Three ways to keep your IT staff productive during downtime
Although “nothing to do” doesn’t really happen in well-run IT departments, there may be periods of downtime – after a major project is completed, when all the high priority tasks are checked off the checklist – that you’ll want to make the best use of. Here are three suggestions for using that time effectively and keeping your staff busy:
- TRAIN: Tech isn’t static. Things change fast and there’s always something new to learn. Hardware, software, programming languages. Train your employees on all the devices they’re BYOD-ing and keep them up-to-date on security matters. This doesn’t have to bust the budget. If there’s no money available for bringing in outside teachers or sending your IT folks to training classes or conferences, have employees give presentations on their strengths and areas of interest.
- MAINTAIN: Now’s the time to make sure that all of your company’s computers are in working order. Do all operating systems have current security patches? Are all applications on the current releases? Run diagnostic tests on all of your hardware. If you find PCs that are running hot, clean them. Check out hard drives so you can proactively fix those that are likely to fail. Test your backup system to make sure that you’re not just backing up, but that you can recover files and drive images. (Remember to use a spare drive for this one!)
- BRAINSTORM: Get your staff together to determine ways to improve your company’s systems, networks, databases and workflow. Outline what your environment would look like in an ideal world. Sure, some of the ideas will be unattainable and/or break the bank. But even the ideas that are pretty far out might inspire folks to come up with solutions that are both feasible and affordable.
Having meaningful things to work on during a lull builds morale, improves productivity, and can make your company a place that works better – and a better place to work.