Full-time IT professionals reported working an average of 52 hours per week, but 18 percent of respondents to a Spiceworks survey said that they work more than 60 hours per week.
Interestingly, IT work isn't quite as busy for part-time IT staff, as part-time respondents said they put in about 21 hours per week.
The study of more than 600 IT workers suggested that the more dedicated helpdesk technicians there are in an IT department, the less hours everyone in IT works, indicating that adding more headcount in these areas can help IT departments and businesses get more done.
"Willingness to hire more help desk workers really depends on how much an organization values IT. If upper management understands how important properly functioning IT systems are to the bottom line, then hiring additional staff shouldn't be a problem if there's business justification," Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks, told eWEEK. "However, problems exist in some organizations if the IT department is viewed as a cost center where the goal is to squeeze as much as possible out of already overworked staff."
Tsi explained that in those situations, you'll find IT pros working really long hours and they're often expected to be on call even when they aren't in the office.
The data also shows that 57 percent of IT pros in North America work more than the average 40 hour week, while only 49 percent of IT pros in the Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region work more than 40 hours per week.
In IT departments where responsibilities extend to cover data center lab environments, data integration projects, wireless access points, or phone systems, IT pros end up working longer hours than average and likely need more help.
In addition, IT pros who work in education, with an average working 47.2 hours a week, government (average: 48.7 hours per week) and health care (average: 50 hours per week) work fewer hours per week than most IT pros.
On the other hand, IT pros in finance, insurance and legal reported the longest hours with an average of 55.4 hours worked per week.
"The amount of hours IT pros work was the biggest eye opener in the report," Tsai said. "If you're familiar with the tech industry, you've heard stories of overworked IT staff. But when the numbers are laid out for all to see, you get a real sense for just how hard they're really working."
He explained that as technology advances, automation and management tools that make it easier for IT pros to support their users and environments will get better, and that will help reduce some stress.
"Companies are also relying on more technologies delivered as a service, taking some hardware maintenance tasks off of IT departments' plate," he noted.