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Reality IT: Encouraging After-Hours Support

Techno Toys

At ACME, our IT team is too small to staff every office and operations-center function 24/7. At one time, we gave extra "on call" pay to IT personnel who were expected to respond during off-hours, but we eventually phased that out in favor of a standard annual salary structure. Over time, we've found that motivating IT staff to contribute around the clock if and when needed is not just a matter of money--it's also a matter of access.

First, IT organizations should expect to pay for home DSL or cable modem service to help core IT staff provide support after hours. At ACME, as wireless technology improved, we started providing our IT staff with mobile phones and integrated devices that offer e-mail capabilities, so they could respond faster, with less impact on their personal lives. For many after-hours events, IT professionals can handle many tasks, such as problem diagnosis and system restart, without having to return to the office.

Case in Point

Every IT organization is different, and your mobile-communications technology will vary, but ACME's IT unit has standardized on those addictive wireless devices known as Blackberries. We use them to keep abreast of work and to communicate with one another via e-mail, IM and mobile phone.

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