IT chiefs want to stay in the sector despite stress

Although many financial services IT directors are under pressure and display symptoms of stress, most want to stay in IT.

Although many financial services IT directors are under pressure and display symptoms of stress, most want to stay in IT.

That was the finding by Julie Hurst, director of the Nottingham-based Work Life Balance Centre, who conducted a series of one-to-one work/life coaching sessions with IT directors at the City IT conference.

"There is pressure on IT departments and everyone seems to be clamouring for IT directors' time, but the problems they face are indistinguishable from people in responsible positions in every sector," she said.

The specific issue for IT directors stemmed in part from their enjoyment of their job, which means they get sucked into giving everything to it, said Hurst.

"They took their job first and themselves last. Health cropped up a lot. Not many were taking breaks. I recommended reinstating the lunch break and taking breaks in the day," she said.

The problem for some was a gradual escalation of work. "In general it is a slow-burn situation; an extra hour here and there becomes a habit," said Hurst.

Most tried not to take work home, but many of the IT directors Hurst talked to had not realised the toll stress and overwork was taking on their home life. "They had not made the connection until they started to think," she said.

Hurst aims to help her clients gain a better work/life balance. "The main change is that people take care of their energy levels, and make sure they constrain their working day to sustain them rather than grind them down," she said. "They need to recreate the buzz they get at work in other areas of their lives."

 

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