Worldwide, there are currently more than 22 million people working web development-related careers.
The web development industry is one of the world’s biggest employers, but it’s also not without its challenges. For example, many people working in this industry are experiences mental health challenges.
Read on to learn more about the current mental health state of individuals working in the web developing world. You’ll also learn strategies you can use as an employer or an employee to improve mental health and maximize productivity.
Common Mental Health Problems for Web Developers
There are many different mental health challenges that web developers experience. A career in web development may not cause the problem itself. However, the nature of the work can exacerbate symptoms and make it harder for certain individuals to cope.
The following are some of the most common mental health conditions that you ought to be aware of as a developer or employer or developers:
- Depression: Spending hours on end in front of a computer screen without a lot of exposure to natural light can contribute to feelings of depression for many web developers.
- Chronic Stress and/or Anxiety: The stress of looming deadlines, along with concerns about work quality and criticism from superiors can make anxiety disorders worse and contribute to issues like tension headaches, joint pain, and gastrointestinal upset.
- ADD/ADHD: Many people working in the web development and tech worlds also struggle with ADD or ADHD.
- Addiction: Addiction is also a common issue among those in the web development world. Web developers may be more prone to addiction because they’re relying on substances like drugs or alcohol to help them cope with stress and depression.
Consequences of Poor Mental Health
One of the most obvious consequences of poor mental health among web developers is the fact that people who are suffering from poor mental health are less likely to perform to the best of their abilities.
When their job satisfaction is low, they might be more prone to making mistakes or taking longer to complete tasks. They may be less engaged and less willing to work in a collaborative way with their colleagues, and they may show up late or miss more workdays altogether as well.
None of this is good for workplace morale, and it also affects the company’s bottom line.
Factors That Contribute to Poor Mental Health
As stated above, an individual’s mental health condition might not stem directly from the type of work that they do. However, their job in the web developing world could make their symptoms worse.
Listed below are some aspects of work in web development that may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues:
- Difficult Relationships with Superiors: A strained relationship with an overly critical boss or supervisor can make mental health issues much worse for web developers and other tech employees. These employees may be afraid to communicate their struggles and will instead try to power through and suffer in silence.
- Difficult Relationships with Colleagues: Strained relationships with colleagues can make problems worse as well. If web developers don’t feel that they have support or a sense of community at work, they may be more prone to depression or anxiety as a result.
- High-Performance Demands: Web development work can be very demanding, and developers may often face tight deadlines or harsh criticism from customers. These high demands can make symptoms of anxiety disorders worse.
- Lack of Job Security: The web development world is growing at a rapid rate and new developers are joining the workforce every day. Some developers may view this growth as a sign that their job is not secure, which may cause them to feel depressed or anxious.
How Can Employers Help?
There are lots of things that employers of web developers can do to help improve their employees’ mental health and well-being. The following are some of the most effective measures they may want to take:
- Set Clear Expectations: Developers are less likely to feel anxious at work if they know exactly what’s expected of them. Employers should be clear about what they want to avoid confusion or misunderstandings.
- Open Lines of Communication: Employers should also make themselves more available to their employees to discuss potential problems and work together to come up with solutions.
- Offer Sufficient Mental Health Benefits: It pays for employers to offer sufficient mental health benefits. This includes things like access to counselling and opportunities to take time off for “mental health days.”
- Give Praise for Jobs Well-Done: It’s important for developers and other employees to know when they’re performing well. Employers should take opportunities to praise and recognize good work.
- Offer Constructive Criticism in Private: When it comes to correcting problems, it’s best to provide constructive criticism in private, rather than calling employees out in front of their peers.
What Can Web Developers Do?
Web developers can also take their mental health into their own hands and take steps to improve their symptoms and experience. Here are some steps that have been shown to be effective when it comes to combating poor mental health for web developers and other employees:
- Acknowledge the Problem: The first step to fixing a problem, including mental health problems, is to acknowledge that the problem exists. The sooner developers can do that, the sooner they can get help.
- Take Advantage of Resources: It’s also important for developers to take advantage of the mental health resources available to them. This includes working with counsellors or talking to HR reps about their options.
- Meditate: Meditation can be a powerful tool, especially for people like developers who have high-stress jobs and may be more prone to anxiety and burnout.
- Take Breaks: Developers should also make sure they’re taking breaks. Spending some time outside, away from a screen, each day can improve mental health in a dramatic way.
Start Prioritizing Mental Health Today
Now that you know more about the mental health issues that may plague those working in the web developing world, it’s time to take action.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an employer of web developers or a developer yourself. Either way, there are steps you can take to get your mental health under control.
Keep the strategies listed above in mind as you begin working on improving your mental health. You might not notice dramatic changes overnight. If you’re consistent, though, you will likely see improvements with time.