IT Pros Overworked During Holiday Season

Even though businesses will always need their IT pros to at least be on call over certain holidays, they can make the job less difficult in other ways.

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From employees working remotely to employees being careless during holiday celebrations, IT teams that are on call must deal with all the frustrations that occur over the holidays. This is according to the results of an Ipswitch survey of 378 IT professionals in the United States, which found that up to 56 percent of IT professionals are on call or working during the holidays.

Up to 40 percent of IT professionals expected to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day working, and up to 16 percent noted that they'd have to celebrate New Year's Eve and New Year's Day while working.

"The job of the IT pro isn't likely to get easier anytime soon. This is especially true during the holidays when employees are out of the office and expect to remain connected and productive at all times," Jeff Loeb, chief marketing officer at Ipswitch, told eWEEK. "This is the reality IT pros face. It may get more complex as employees attach more mobile and wearable technology to company email and systems, including the gadgets they receive for Christmas this year."

When asked what percentage of their workforce is working remotely on any given week during the holidays, 47 percent of IT professionals said 10-25 percent and another 29 percent said 26-50 percent.

This suggests that while employees are working from home, traveling or on vacation, IT teams are working behind the scenes to make sure infrastructure is up and running 24/7.

"The mobile workforce has not made life any easier for IT pros. Employees are more connected than ever before and expect to use their mobile devices for work-related activities including apps that access or manage business software and platforms," Loeb said. "The challenge for IT pros is to maintain uninterrupted connectivity while also ensuring network and data security."

Even though businesses will always need their IT pros to at least be on call over certain holidays, they can make the job less difficult in other ways, he explained.

"For example, employees should be empathetic to their IT pros when in need, and simply reboot their machines before deciding to pull someone away during a family dinner," Loeb said. "If they do require and receive assistance during an inconvenient time, employees should be sure to genuinely thank their IT pro who fixed the problem. A little appreciation can go a long way."

The IT team itself can make things easier through careful schedule planning and coordination to avoid delays and confusion, and by having the right tools in place for constant visibility into their IT infrastructure, according to Loeb.

"Lastly, just use some common sense," he said. "If it's New Year's Eve and you can't access your email, does it really have to be fixed right then and now or can it wait until tomorrow?"