How can businesses help Software Engineers to look after their mental health?

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It’s time to circle back and talk about something difficult.

Mental health is a serious topic, and one that we covered recently. It mentioned how Software Engineers are facing increasing pressure to work longer hours to keep pace with a hectic schedule, with no thought to the impact of this on their wellbeing.

There are a number of risk factors here. From isolation and sedentarism, to stress and burnout, failing to acknowledge the impact of an increasing workload on teams can lead to severe wellbeing concerns.

Come on. Software Engineers’ mental health is a priority.

We often avoid talking about mental health because it’s difficult to talk about. So, it’s important to continue to be open, as we look at some of the solutions that developers and engineers could turn to during challenging periods. 

Encourage your team to be self aware

To be self-aware is to take a step back and reflect on how you are feeling about a particular situation, proposal or moment. For your team, this can lead them to consider what motivates and engages them, and what acts as a trigger for stress, anxiety, or tension.

Although this can be difficult, and at points potentially painful too, supporting your team to really pinpoint the pressures they face is a good first step to addressing mental health challenges. Encourage your employees to speak to you, a close friend, family member or trained mental health professional if this is useful too.

Ensure your team are active within communities

Feelings of isolation are not uncommon. Research has shown that one in three Software Engineers currently describe their mental health as fair or poor. This tells us that more needs to be done to support employee wellbeing.

The feelings and emotions of each person in the business are unique. However, it’s important for them to know that they don’t have to face them alone. If your employees are looking for a safe space in which to address this, and may potentially feel unable to confide in you or others in the workplace, you could consider suggesting that they connect with a community.

Reddit, for example, has lots of great communities within it that you can look to. Encourage your team to also explore communities that match their own personal profile and visions, such as gender or ethnicity-focussed groups. Finding a channel where your people can talk openly and share experiences is a positive way to explore issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing.

Ensure that expectations are being managed

According to a recent survey of more than 65,000 developers, more than 75 per cent work overtime at least occasionally at one to two days per quarter. Interestingly, 25 per cent work overtime of one to two days per week or more. This just isn’t right. 

Management teams should be setting clear expectations, communicating directly and treating each individual with empathy and respect. The rise of hybrid and remote forms of working are set to continue, and managers can’t ignore the need to bring staff welfare and wellbeing into the fore of all conversations.

Our ways of working are continuing to shift. Workloads can become demanding, so it’s important to work for a business that cares about your wellbeing and mental health as well as performance. There is not one approach that will meet the needs of the entire team, and you need to ensure that each person can be open about what is and isn’t working for them. The mental health of your team is a priority; it’s time to put that first.

You need to ensure that the wellbeing of your team is priority. If you’re looking to bring in new talent to the business, give us a call on 0207 733 0430 to speak to one of the team.

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