Whether putting out fires, dealing with surly users or ensuring that the network runs smoothly, IT professionals can be under a lot of stress.
Recently, Spiceworks surveyed 1,300 IT practitioners to find out what made them happy despite the many challenges they face at work. Interestingly, many respondents found fulfillment in forging and maintaining relationships with their fellow employees.
The top driver of IT pro happiness in the workplace is coworker relationships (61 percent), Spiceworks discovered. Annual pay and stress levels followed, each with 53 percent. Work hours and vacation time round out the top five.
In a separate poll involving more than 850 IT professionals, happy IT workers were nearly three times as likely to have strong relationship with their coworkers than their unhappy peers (57 percent versus 20 percent), stated the report. Happy technologists are also less stressed and are generally feel that they are paid fairly.
To foster a happier, more fulfilling environment, CIOs may need to divert a bit of attention away from their technical expertise and dip into their soft skills toolkit.
"Oftentimes, IT pros' relationships with their coworkers and managers can compensate for longer work hours and less vacation time, which is common in the IT industry. So in order to foster a happier workplace and reduce turnover, it's important for CIOs to ensure their IT department isn't isolated from the rest of the company," Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks told Datamation.
"As much as possible, CIOs should encourage more [one-on-one] time with managers and social events with other departments," continued Tsai. "This will enable IT pros to elevate their recommendations to management, build a good rapport with their users, and ultimately, enjoy coming to work every day."
Spiceworks data also reveals that the higher an IT worker climbs the career ladder, the higher stress levels rise.
Fifty-four percent of folks in the role of IT director or above are stressed, compared to 44 percent of IT managers. The figures dip to 28 percent for network/system administrators and finally to 21 percent for help desk technicians.
However, elevated stress levels don't necessarily equate to dissatisfaction. Seventy percent of respondents holding the title of IT director or above reported being happy at work, despite the stress. That figure dips to 54 percent for IT managers and 64 percent for network/system administrators and help desk technicians.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.