Let’s face it – IT departments everywhere are burnt out.
We all like to throw around these buzz words like work from home, hybrid work, collaboration, and cybersecurity, but those very things are keeping IT professionals busy around the clock.
First it was helping the organization transition to a fully remote work model and responding to issues that end users are having getting set up on their home networks and accessing the corporate VPN. Then, it was looking at how the company could continue to support that model for the foreseeable future as the pandemic worsened.
And quickly after that, the endless barrage of phishing emails and ransomware attacks threw IT teams another project. And recently, the SolarWinds and Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities have kept IT and incident response teams up at night as they scour their IT environment for indicators of compromise and hurriedly patch their systems.
Here are a few tried and true methods to help reduce burnout and keep these critical professionals ready to fully do their job.
Take regular breaks. Make sure you’re giving yourself some time between tasks to reset, grab a snack, drink some coffee or shoot the breeze with a coworker. At the very least, get away from screens for a few minutes every hour and take a walk around the building. If you’re working from home, get some fresh air outside before you get ready to patch another vulnerability or search for indicators of compromise.
Stick to a schedule as best you can. One of the leading causes of burnout is simply working too much, so try to adhere to a schedule as much as possible and make it a rule to not work when you aren’t on the clock – especially over the weekends or during scheduled time off. Unless, of course, in the case of emergencies. This includes sticking to a healthy sleep schedule that will help you feel refreshed and ready to go in the morning.
Take work-related apps off your phone. Getting work email to your personal devices can be a convenient way to stay on top of your work, but when you’ve already spent all day patching critical vulnerabilities and restoring backups after someone opened an obvious phishing email, work is the last thing you want to think about when you finally get the chance to wind down.
Listen to your body. Stress and anxiety can manifest in different ways, and they are not always mental. Stress can leave you feeling fatigued, give you headaches, make you nauseous, cause chest pain and lead to insomnia. If you have one of these symptoms, it could be a sign that you’re getting burnt out. Try asking for some time off or make an effort to address your stress with healthy habits like exercise or healthy eating.
Hire more staff. If the same three people are already working too many hours, consider beefing up your IT and security staff to take some of the load off their shoulders. If you’re in a position that can make hires, push for a bigger payroll. Rotating in employees will help keep everyone fresh and ready to tackle these challenges, especially as IT departments are becoming overtasked with hybrid work initiatives and cyber incident response.
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