Working in tech is a tough job, with tight deadlines, pressure from clients and often bosses who don’t understand what you’re doing, and the intricacies of coding that are required to “just make it a little more, you know, ‘jazzy'” (or similar useless instructions that programmers and web developers are used to turning into something useful!) This can make work very stressful.
Unfortunately, the often stereotyped image of programmers, and especially those who play a lot, can be surprisingly accurate. Anecdotally described as “human machines translating junk food, caffeine and cigarette smoke into lines of code at 3am”, though not a “nice” generalization, certainly true of some developers I’ve worked with and enjoyed doing so – and if they didn’t, they would miss the deadline. Some of them still miss deadlines despite working all the time because unrealistic deadlines are often set by people who don’t understand the development process.
At the heart of digital transformation, we need these guys around, but should we be encouraging them to sacrifice their health to meet deadlines? Because they are hard to find, in short supply, and we need more of them. Here’s how employers can better support them.
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle
The culture of work hard and play hard is long gone and should not return. Employee health is becoming more of a focus, and that includes your vital technical team. Here’s how you can help:
Encourage a healthy lifestyle through benefits packages
Make sure your employee benefits package includes benefits that encourage a healthy lifestyle, and make sure your workplace canteen has healthy food options.
Smoking is a personal choice, but given the extent to which smoking can contribute to poor health, employers should help those who want to quit with treatments such as hypnosis or by offering alternatives such as nicotine pouches that do not contain tobacco and have other ingredients that can help control withdrawal symptoms. Click here to find some premium nicotine pouches with different flavors.
Also check your EAP for hidden benefits like mental health support lines – after all, you’re paying for a service, time to communicate the benefits to your technical staff.
Think about the activity on the site
While tech employers these days offer cool games consoles and pool tables in the office, which are great for ‘time out’, consider offering gym memberships, cycle-to-work schemes and weekend incentives .
Improve the way managers manage and communicate with technical talent
Stress is a big problem for developers. It’s likely that your team is under stress because most employers have too many projects and not enough developers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help.
You can reduce developer stress by encouraging smart workloads and improving communication. Make sure your managers set reasonable deadlines for projects, breaking them down into smaller projects when necessary, and encourage those involved in the project to make actionable suggestions.
For example, “make it jazzier” is unhelpful and assumes that the developer can see inside the project manager’s head – which of course they can’t!
“Can it be more interactive when someone clicks on something?” is clear, descriptive and actionable.
Technical staff are some of the hardest-working, most loyal, and most misunderstood members of your workforce. By making sure they feel engaged, supported and encouraged to be healthy, you’re not only investing in your tech team, but your entire business.