How can IT professionals avoid bad days at work?

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By Simon Moyes, Technical Services Director at CAE Technology Services Ltd (CAE).
 
Nobody intentionally goes to work to do a bad job, however, many factors can tip the balance, especially within IT teams, which can have a significant impact on an organisation.

Our Recent research shows that one in four IT professionals are having preventable bad days at work, due to their organisation’s lack of investment in IT teams, as well as little, or no cyber security planning, increasing stress levels and their involvement in repetitive tasks – which could benefit from automation.

But what should organisations do to alleviate the obvious strain IT professionals are feeling and the associated risk it poses to the business, its customers and people?

There is no magic remedy and the solution goes deeper than just a new piece of hardware or software – it forms part of an often overlooked factor – organisational culture.

One avenue organisational leaders should explore is ensuring that they have relevant systems and processes in place to enable their people to perform at their best, rather than intentionally, or unintentionally restricting them.

This centres around creating a culture of innovation – and innovation thrives in an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their ideas and working together towards a common goal. 

The way the technology industry is heading, and in particular the security environment, means that people must be able to constructively challenge working practices and procedures in a safe and supportive environment, to purposefully architect a culture of innovation – which must be led at a leadership level.

There are three essential elements organisations should consider when looking at fostering a culture that looks to eliminate ‘bad days at work’ and supports an organisation, its people and its customers. 

The common theme? Investing in and making their people feel valued.

1. Automating repetitive tasks 

For automation to truly benefit an organisation, IT teams must have the platform to challenge the norm and the way that people operate. It is about enablement and this comes from leadership ensuring that they foster that culture of innovation and have a belief in their people. 

If there is a task that you do more than once, chances are it can be automated and given that 27% of professionals say they complete too many repetitive tasks, IT professionals are uniquely placed to challenge the norm and deliver genuine innovation within their respective organisations.

Because of the way that technology is today, the OpenAPI nature of it means that if you can do something more than once, it is more than likely that you'll be able to automate it – whether it is a new process or a system integration.

The automation of repetitive tasks brings many benefits, from cost savings, scalability, enhanced employee satisfaction, and data-driven decision-making.

2. Addressing the lack of progression opportunities 

With research showing that 40% of UK IT professionals believe that there are insufficient training and development resources available to support them, it is clear that this is impacting already stretched IT professionals.

Organisations should look to invest in their people for the long-term success of the business – based upon a solid employee development strategy. 

This requires a commitment for leaders to put their people first, ensuring that they have the training and resources needed to deliver their roles, and providing opportunities for continuous development and progression.

But it goes deeper than this, leaders should focus on fostering sustainable innovation through the promotion of a culture of continuous development and progression. However, it is crucial that organisations do not underestimate the challenging nature of achieving and maintaining this. 

It must be led from the front by a leadership team dedicated to architecting a culture-driven purpose, where being innovative is not just an empty phrase, but a state of mind where people believe in what is being done and where people can see their ideas turn into reality.

3. Reducing workplace stress 

The most common cause of stress is work-related, with one recent study showing that 79% of UK professionals say they frequently feel stressed and our own research revealed that over two-thirds of IT leaders (70%) reported that there is pressure to deliver security protection in a short amount of time. 

Whilst organisations must be able to identify the sources of stress to support their people, unfortunately, it must be noted that due to the nature of working with technology, IT professionals will encounter stressful situations – whether the solution is to turn it off and on again or something much more serious.

Having the right mix of people, processes and technology will assist in minimising these situations; however, when they do occur, it is vital that leaders are able to recognise these situations and support their people

This comes back to ensuring the most appropriate technology is in place, along with having clear plans and processes in place to best support the needs of the organisation, its people and its customers. 

How can organisations foster an innovative culture?

Organisations have it within their power to ensure that innovation runs throughout their entire business; reaching everywhere with no boundary - but they must believe in their people, invest in their development and foster a belief in innovation.

If organisations can strike the right balance, they will create a truly innovative culture that enables people to challenge how and why things are done and be trusted and invested in making process improvements that impact positively upon both their people and their customers.

Ultimately – there may be the occasional bad day at work, after all, that is human nature - but there are many things that organisations can do to help their IT professionals avoid bad days and it all revolves around creating a truly innovative culture that sees its leaders building authentic relationships and opportunities for collaboration, learning and development.

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