One of the many effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a dramatic shift in the way people approach their professional careers. Rather than suffering in silence, those who don’t feel fulfilled are running toward the exit, in record numbers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the number of Americans quitting their jobs in any given month hovers near all-time highs, and job openings across the country hover around 10 million” (The Business Journal). In November of 2021, a record 3.5 million resignations were reported, with healthcare being one of the hardest hit industries.
This comes as no surprise to CIOs and other leaders, many of whom are scrambling to recruit and retain top talent. With tight margins to consider, competing with tech and other lucrative verticals is out of the question, prompting more organizations to rely on hybrid and remote work models as an incentive.
With these new models, however, comes a new set of challenges – one of which is ensuring teams are maintaining balance in their lives. The big question, of course, is how can this be approached? To that end, healthsystemCIO reached out to a handful of influential leaders to get their thoughts on how they’re working to improve the outlook (including how they model healthy behaviors).
This week, Nicholas Szymanski, VP and CIO at Signature Healthcare, offers his take.
When you take time off, are you able to disconnect completely, or do you tend to check in?
I personally don’t disconnect completely. I tend to check email often, but this has been an area of focus for me. I like to use the analogy that our team is like a top – we collectively help keep in motion. When we have folks that are out of the office, including myself, the top shouldn’t stop spinning. If the top does stop spinning, then I haven’t done my job as a leader to help build the structure and/or team appropriately. If all of this is in place – as it is in this case – then it’s up to me to rewire my approach on how I will manage my time while away from the office.
Have your habits changed since Covid – and the ensuing spike in hybrid/remote work models?
I don’t know if it’s helped with “getting off of the grid.” To me, being “off of the grid” is more of an approach to how you manage your time when not working. I do strongly feel though that it gave teams flexibility, which has yielded a better work/life balance and confirmed the theory – which many in IT have had for quite some time – that this model can work.
Do you encourage your team to disconnect on vacation, or does it depend on the situation?
Absolutely! The team needs to take time away and truly disconnect. It’s also up to the leaders to respect that time and not reach out for something that in most cases is not truly time sensitive. If someone reaches out while on vacation asking how things are going and if they can help with anything, our response should be “thank you for checking in and yes, please go have fun/recharge and put work aside.” We have an industry that’s 24/7 (healthcare) and a profession (IT) that is also 24/7. It is very easy to get burnt out with all the hours and expectations. For that reason, truly putting work aside is helping the team so they can recharge and return to work with a good mindset.