Without a doubt it has been a challenging two years. Traditionally IT professionals, such as our team, look forward to a new calendar year to strategically identify and recommend trends clients can use in New Year business initiatives. Given the high level of business burnout, we’re taking a different approach this year—pause, reflect and adjust. The goal is to help make people’s jobs easier and more enjoyable.

Google the phrase “2021 Business Burnout” and you’ll see it’s a real thing. In 2019, a record 42 million people quit their jobs. The Great Resignation is real and business owners need to take it seriously by finding out how they can help to make workers’ lives happier. If you’re scoffing at this idea, check out this statistic.

Between December 2020 and July 2021, employees reported a 21% increase in burnout and 17% increase in physical symptoms of stress like muscle tension and fatigue, as well as added work-life balance challenges and overall job stress, according to a survey by the digital wellness company meQuilibrium.

The reality of this burnout and stress gave our team pause. Instead of talking New Year tech trends and piling on ideas to do more, we want to help find ways to create a more flexible and happier work environment. Start by reflecting on how it’s gone the last two years. What IT systems and tools have worked well for staff in quarantine and hybrid work? Have some fallen short? Do some create more frustration and less productivity?

Write down the answers. Then go and ask the same questions to your leadership team and their staff. Find out what it will take to keep employees happy and make an action plan. Company human resources professionals call this a stay interview. Instead of waiting until employees give two weeks’ notice, leadership teams are listening to top performers before they leave. During stay interviews company leaders are hearing from employees that they want to work remotely. Are your IT systems set up for that? Maybe you think it’s going to cost a lot.

Cloud-based IT systems that create maximum work flexibility are affordable, especially when compared to the cost to hire and retain a new staff person. A stat from the Society for Human Resource Management tells us the average cost to hire a new staff person is nearly $4,500. If you have 100 people on staff, the cost to give one person work flexibility using a cloud-based system is $100 per person each month. That’s a small price to retain an employee who wants remote work flexibility to stay on the job.

Taking a step to move IT systems into a more flexible cloud environment gives greater security, which is more important than ever. Cybersecurity in the workplace has been and will continue to be addressed with new-fangled ways of working from anywhere at any time. Employees who want where-I-work flexibility need to be reminded to think before they click.

The most common cyberattacks relate to phishing schemes. Chances are you’ve gotten one or many of these emails. We get them in our office every day.

If it looks fishy, chances are it’s someone phishing. Reminding employees to stay a step ahead of the people who continue to engineer all of the ways to get into a computer is more important than ever.

  • Button up passwords. Add characters to the beginning, end and middle. Don’t make your password, “password.” Simply adding an “!” isn’t enough anymore.
  • Trash email junk. Delete junk mail weekly, for good. Using the shift-delete key completely removes junk from your system.
  • Have a trusted advisor. A good managed services team delivers professionals that you can call to ask questions before becoming the next cyberattack victim.

Aaron Toops is co-founder and CEO of AERIFY.oi, a managed services IT business that makes technology simple, safe, and fast. The team leverages the Cloud to allow small to mid-business teams affordable access to their information from whatever device at whatever time they need.

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