We all know our offices and operations have looked different this year and have faced unexpected changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before you take time off for the holidays, make sure you won’t have to deal with IT disasters while trying to enjoy some rest and relaxation. 

“An IT disaster is defined as more than one failure resulting in an extended outage. Our goal at Avèro Advisors is to help you avoid those failures.” – Mike Caffrey, VP, Avèro Infrastructure

Check out the following quick tips before you take time off — and then enjoy.  

Review and update your escalation and communication plan

Fewer people checking the most minor signs of a problem can quickly escalate the situation into something much worse. Here’s what you can do to make sure all team members are better prepared for any problems that may arise:

  • Ensure all processes and procedures put in place during the pandemic are accurate, documented, and known by all staff. Double-check this is in place today.
  • Make sure your direct reports are equally prepared for communication hiccups. Encourage all staff members to continue utilizing video conferencing and scheduled update calls.  
  • Prepare some “Plan B” communications in case your laptop or cell phone are compromised or malfunction during your time off. Be sure to share that plan with your backup before taking off.

Cover the bills before you leave

Some of your vendors may have seen some A/R aging already due to COVID, and you’re about to add 30 days to the problem before you return. Don’t return from your time off only to find degraded services. Make sure all invoices are scheduled to be paid, today. 

Ensure proper staffing and plan for the unexpected

Proper staffing doesn’t just apply to personal days and vacations. It also involved planning for the unexpected family emergency, illness, and other curveballs life tends to throw at us. Nonetheless, there are steps you can take to better prepare your team for unforeseen circumstances. 

Communicate your days off in a timely manner

Make sure all PLANNED days off are set in stone well before your time off. Lack of staffing might leave your operation short-handed and even more vulnerable to a prolonged outage, especially in times of remote support. Confirm and discuss the plans today for remote or on-site staffing.

Make sure the right people have what they need 

In many cases, personnel who have been assigned to “cover” a task or work in your absence lack the adequate training to get the job done. A lot of times, it’s as simple as not knowing what the new passwords are or who their new vendor contacts are, which usually stems from outdated documentation. Make sure to check this kind of information for accuracy before your time off. Securely share the details with the relevant person and make them aware of any changes. 

Keep remote support staff in the loop with vendor support contract terms

Some of your support contracts are next business day support (NBD), which means that if the problem is reported at 5:05 p.m. on Wednesday, the soonest you’ll receive the new component is Friday. 

Remember — efficient time management is a practice, and ensuring a staff member will be on-site is vital. Some of your support contracts have different phone numbers to call during evening and weekend shifts. Other contracts stipulate that an email be sent to customer support before a phone call is placed. 

Make sure your remote or on-site support staff reviews the vendor support contract terms. Quiz them today. If they know the procedure, it’s only a five-minute exercise.

Striking the right balance before stepping away is vital. By following these tips, you are well on your way to enjoying your days off and knowing that your systems are operating efficiently and effectively whether your team is working remotely or not.

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