Actual Value in After Hours IT Support
The pleasurable things that we experience in life are often not tied to the specific action themselves but rather the hidden benefits. These are the things that we are truly seeking. The encounters that make our brain flood with dopamine and undergo a sense of enjoyment. Think of your favorite activity that you enjoy on your downtime. Maybe it’s running, reading, writing, watching TV, driving, surfing, you name it. The actual mechanics of that activity may be enjoyable but it is really the feeling that we glean from the activity that tells us that we need to come back for more. Let’s take running for example. Running can be challenging and often strenuous if you are pushing yourself. While some certainly enjoy this challenge it is really the feeling of accomplishment and the “runner’s high” that we get that makes us feel great afterwards. This often creates an entire running habit that makes us want to feel this way again and again.
I would speculate that procuring outsourced after hours IT support for organizations is related. Certainly not as attractive or as enjoyable a topic as your favorite activity but when done right the real advantages offer a feeling of balance. A sense of homeostasis in your work culture. The actual benefit of the activity is not that calls get answered in a timely manner. That is the agreed upon work that is typically boring and monotonous. The real benefit of outsourcing after hours help desk support is a work life balance for your internal IT department. Your staff gets to enjoy more time with their loved ones, and not being tied to there phones often stuck in a Pavlovian conditioned response which is the standard reality of being on-call 24/7. This creates a happier IT work culture that permeates across the organization and ultimately leads to better end user satisfaction.
Think about it… when that rude & annoying contractor (who was instructed 3 times already to call the help desk a week ahead of time to setup remote access) calls the help desk Monday morning at 8:30am (their start date) and demands to know why remote access hasn’t been set up on their device, your staff is content to help in a calm demeanor vs. contemplating where they will work next (or getting into it with the contractor… maybe both). Now outsourcing this support isn’t the magic bullet that keeps IT staff eternally happy but it does help to lead to IT employee longevity. I’ve heard it directly from multiple CIOs in our client base. It works.
Now when internal IT staff stay longer the organization saves money on employee turnover costs, proprietary knowledge loss, and culture shifts. Sure, someone else to answer the phones at 10pm is an obvious wish for most internal IT staff. But when internal IT staff feel that they can balance their work life with their personal life, the benefits are invaluable. By giving them the after hours coverage assistance, your organization is helping to build a foundation of appreciation and positivity that helps the organization as a whole get better. It no longer becomes a want but a need for the organization when they understand these benefits. So with most things in life it is important to look at the underlying and often intangible benefits that create incremental changes.
What are your thoughts? How does your organization keep your IT staff happy in work/life balance?