times a week.
- Nearly a quarter of all IT professionals (24.9 percent) believe these interruptions adversely affect their work productivity enough to make their jobs unmanageable at times, which leaves companies with an elevated risk of employee attrition.
- Almost 1 in 4 respondents (23.1 percent) reported they are more likely to look for a new job as a result of poor work-life balance.
The Effects of Managing Always-On Digital Services
The inability to manage stress was rated as the number one side-effect of poor work-life balance across all regions. US IT professionals were found to be less able to manage stress compared to their Australian and UK counterparts.
- Nearly all (94 percent) of the IT professionals who indicated that they are responsible for the management of always-on digital services said their role impacts their family life. Ninety-four percent of IT professionals also believe it impacts their work productivity.
- IT workers in the US indicated they are most impacted by the management of always-on digital services, with 32 percent indicating this pain point, versus 21.9 percent in the UK and 21.1 percent in Australia.
“IT professionals shouldn’t need to search for a new opportunity once their current job becomes unmanageable or too stressful,” said Howard Wilson, Chief Commercial Officer, PagerDuty. “Organizations should adopt solutions and services to proactively monitor and manage the health and wellness of their developer and IT Operations teams as the ROI is clear. These practices lead to improved employee retention and increased operational efficiency.”
The State of IT Work-Life Balance report showed that a manager’s visibility into their team's on-call experience may also impact an IT professional's overall perception of their work-life balance. Survey results point to a higher risk of employee turnover from respondents who reported their managers have little to no visibility in knowing when they are experiencing a difficult on-call period.
- Of all IT professionals surveyed, 72 percent indicated their managers have little to no visibility in knowing when they are experiencing a difficult on-call period. In the US, 61.7 percent of respondents said their managers have little to no visibility into their on-call periods, leading to a disconnect in understanding employee duress and subsequent churn risk.
- Of the respondents who said their managers have slight to no visibility into their difficult on-call period, nearly 1 in 5 (18.1 percent) rated their work-life balance as fair to poor. Almost a quarter of the same respondents (24 percent) reported they are more likely to look for a new job as a result of poor work-life balance.
- Over half (54.8 percent) of respondents who reported that their managers have slight to no visibility also said their practices and tools are only somewhat reliable for ensuring their teams are engaged in their work and thriving in their roles.
“Just like poor visibility into application and infrastructure impacts IT’s ability to improve performance, so does a lack of visibility into team workloads impacts your ability to retain an effective response team,” said Nancy Gohring, senior analyst at 451 Research. “New approaches to gaining insight about the experience of IT teams should help leaders better manage incident response and ultimately reduce staff burnout.”