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10 tips to help CIOs reduce stress

Paul Rubens | May 3, 2016
Too much work-related stress is unhealthy, but reducing it may be easier than you think.

Management stress

Tip 4: Network, network, network

One of the best ways to reduce job stress is to connect with other CIOs to share your challenges, exchange advice and see what other people are stressed about and how they deal with it, according to Kendra Von Esh,  a former CIO at Veolia who is now executive strategic advisor at Coupa, a cloud-based spend management software company.

"You may gain new perspectives, and you may find that your situation is not so bad after all if your peers are also experiencing the same or perhaps even worse challenges," she says.

"You'll also get the opportunity to experience some empathy, while realizing that you are not in this IT world alone," she adds. "And who knows, you might even find another opportunity that is less stressful than the one you are in now!"

Tip 5: Don't let keeping the lights on ruin your sleep

Many CIOs feel that their budgets are stretched to the limit by the challenges of keeping existing systems running -- leaving nothing for new projects to support changing needs as the business evolve.

But Geoff Webb, a vice president of global software company Micro Focus, says new approaches to application re-use, and a better understanding  of the role of DevOps, mean you can do much more with very little resources. "There are more and more ways to better leverage current investment in core business applications and data to build the next generation of business services," he says.

Tip 6: Mix with your colleagues

As a CIO you have to come to terms with the fact that the rest of your business almost certainly doesn't realize the complexity of your role as CIO — from managing both front- and back-office customers to keeping up with the ever-changing landscape of technology and service offerings.

So Kendra Von Esh says one way to reduce stress is to meet with colleagues frequently to inform them on progress, updates, and changes and to set overall expectations. "This will ensure that your business is not surprised by changes, plus they will appreciate the regular updates individually instead of at monthly or quarterly management update meetings," she says.

Tip 7: Let the cloud do the work

Cloud service providers often have vast experience and high levels of expertise running commodity software, so why not take advantage of cloud services whenever appropriate, says Von Esh.

"Outsource the stressful parts of IT because hosting hardware, managed services and SaaS solutions can help take the stress off of you and your staff and put it somewhere better, faster and cheaper," she says. "Instead focus on revenue generating activities and how you can turn your organization into a profit center rather than a cost center."


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