CIOs Search For Ways To Unplug

CIOs need to find ways to step away from their work
CIOs need to find ways to step away from their work
Image Credit: Jonathan Khoo

As a CIO, do you feel like you are always “on”? When you were in the office, there were always meetings, phone calls, and people wanting to drop by your office to talk with you because of the importance of information technology. In our new age where everyone is working from home, it seems like things have only become busier and busier. The start of the day is defined by the first time that someone can get in touch with you and it doesn’t end until you finally walk away from your desk. More and more CIOs are starting to understand that what they need to do is to find ways to unplug themselves in order to be able to do their job better.

Finding Ways To Unwind

CIOs are stepping outside of their technology bubble to unwind from the stress of keeping companies running during the coronavirus pandemic. In order to do this, many are turning to their non-tech hobbies such as cooking, hiking and gardening. With all of the added demands of rolling out and managing remote work and business-continuity software tools, overworked people with the CIO job are pressing the refresh button whenever possible to avoid burnout. A Microsoft study found that in the four months after an internal 350-person team at the company moved to remote work in March, managers and employees worked an average of four more hours a week. Just to make things even worse, they also had more meetings, sent 52% more instant messages between 6 p.m. and midnight and worked more hours on weekends.

To help lessen the load, people with the CIO job are starting to set strict parameters to hem in the sense IT workers may have of being on call around the clock. That includes clear-cut shifts, daily breaks and additional time off. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that CIOs foster open communication between co-workers, managers and corporate officials about job-related stress. The CDC says developing a consistent daily routine can help relieve workplace pressure—even when the workplace is a home office. It does this by providing structure and a sense of control.

Another go-to for busy CIOs is the sanity walk, a popular Covid-era breather. We need to take time to be outside during the day, walk around and disengage from the all-video-all-the-time mentality. For many, a side benefit of lockdowns and remote workplaces is the opportunity for CIOs to work from just about anywhere. On the downside, working from home is forcing many CIOs – and their staff – to juggle competing demands from work and a full stay-at-home household. The good news is that CIOs are now able to take breaks throughout the day and spend time with their family, something they were never able to do at the office.

What All Of This Means For You

The world in which we live has dramatically changed. CIOs need to understand that things are no longer the way that they used to be. Instead, we now need to understand that a new world requires us to change the way that we are living and how we get things done. One of the most important things that CIOs need to learn how to do is how to unwind – it can be too easy to get caught up in working in our new world.

In order for a CIO to unwind, many are turning to their unplugged non-tech hobbies. A study that was done by Microsoft discovered that the new work-at-home policies was resulting in CIOs doing more work, attending more meetings, and sending more late night messages. One way that CIOs can do a better job of unwinding is to set strict parameters in order to create boundaries on the amount of time that people are working. Taking a walk can help a CIO to get a breather. An advantage of the new way of working is that CIOs can now spend more time with their families.

The one thing that CIOs have to be careful to not do is to burnout. The new way of working from home has eliminated the traditional start and end times to our days. We have to take the time to find ways that we can insert breaks into our days in order to unwind and decompress. If CIOs can figure out how to balance their work and break time, then they’ll be able to make it through the current challenges and will be ready when the world gets back to normal.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How a CIO convince their staff to find ways to unwind?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The CIO job is the one that everyone in the IT department eventually wants to get. It can be a real challenge to line up an interview for this position and even more of a challenge to get selected for it. What everyone wants to know is what they need to be doing in order to someday make this happen for them so that they can share the importance of information technology with the rest of the company?