Is Technologist Mental Health Suffering at Tech’s Biggest Companies?

Mental health has emerged as a key issue for many technologists during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Even those who initially looked forward to full-time remote work have wrestled with the isolation. In some cases, technologists have also reported higher stress levels due to uncertainty, lack of communication, and overwork.

How many technologists actually feel like their mental health is at risk? A new survey by Blind, which anonymously queries technologists about various issues, reveals that a sizable percentage of employees at some of tech’s biggest companies feel that their mental health has actually declined over the past year. Check out the numbers:

Those are some very scary numbers, particularly at companies such as Facebook and Cisco. Of course, employees at some of these companies are dealing with far more than just the pandemic, given the growing antitrust focus on social networks and search engines.

Rising workloads may also have something to do with the poor state of some technologists’ mental health. Last summer, Dice’s ongoing Sentiment Survey revealed that a fairly significant percentage of technologists felt their workload had increased as a result of the pandemic—around 12 percent said it had doubled. Over the course of the survey, it’s important to note, the numbers of those reporting expanded workloads didn’t really decline significantly. 

Fortunately, mental health is also one of those things that technologists and managers can do something about. Communication is key; if you’re feeling like your mental health is having an impact on your performance (and your life as a whole), it’s worth engaging your support group. If you feel that your schedule and/or workload is slipping out of control, talk to your manager about firming up your responsibilities, deliverables, and “stop” and ‘start” times. 

It’s sometimes frightening to approach your manager, but they have a vested interest in making sure you’re happy, healthy, and productive. Unless they’re brand new to the workplace, they’ll know that nothing burns you out quicker than unending stream of emails, messages, and calls at all hours. Hopefully, they’ll work with you to establish boundaries and a set schedule. The pandemic has ground on far longer than many folks expected. Whereas in the early stages it was impossible to predict what would happen from week to week, the world seems to have settled into a bit more of a rhythm. If you have enough space to plan out the next quarter or two, go for it; you may save yourself a lot of stress if you’ve planned in detail for the long term.