Nov 24 2015

IT Workers Clock in Time Beyond the 40-Hour Workweek

IT professionals’ hours far exceed those in the typical American workweek, which could mean it’s time to hire help.

If IT workers appear stressed and overtired by the end of the week, it’s for good reason.

According to recent Spiceworks survey data, full-time IT professionals work an average of 52 hours a week. And 18 percent of the 600-plus survey respondents reported that they work more than 60 hours.

The survey finds that IT pros whose responsibilities pertain to data center lab environments, data-integration projects, wireless access points or phone systems tend to work longer hours. Industry also influences the length of the workweek: Data indicate that IT staff in the financial, insurance and legal industries generally spend more time on the clock than those in other sectors.

“In education and government for example, only 37 percent and 33 percent of IT staff exceed a typical 40-hour work week respectively,” Spiceworks employee Peter Tsai points out in an analysis of the data on the company’s website. “That’s in stark contrast to other industries like engineering, manufacturing, and non-profits where long hours for full-time employees over 50 hours per week are the norm.”

Professionals in IT departments with fewer help desk technicians also work longer hours.

“This is evidence that help desk tasks take up a large chunk of IT man hours and that adding support personnel can help free up time for all IT staff regardless of role, which in the long run allows everyone at a businesses to get more done,” Tsai says.

In his blog post, Tsai adds that there’s no “magical formula” for determining how many IT pros an organization should have on staff. There are, however, signs it’s time to hire more workers:

The primary indicator we found is the average number of hours everyone is (over)working. All of that overtime adds up to increased stress, decreased job satisfaction, and general unhappiness that could lead to more turnover and risk in your organization. And because properly functioning technology is now vital to every company in the world, it makes financial sense to invest in people that make sure the computer infrastructure that businesses rely on “just works.”

IT enables everyone else to do their best work. In a world that’s increasingly dependent on the Internet, digital devices, and online communications, now might be the right time to put more money towards IT personnel.

The return on that investment will eventually be seen throughout the organization, Tsai says, because when IT pros aren’t bogged down with extra work, they have more time to find and implement innovative solutions that move the bottom line.