Workplace Burnout Crisis in Tech Workers: Know the Signs, Symptoms and Solutions

Joshua Wood

Michael Jones

5 min read

In the United States, the technology industry is booming. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 667,600 new jobs.

The number of people employed in tech-related jobs has increased by more than three million since 2010, and the industry is projected to add another million jobs by 2026. But with this growth comes a downside: an increase in tech workers experiencing burnout.

A recent study by Yerbo shows that 41% of IT workers plan to quit their jobs in the next 6th months due to workplace burnout.

Women hit more by the burnout crisis than Men

Forty-three percent of women surveyed by  TrustRadius report taking on extra responsibilities at work in the past year, compared to 33% of men. At home, 29% of women have taken on a greater childcare burden, versus 19% of men who said the same. And 42% of women have taken on the bulk of the housework during the pandemic, compared to 11% of men.

The Great Resignation is set to continue

More women are likely to be looking for a new role than they were a year ago, and burnout is the top driving factor: nearly 40% of women actively looking for a new employer cited it as the main reason. 

For many in the tech industry, the work is demanding and challenging. They may feel like they are always on the clock, and that there is always more to do.  With a mix of workplace pressure, skills gap, and increased pressure post-pandemic. These are just a few contributing factors to the Burnout Crisis crisis in the tech industry


What is Workplace Burnout?

As defined by the World Health Organization, workplace burnout is an occupational phenomenon that comes as a result of "chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." Workplace burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is caused by prolonged or excessive stress in the workplace. It can lead to a decrease in productivity, an increase in absenteeism, and a higher risk of accidents and errors. It can also lead to job dissatisfaction, job turnover, and depression.


When it comes to workplace burnout, tech workers are particularly vulnerable. The demands of the job, combined with the ever-present pressure to be "on" can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed out. Several factors contribute to tech workers experiencing burnout. One is the culture of the industry, which can be extremely competitive and demanding.

Tech workers are often expected to work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and they may be expected to be available 24/7. They may also be expected to travel frequently.



What Causes Workplace Burnout?


Several factors can contribute to workplace burnout. These include:


Prolonged sitting (aka Sitting Disease): Research has linked sitting for long periods with many health concerns. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Lack of control: feeling like you have no control over your work or your career can lead to burnout. This may be due to a lack of autonomy or a feeling that you are not able to make decisions that affect your work.

Lack of support: feeling like you are alone in your job or that you do not have the support of your colleagues can contribute to burnout. This may be due to a lack of communication or a feeling that your work is not valued.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Workplace Burnout?


The signs and symptoms of workplace burnout can vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that you may experience if you are suffering from burnout. 


Burnout symptoms include:


Fatigue: Is often thought of as the state of feeling very tired, weary, or sleepy resulting from prolonged mental, physical or sedentary work for extended periods.

Migraines: These are a common and disabling type of headache in tech workers. They are most often characterized by throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. For some people, migraines can be preceded or accompanied by auras, which are visual or other disturbances that occur before or during the migraine.

Muscle pain: Muscle pain is a common complaint among 56% of workers in the tech industry. The prevalence of muscle pain among tech workers is alarmingly high. Especially in the neck, shoulder, wrist, and back pain. 

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS): is a condition associated with the use of computers. It is characterized by eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision. CVS can also cause neck and shoulder pain, as well as fatigue. The condition is most often seen in people who work at computer terminals for long periods.


Burnout can bring over the loss of enjoyment in activities that you used to enjoy.


What to Do if You Are Suffering from Workplace Burnout


If you are suffering from workplace burnout, it is important to seek help. There are many things that you can do to get help, including:

Workstation Ergonomic Assessment: An ergonomic assessment is an assessment of a worker at their workstation to ensure correct working postures and workstation set-up. A good ergonomic assessment is done to reduce a desk worker's exposure to physical stressors such as Uncomfortable postures, repetitive tasks, and strain on the body.


Talk to your supervisor: It is important to communicate with your supervisor about the stress that you are experiencing at work. They may be able to make some changes to help reduce your stress.


Talk to HR: If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, you may want to speak to someone in HR. They can help you to understand your rights and options.


Get help from a professional: If you are struggling to cope with workplace burnout, you may want to seek help from a professional. This can be a therapist, counselor, or doctor.


There are a few key things that you can do to prevent burnout or to help yourself recover if you are already experiencing it.



How to Prevent Workplace Burnout


There are several things that you can do to prevent workplace burnout. These include:

Identifying stressors: It is important to identify the things that are causing you stress at work. Once you have identified these stressors, you can start to find ways to reduce or eliminate them.

Setting boundaries: It is important to set boundaries between work and your personal life. This can help you to avoid burnout by ensuring that you have time for yourself outside of work.

Take Posture breaks: It is important to take breaks during the day so that you can rejuvenate yourself. This can be something as simple as taking a walk or getting some fresh air.

Making time for yourself: It is important to make time for activities that you enjoy outside of work. This can help you to reduce stress and recharge your batteries.


The Wrap Up

First, it is important to understand the signs of burnout. These can include feeling exhausted, irritable, or even depressed. You may also find yourself withdrawing from social activities, or feeling like your work is never done.


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to take a step back and assess your situation. Are you working too hard? Do you feel like you are always under pressure? Are you neglecting your personal life?

These are all important questions to ask yourself. If you feel like you are burning out, it is important to take some time for yourself. This may mean taking a vacation or even just taking some time off from work.

In addition to taking some time for yourself, it is also important to make sure that you are taking care of your physical health. This means eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.

It is also important to make sure that you are staying connected to your friends and family. These relationships can provide support and help you to cope with stress.


If you are experiencing burnout, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself recover.


First, it is important to understand that burnout is a real problem. It is not a sign of weakness, and it is something that can happen to anyone.

Second, it is important to take some time for yourself. This may mean taking a vacation or even just taking some time off from work.

Third, it is important to make sure that you are taking care of your physical healthThis means eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.

Fourth, it is important to stay connected to your friends and family. These relationships can provide support and help you to cope with stress.


Burnout is a serious problem that can harm both the individual and the organization. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout so that they can be addressed early.

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About Michael Jones

Michael Jones, CErg. He's an Ergonomist and Speaker with 15 years of experience helping desk workers who are hunched over their computers and phone for hours, reverse their slouched posture and end text neck pain.

Do you sit at a computer for more than 7 hours per day? My course helped thousands of people beat burnout and feel great again