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Information technology jobs can come with a hefty side order of stress. Particularly with companies across industries expanding their technological resources, creating strong demand for IT professionals, you often face high-priority, fast-paced projects with limited personnel to support them. However, stress isn't just unpleasant and unhealthy. It can also drastically reduce your productivity and cause you to burn out quickly. Consequently, it's in your best interest—as well as your employer's—to develop strategies to reduce stress levels. You need a healthy work environment where you can excel without pulling your hair out.
Does stress really matter?
If you're fairly fresh to the professional world, you probably recently completed an ambitious academic program with pressing deadlines and seemingly impossible projects. Coffee and energy drinks may have fueled your daily life as you pressed forward in a general haze of sleep deprivation and adrenaline. Maybe you think it's fine to continue in that fashion in the working world, but in reality, managing stress is critical to a successful and sustained IT career.
A little stress is normal and can even help spur high performance but when it becomes too intense and enduring, it can have a detrimental impact on health and job productivity. Forbes magazine described several studies that revealed the optimal stress conditions for the workplace. People tend to perform best when they're not bored or uninterested, but also not anxious or overwhelmed. In other words, the best workplaces supply enough tension to keep people focused and engaged, but not so much or of such a severe nature that workers shut down. This type of tension actually decreases cognitive ability, the source added.
Referring to a recent study by GFI Software, Business News Daily conveyed that IT professionals reported lower stress levels than in previous years, but a staggering 57 percent of specialists said they were considering leaving their jobs because of stress. This tension also impacts family and personal life: 30 percent of IT workers said they had to cancel their commitments, 36 percent missed social events, 16 percent reported a strained or failed relationship due to stress, and 31 percent said they missed out on spending time with their children.
What can you do?
These insights should spur company leaders to reduce pressure on staff as a part of their overall strategic talent management plans, but there are also steps you can take to keep calm under trying conditions: