• Dvir Paravi

Teams' burnout is on the rise, and addressing it should be your #1 priority

Teams’ burnout is not about employees; it’s about the workplace, and the treatment lies at the source — the organization itself.

Since the pandemic, we are seeing a growing number of prospects turn to us with the same pressing challenge. Following the shift to remote work, they are all struggling heavily with developer engagement and retention. The burnout struggle is alive and kicking and doesn’t seem to be disappearing on its own. In fact, by the end of 2022, projections are that more than 25% of all professional jobs will be remote, with this number climbing as we enter 2023. Unfortunately, symptoms of burnout in digital working environments are climbing right alongside.

In response to this growing issue — we wanted to share our thoughts on the burnout challenge, and what managers can do to address burnout in today’s engineering teams.

With the majority of team communications and interactions now in the digital space, how has the shift in working norms impacted engineering teams’ efficacy and morale? And essentially — how can we best support managers in combating the new pandemic of burnout before it negatively impacts engagement and retention?

Digging into the data: teams are experiencing a growing burnout challenge

According to the American Psychological Association’s 2021 Work and Wellbeing Survey, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress over the previous month, 19% recognized a lack of effort at work, and 44% called out physical fatigue — a leap from just 6% back in 2019. These are symptoms that correlate directly with the World Health Organization’s classification of employee burnout, who describe the three main symptoms as feelings of exhaustion, negative feelings towards one's career, and reduced productivity.

But as the majority of businesses focus on improving benefits for individual employees — are we missing the real problem? Offering extra vacation days might seem like a great idea for example, but it means little if teams come back to the same stressful deadline or highly-pressured work environment they left behind. Teams’ burnout is not about employees; it’s about the workplace.

According to some of the latest employee burnout research, 52% of all workers are feeling burned out, and 67% believe the pandemic has made this occupational problem worse. By attempting to solve burnout by giving workers extra time off or a bonus to show that we appreciate their efforts, we might actually be putting a bandaid over their wounds, and then expecting them to walk back into the very same situation that caused the burnout state in the first place. Burnout is an endemic problem, and the treatment lies at the source — the organization itself.

The challenge of recognizing burnout in our organizations

As a workplace problem, it's no surprise that the statistics for teams’ burnout are growing. After all, the remote work reality has created a schism in what the very idea of a workplace really means, and digital teams are working in a more disparate and disconnected way than ever before. As well as separate locations, time zones, and often cultural differences to overcome, there’s also the changes to the way that today’s engineering teams work.

The prerequisite for a collaborative approach to achieving productivity and time-to-value is managers who value open lines of communication, and who can establish a work environment that encourages growth. Managers need to have better tools to understand team dynamics and be able to spot indicators of burnout at the first signs of exhaustion, negativity, or inefficiency. A tough challenge even pre-pandemic. However, today, with the majority of teams working remotely, and even teams working in the same offices relying heavily on digital communications rather than face-to-face contact, it has become even more challenging. After all, how can we manage what we can’t see?

How can we regain the ability to sense team dynamics?

The goal is clear. To minimize burnout and support teams, managers need to be able to go beyond remote boundaries and gain greater insight into how Engineering teams are feeling and the ways in which they are collaborating with their peers. If the days of a walk around the office and a chat by the water cooler are gone for good, because most communication is happening in the digital realm, what can today’s managers do?

Well, assistance is needed to bridge that gap, and new tools are developing with these emerging needs. Using a retention management system enables managers to know which teams need their attention, and where to focus their care, extending their view to the digital realm. They can recognize which developer teams are struggling, and get to them in their moment of need. After all, without understanding who is in danger of low engagement and burnout, you’re left unable to focus your efforts in the right direction.

An AI-driven retention platform makes this a reality. By sensing the health of remote working teams, managers can create a more supporting and engaging digital working environment for their Engineering teams. Even though most team interactions occur online, managers can gain instant and unbiased insight into the state of their teams. They can spot changes that influence team dynamics, and discover even slight engagement issues that could affect the entire team. As a digital platform works behind the scenes, teams can continue their day-to-day work with no interruption, while managers get the visibility they need to make proactive, smart changes that positively impact retention, while maintaining employee privacy and security compliance.

Know where to focus your care

There are only so many hours in a day, and with so many teams working remotely and communicating digitally, managers need to know where the issues are occurring, and who needs their help the most. With a digital retention platform, managers can focus on the developer teams who need support and make smart changes to accommodate these teams.

Want to learn more about Keepy.ai’s Retention Management Platform, which supports managers in fostering an environment of growth for Engineering teams? Schedule a demo with one of our team.