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How to identify and assist overburdened IT staff

Technology is a crucial component of any modern business, which makes an organization’s IT team indispensable. This importance often means IT staff ends up overburdened, reducing performance and limiting your company’s potential to meet its strategic goals. When this happens, it’s essential to identify overburned IT workers and take steps to assist them. Here’s how:

Understanding the “suffer silently” mentality of IT

Despite their central role, helping every department within the organization, IT can feel very separate from the rest of the company. They are often used as a scapegoat when technology fails, even when they are the ones that will remedy the situation.

These attitudes and expectations have an unseen impact on IT workers. They cause pressure, which leads to overwhelm, with employees choosing to suffer in silence rather than request additional resources.

Staying aware of the state of your IT team

Once you understand the “suffer in silence” mentality, you should take steps to monitor your IT team’s progress. This awareness requires a proactive approach, particularly concerning tracking the team’s workflow and identifying bottlenecks.

The purpose of identifying bottlenecks isn’t to put pressure on your team to reduce them but to identify areas where they are struggling to cope with demand. As it’s unlikely they will tell you when they’re feeling burdened, paying close attention will give you invaluable insight into their current state.

In some organizations, this will require a culture shift. When an IT problem arises, it’s rarely caused by your IT team’s failure — and much more likely to be caused by a lack of resources and an overburdened IT function.

Most of their day is spent on support-related tasks

Although IT plays a vital role in achieving the business’s strategic aims, employees likely spend most of the time firefighting issues within the organization. It’s important to realize they’re doing the best they can. If they don’t respond to the support tickets and maintenance tasks, other business areas won’t be able to fulfill their duties.

When demand is high and resources are low, they may fall behind on the support tasks, leaving them with no time at all to focus on projects that will help the business meet its strategic aims.

Working beyond normal work hours

Presenteeism is a massive problem within the IT industry, with staff feeling obliged to attend work even when their health is at risk. According to a recent study, as many as 97 percent of workers attended work when they were feeling unwell.

IT staff also tends to feel obliged to work unpaid overtime to get through their workload. If you notice your IT staff coming into the office early or leaving late, this signals that you have an overburdened IT team on your hands.

Higher than average turnover

How does the retention of IT staff compare to the rest of your company? If you have a higher than average turnover for IT employees, this is another sign you have an overburdened IT team.

Staff may leave the team if they feel frustrated by the lack of support or if their inability to stay on top of their workload affects their work/life balance. This problem can inhibit your business’s growth as new staff will take the time to learn your IT systems. It’s crucial to retain as many of your employees as possible as longstanding members of your IT team are an invaluable asset to the organization.

Delayed implementations

Finally, your team’s ability to meet deadlines is an excellent indicator of their current stress levels. If your IT team members are the ones who appear to be holding up implementation timelines, it’s essential to find out why.

New implementations often take a back seat to issues with current systems. So, if your team consistently fails to meet project deadlines, it’s a good indicator they’re struggling to keep up with demand and require additional resources.

Assist overburdened resources with co-managed IT

Once you have identified an overburdened IT team, what can you do about it? This step is where co-managed IT can make all the difference. Outsourcing some of your IT responsibilities to an external provider can give your internal IT team time and space to work on the projects that matter to the organization.

This solution is preferable to growing your internal team. It’s an affordable and scalable service — meaning you only pay for what you need, implement changes faster, and increase capacity with relatively low costs.

Do you need to increase the capacity of your overburdened IT team? With the managed services industry expected to grow to $329.1 billion by 2025, there’s never been a better time to provide more support to your IT team. Get in touch to find out how we can help.