How to Help Your Tech Team Avoid Burnout?
The shift to remote work due to the pandemic has taken a toll on many tech pros. The traditional boundaries between work and home no longer exist or are blurred at best. As the economic times become harder, everyone is trying their best not to get laid off, hence overworking themselves.
Besides, ransomware attacks continue to increase, and cybersecurity teams can feel the mounting pressure to help companies protect themselves from catastrophic damage. Think of tech staff who have a security operations center dashboard on their mobile phone. They receive alerts to actual and potential problems day and night. It’s not uncommon for some workers to have 24-hour shifts to ensure they remediate the threats.
Cybercriminals don’t take vacations either, which leads to a vicious cycle of attack and remediation. This sort of connectivity has brought with it work-related stress to a whole new level.
Cybersecurity leaders and experts share their tips on how you can keep your security team from burnout. They say that you should not wait until it’s too late to start supporting your employees. Here’s what you can do to help them thrive amidst the tough times.
Accept That Burnout Is Real
There’s no way to help your security team if you don’t acknowledge and accept that burnout is real. Jeff Gallimore says that there is an increased risk of burnout. People’s ability to cope with situations is not what it was a year ago. Currently, people have a lot to deal with, particularly health concerns. Jeff is the Co-founder and Chief Technology and Innovation officer at a technology consulting firm, Excella.
Managers should take a more proactive standpoint in trying to establish where the risks are within the teams. One way to do this is to allow teams to have more time to connect and catch up with each other during meetings. Rather than making meetings all about business-related issues, managers should allow for non-business talk among employees.
Recognize That Cybercrime Affects Everyone
Creating a response to a cyberattack requires the input of the entire company. Everyone has a role to play, including the legal, sales, accounting, engineering, and executive departments. It’s crucial to realize that the entire workforce may require some incentives or breaks, not only the technical team on the front line.
According to the COO and CISO at Alvaka Networks, Kevin McDonald, cyber incidents are a right-now proposition. They involve holidays, midnight calls, and large teams of people must respond. When a deal falls through, it interrupts the lives of several people before a decision is made.
Reaching a mid-size or enterprise deal calls for the non-stop efforts of engineers and support from sales, security consultants, executives, and project management. While the project managers bear the brunt of the burden, it’s necessary to involve the legal, compliance, and executive to monitor how everyone is handling it.
Work with a Trusted Partner
The President of ECW Network and IT solutions, Eric Weast, advises companies to find a trusted partner they can count on. Finding such a partner is usually an uphill task for many organizations, yet it is crucial to have one. They help fill the gaps in your organization’s security coverage, which extends to your customers. When you find your trusted partner, you no longer need to worry about being all things to everyone.
When you know that your company is not good at some cybersecurity issues, you offload the function to another company. This allows each partner to focus on what they are best at, keeping employees engaged on their core competencies. The model takes off the stress of failing a customer for something the team doesn’t have the skills for.
Weast gives an example of an incident involving Microsoft. The company released an Exchange Vulnerability in March. Shortly after, Huntress Labs, one of ECW’s tech partners, detected that the vulnerability caused a web hook in one of ECW’s customers.
One of ECW’s engineers immediately got into a call with Huntress and Microsoft. The partner helped remediate the problem and restored the systems. Since this affected a heavy compliance customer, there was quite a bit on the line. Weast continues to say that they partnered with one of their trusted associates, Dark Cubed, to resolve the issues in depth.
Become an Advocate to Your Team
As a manager, you should also be an advocate for your team. This role requires you to ensure your direct reports are supported and well taken care of, especially concerning burnout. The way you advocate for your tech team depends on the approach that best fits the situation. Some ideas to help include:
- Protecting their time. Let your team members know that it is okay for them to push back extra projects or say no if they feel overworked. This will help them have control over their workloads and avoid overwhelming themselves.
- Offering flexible work shifts. Allowing people to work in flexible schedules can help them deal with business and personal stress. They can have time to attend to their families without worrying about being online at certain times.
- Provide access to helpful resources. Burnout can lead to severe mental health problems. It helps to connect your staff members with resources where they can get information about wellness programs. However, that might be as far as it goes as it may not be within your limits to provide professional mental health support.
Don’t be afraid to point out your team to external sources of help, whether a therapist or healthcare professional. A well-being program could also entail providing recovery time in between large IT rollouts. You also should address unreasonable deadlines and work overloads and encourage support systems among employees.
Honesty and Transparency with Employees is Paramount
Cyberattacks are here to stay, yet there is no easy fix on the horizon. If you want to keep your team going during challenging moments when they have a lot to deal with, be honest and transparent with them. Make them aware of what’s expected and see how they respond to the challenge.
McDonald notes that the ransomware field makes things difficult for business. Allowing for downtime and having enough help is the best way to deal with burnout. He also says that saying no to a rescue request to let the employees rest is crucial. Saying no to a company that needs help is never easy, but staff consideration comes first for long-term stellar results.
Keep Your Tech Team Going
Burnout within a team can lead to untold problems for a company. It leads to lower productivity, decreased job satisfaction, ineffectiveness, and high turnover. While dealing with burnout is always challenging, it is a function you cannot afford to ignore.
Taking the above steps can help minimize the adverse effects of team burnout. If you’re looking for a trusted partner to take up on some of your team’s tasks, ECW Network & IT Solutions is here to help. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help your company.