Skip to content

A big factor in tech burnout? Toil.

Burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion.

Professional burnout is often brought on through completing unrelenting, boring, work that doesn't drive tangible value or career progress.  

Toil is work that is manual, repetitive, automatable, reactive and lacking in enduring value. Is too much of this kind of work is adding to burnout?

For some teams, toil can be all-consuming, taking over their daily workloads and becoming a real point of discontent for those having to complete the work. 

When left unchecked over long periods of time, toil can push Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) to the point of burnout, decimating their morale and pushing them to look for other jobs where the toil load is smaller. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the effects of letting toil go unchecked:

1) Toil decimates workplace morale

Too much toil leads to burnout, boredom, and discontent in the workforce. Everyone has a different limit for how much toil is tolerable, but everyone has a limit somewhere. If you overload someone with toil, they could burn out, lose morale, and be disinterested in their work. 

Google recommends toil be capped at 50% of an SRE's time, ensuring half of an engineer's time is spent on work that isn't toil. 

2) Toil slows product progress

Excessive toil makes SRE teams less productive. As toil takes up more and more time, development cycles take longer and longer. Without rightsizing toil to manageable amounts, tech teams can be too busy firefighting issues to roll out new high quality features and updates. 

Ultimately, toil eats up the time needed to do the engineering work that prevents future toil from accruing, so it's essential to nip it in the bud. 

3) Toil pushes your best engineers out of your workplace

If you don’t begin to tackle toil before it begins to impact your engineers, you motivate the team’s best engineers to start looking elsewhere for a more rewarding job. By nature, software engineers and tech employees are curious and like to solve interesting problems.

Toil is the opposite of interesting, and spending too much time on it may lead your best engineers to feel that they are not getting the professional development they crave; the only solution they often have is to search for a new job where toil makes up less of their workload. This leaves your resources stretched even further, and places more toil burden on even fewer people. 

The impacts of toil are hard to overstate. Without intervention, unmanaged toil can have a serious impact on workplace morale, product development and customer satisfaction with your product. 

Take control of your toil with automation

Toil doesn't have to dominate your organisation; you have the power to optimise it to more manageable levels, preventing your engineers and SRE teams from experiencing low morale and excessive burnout that comes with uncontrolled toil. 

By using automation tools, like Cloudsoft AMP, you can reduce the impact of toil on your engineers, allowing for faster release cycles, and improved workplace morale, productivity, and product reliability. 

How much is toil costing your organisation?

Get an idea of the cost of toil on your organisation with our toil calculator! The calculator takes into account your unique organisational position and gives you a personalised result, as well as estimated potential savings from implementing good automation with Cloudsoft AMP. 

So why not give our toil calculator a try, and get a better understanding of the impact of toil on your team?

How much is your team wasting on toil?

Calculate toil savings

Related Posts