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A heavy workload can lead to a digital team feeling unproductive, disengaged and stressed in their roles.

As a CIO delivering innovation a big part of the role is maintaining a positive environment and stopping the digital team from burning out.

CIO UK looks at how a CIO can get the best out of their team in delivering digital technology and avoiding a work overload. (See also: Why a CIO should rely on their digital team)

How a CIO can avoid a digital team burnout: Keep the job interesting

A CIO’s role has evolved to the changing customer and business demands. The shifting priorities have seen CIOs explore new ways to keep their digital teams engaged.

Training programmes, updating old skill sets and bonus schemes are great ways to keep the role interesting and avoid a work overload.

As a CIO focusing your team members is important to ensure role engagement, and CIO Ian Crawford is using his leadership and managerial skills to help manage teams across five sites at the Imperial War Museum.

“It can be challenging because we are not all in the same office all day long and are quite widely dispersed,” he said. “I think the key is to understand the work they do and the challenges they face and to try to make work as easy as possible for them so they can concentrate on their jobs as well.

The museum is currently undergoing a transformation programme which will see the second phase of their Lambeth Road redevelopment project open in 2020.

This will allow CIO Crawford and his team to work more productively through building additional IT infrastructure to help enhance their overall experience.

Better role engagement will help increase job satisfaction of others and ensure they are loyal to the company. (See also: Imperial War Museum CIO Ian Crawford using new data archiving to preserve wartime history.)

How a CIO can avoid digital team burnout: Listen to your staff behaviour

In organisations, collaboration is vital for a successful business strategy.

CIOs can get to the root of the problem by communicating regularly with members of the digital team. Scheduling one-to-one and open meetings to discuss how they are managing their workload will help to get the best out of employee's abilities.

Collaboration tools such as Slack and Voxer are quick and engaging ways for CIOs to keep up to date with their team and work schedules. This can maintain a positive work culture and help to retain IT talent. CIOs should prevent employee burnout by helping to maintain a positive work culture.

How a CIO can avoid a digital team burnout: Give everyone a voice

Employees should be given the opportunity to be heard by sharing opinions and asking questions that can affect their roles and the wider business.

By regularly contributing it will get team members involved with projects and the business strategy, making them feel that their opinions are valued.

Team discussions through group lunches, open days and brainstorming sessions can help spark debates and will lead to fresh ideas for the business strategy. What’s more, it can provide an open-forum to demonstrate their potential for future promotions. (Read next: 10 ways CIOs can retain and engage young people in digital and IT.)

To avoid a work overload, CIOs should ensure employees’ contributions are voiced and heard in the organisation. This can keep team members engaged, feel supported by their peers while also increasing their loyalty to the business.

How a CIO can avoid digital team burnout: Good equipment

In some organisations, 22% of inefficient digital resources have remained a barrier to a CIO’s success, according to the 2016 Gartner survey.

Having the best tools can enable a more effective and productive work culture. CIOs should have the latest updates and practical equipment to ensure employee performance. 

The digital team are all working towards the same shared goal in delivering technology for its customers. Having ineffective resources reflects the organisation and its customer service.

Monitoring resources have been cited by several organisations, and Business Systems Director Peter Williamson has invested in digital equipment and market-leading software to help embed new processes and procedures at Raymond Brown Construction.

“The investment has helped me to move the business more quickly in working towards becoming a lean outfit," he said.

Business Systems Director Williamson has seen the investment encourage adoption of the new technology working throughout every department in the organisation. 

“We are now capable of delivering excellent customer service to our customers whilst keeping the administrative overhead as low as possible. Enabling business change through technology has become infectious within Raymond Brown," he said.

Organisations should monitor digital technology to create a steady workflow in working to accomplish the shared business goal and avoid a digital burnout.

How a CIO can avoid a digital team burnout: Use digital tools

The use of collaboration, task management and open source tools can help CIOs and digital teams to set schedules and manage their workloads.

CIO 100 organisations including Yodel, Monsoon and Coventry City Council are using task management tools to help create a better engagement with staff and to avoid a digital team burnout.

Task management tools such as Zoho Projects, Bitrix 24 and Trello are great for users managing deadlines through creating task lists and adding project time length. (See also: 12 of the best free task management software for CIOsyodel.)

The shift in power towards digital tools has seen CIOs monitor user workflows, increase engagement and offer better support to help reduce stress levels. Setting a manageable workload through using a variety of tools can help users to schedule tasks and make sure deadlines are met.

How a CIO can avoid digital team burnout: Feedback and recognition

Regular engagement with the team holding feedback sessions and appraisals can help boost an employee in their role.

This can be a great chance to reassure, recognise or solve a problem the individual may have regarding their work.

A CIO should recognise their digital team’s work and note any recent successes and accomplishments they have achieved. Being open and honest with the team can make them feel valued in their role and stay loyal to the organisation.

Recognising the talent and accomplishments of their digital team have been cited by several CIOs, and Global CIO David Smoley, has ensured feedback plays a “considerable importance” from all levels at AstraZencaUK.

“I and the IT leadership team take part in regular face-to-face town hall meetings where employees come together to discuss and share information and feedback,” he said.

Global CIO Smoley, shares his advice for starting CIOs on how to ensure to get the best from their digital team and avoid a work overload.

“I use quarterly 360 sessions with my direct reports as well as my stakeholders with mentoring of very junior staff,” he said. “I have sought feedback and reflections, which can ensure I continue to role-model good leadership behaviour in being inclusive at all levels of the organisation.”

How a CIO can avoid digital team burnout: Assigning tasks

A challenge for CIOs has seen 29% of the digital leaders taking on too many responsibilities. CIOs need to assign and delegate tasks according to their team’s skills and expertise.

In collaboration through supporting and working to one another’s strengths  a CIO can ensure a steady and efficient workload within their team. This can motivate the digital team in working towards a shared goal and avoid digital burnout. (Read next: How a CIO can drive behavioural and cultural change in the organisation)