Now that the holidays are upon us, we're faced with the monumental task of juggling vacation time with sufficient IT support coverage. While many look forward to this time of year with great joy, it does require some stressful decisions that can be hard on all staff members. However, the key to "keeping the lights on" during the holidays doesn't have to be that difficult.
When your IT support staff is limited, management tends to focus a bit too much on staff as opposed to ways to help lighten the actual workload. Staff is indeed a critical component, but it's important to note that adjustments to policies, procedures and other aspects of a typical IT support workday can significantly reduce the chances that a skeleton holiday crew will get overloaded. I highly recommend creating special operating procedures during the holidays, including escalation trees and limited maintenance windows..
Other steps you can take to ensure smooth sailing during the holidays revolve around bolstering network documentation, monitoring, and escalation processes. Now is the time of year to brush the dust-off documentation, diagrams, and monitoring systems to verify that they are up to date, operating properly, and ready for any of your staff to use. Spending some time in these areas may prove to be the difference between having a wonderful holiday dinner with family or friends and spending your evening in the spare bedroom trying to walk the on-duty IT support staff through a difficult-to-solve issue.
Finally, consider the potential benefits of offloading many manual tasks your IT support staff deals with every day using either automation methods or cloud-managed services. These will not only help you during times when staffing is low, but all the time. Think of these tips as the gifts that keep on giving all year long.
(Image: Dmitry Kalinovsky/Shutterstock)