CIO warns many IT workers face dangerous stress
At Share conference, William Cross says on-the-job IT stress is a problem
Computerworld - BALTIMORE -- When it comes to testing an IT system, William Cross, the CIO of Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc. in Tampa, Fla., uses an approach that his staff describes as "brutal." But it's a system Cross hopes will avoid sleep-disturbing middle-of-the-night production failures -- part of a larger effort to keep his staff from getting stressed out.
"I work very hard to make sure that my staff doesn't work overtime," said Cross, who spoke here today at the Share conference for IBM users. "We go to great lengths to help keep people from being called on nights and weekends."
The reason: People who work in the middle of the night are more prone to mistakes, he said.
William Cross, CIO at Seminole Electric Cooperative
Cross said his interest in stress and IT began in the 1970s, and he has pursued it ever since. In addition to running IT operations for his large utility company, he holds sessions at the Share conference about reducing stress and explains why high levels of stress are prevalent among IT workers. He tells them flat out that the stress is a danger to them.
"I bet I know you and know a lot about you," he said in a presentation to Share attendees.
According to Cross, IT workers have high divorce rates and personality types that can be cauldrons for stress. They tend to avoid people but have a need for recognition and praise, a "very seriously flawed combination," he said. IT workers often work long hours and deal with systems that can cause frustration.
"Stress is a big deal with us," said Cross, who warned IT workers that they face health problems if they don't address it.
Many in the audience nodded their heads as Cross listed some of the problems IT workers face. But he also detailed steps they can take to reduce stress, such as practicing breathing exercises, setting priorities, avoiding negative people and office gossip, and ensuring that they strike the right balance between job and life. "Your job is not you," he said.
Cross says he also practices what he preaches to his own staff, and often reiterates "the importance of getting away from the job." For those workers who are "job addictive" and put in too many hours at the office, Cross said he will tell them to take time off.
- The New IT Explore enhanced productivity for IT staff, and seamless integration across IT operation management systems. Download now.
- Securing Mobile App Data - Comparing Containers and App Wrappers Analysts agree that Mobile Device Management (MDM) is not enough when it comes to securing app data. Although it remains a critical component...
- Capabilities You Need in an IP Address Management Solution A mismanaged IP space can cripple an otherwise healthy network. Take a moment to understand what you need in an enterprise-ready IPAM solution.
- IPv6 Fundamentals IPv6 is needed to sustain the growth of the Internet. The transition from IPv4 will require planning and likely some degree of support...
- Bringing software licenses into compliance A hospital group received a software license audit, so they called in CDW to help define and manage their software licensing status.
- Accelerate your innovation with IBM Bluemix™ Join us for a webcast introducing the new IBM BluemixTM. IBM Bluemix (www.bluemix.net) is a developer oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment... All IT Careers White Papers | Webcasts
Our 28th annual survey results show which IT skills are in high demand and which are cooling off. Also, see how your salary stacks up to peers' with our Smart Salary Tool.