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5 steps to avoid burning out your on-call IT staff

Sarah K. White | Oct. 7, 2016
On-call workers don't have the luxury of signing off at the end of the day and going home to relax. They know that a call could come at any time, which means businesses need to take steps to ensure these workers aren't on the fast-track to burnout.

You should also firmly establish on-call support hours, a rotating schedule, documents outlining what's required of on-call staff, supply them with the right technology to work remotely and incentivize their work, says Andrew. Recognize these employees for their hard work and create a system that will reward them for their on-call work. Their jobs aren't easy, and being on-call is not something your typical employees have to deal with, so a little recognition will go a long way.

Be reasonable

Possibly the best thing you can do for your on-call workers is to be reasonable, says Klippert. That means, keep an eye on how many hours they're working, both during the workday and after. And when engineers aren't on-call, she says, make sure they're able to get away from the chaos and have time to themselves. If you're interrupting them on their off days, they're going to feel like they're never actually unplugged.

"Let them enjoy their time off as thoroughly as possible. You can't be in race mode all of the time or your employees will burn out fast. Be strategic and thoughtful, keeping an eye on your high performers to ensure that they stay happy," she says.

Armandpour suggests implementing rotating on-call shifts, incident management systems, consistent schedules and escalation policies so your engineers can truly enjoy their time off. On-call work adds extra pressure to a typical job, so having that personal time is even more important than it might be for other workers.


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