Back to Blog
Back to Blog

March 6, 2024

7 min read

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Work-Related Stress for SRE Professionals

Discover simple yet effective strategies to decrease work-related stress and increase productivity for DevOps and SRE professionals. Transform your work life with these 5 easy tips from your friends at Rootly.

Tiffany Cox
Written by
Tiffany Cox
5 Easy Ways to Reduce Work-Related Stress for SRE Professionals
Table of contents

It's completely normal to feel a little overwhelmed and stressed out at work these days. Technology has collaboration moving at the speed of light, and time away from screens is at an all-time low, blurring the lines between work and personal time. Plus, it's hard to ignore the multitude of tech outages that have been making headlines lately, leaving teams anxiously on edge. When you are a professional with on-call cycles, the potential of outages adds another level of complexity to the mix.

If you're experiencing this, take a deep breath - you're definitely not alone! Work-related stress can impact your productivity, job satisfaction, and even your health, but there's no need to suffer in silence. The good news is that there are some simple and effective strategies that you can use to reduce stress in the workplace and improve your overall well-being.

Firstly, it's essential to recognize the sources of work-related stress. Common causes include:

  • Heavy workloads.
  • Tight deadlines.
  • Unplanned pivots.
  • Conflicts with colleagues or supervisors.
  • Lack of control over one's work.
  • Reliability issues with tools and technology.

Stress can affect both our mental and physical health, and it's crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of anxiety in oneself and others to prevent it from taking a toll on our well-being. Some common signs of stress include feeling irritable, agitated, anxious, or overwhelmed, having difficulty sleeping or concentrating, feeling tired or fatigued, and experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, stomach problems, or muscle tension.

Combat work-related stress with these five simple tactics:

1. Take Breaks and Prioritize Self-Care: 

Regular breaks throughout the workday are essential for reducing stress and boosting productivity. Try taking a short walk, practicing deep breathing, or doing some stretching exercises. Additionally, prioritize self-care activities like getting enough sleep, drinking water, eating healthy meals, and engaging in enjoyable hobbies or activities outside of work.

Rootly Tip: If you are a calendar-based person, block daily time out for lunch and a short walk. Making a ritual out of self-care can help cement the behavior.

2. Establish Boundaries and Manage Workload: 

Taking care of yourself and setting clear boundaries with your colleagues and supervisors is crucial. It's okay to communicate your needs and preferences in a friendly and respectful manner. Negotiating reasonable deadlines and workload expectations can reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. Effective workload management strategies like ticketing systems, AI assistance, postmortems, and standardization for common tasks and issues are also helpful. Expanding your toolkit to include resources like Rootly can reduce stress by reducing workflow friction.

Rootly Tip: Regular team meetings to align on goals, expectations, and project workloads help ensure that everyone understands project timelines and can access any additional support needed to reach the collective goal.

3. Stay Organized and Plan Ahead: 

Did you know that feeling disorganized can cause work-related stress and make you feel overwhelmed? To avoid this, you can try decluttering your workspace, keeping a calendar, and prioritizing your tasks. It's also helpful to plan your tasks based on near-, mid-, and long-term horizons, as this can prevent last-minute stressors from popping up and provide the visibility necessary to navigate unplanned hiccups easily.

Rootly Tip: When you finish a task, take a moment to celebrate the victory! Mindfulness around a job well done is a great way to mentally reset before jumping into the next project or task.

4. Communicate Openly and Seek Support: 

Effective communication with colleagues and supervisors can help to reduce stress and increase job satisfaction. It's important to note that people respond differently to stress, and what may be stressful for one person may not be for another -- This is where communication and empathy play a crucial role. You may not always display your stress to others, but it is essential to seek support from trusted coworkers or supervisors when you feel overwhelmed or stressed out. They might not see your stress but could be more than willing to be your partner, advocate, and ally in finding a resolution.

Additionally, seeking support from a mental health professional can be a great way to unlock tools, support systems, and resources.

Rootly Tip: Repeat after us, "There is nothing wrong with asking for help." Stress is a part of being human and something everyone

5. Incorporate Reliable Tools to Help Manage Your On-Call: 

On-call shouldn't mean on edge. Proper tooling can help reduce stress by providing reliability and incident transparency.

Rootly On-Call is setting a new standard in the alerting industry by building more redundancy layers than ever seen through a multi-cloud deployment. Ensuring that your alerts won't be missed even if AWS goes down.

In addition to reliability, transparency into an issue is crucial. When an incident occurs, it can be confusing and uncertain. Unlike PagerDuty, which can leave you in the dark while you check multiple monitoring tools and dashboards to determine what's happening, Rootly On-Call provides provides the right context from the second you're alerted all the way through the retro. Rootly On-Call also provides context from all relevant sources like Datadog during the incident.

Rootly Tip: Building a toolkit with dependable resources is worth the peace of mind, especially at half the price of limited tooling solutions like PagerDuty.

Implementing these five easy strategies can reduce work-related stress as an SRE team member and create a healthier, more productive work environment. Remember to prioritize your well-being and seek support when needed – you deserve it!

If you want to explore Rootly as an ally in your SRE stress-reduction journey -- you can book a demo here.