Downtime for the IT Manager

Lets face it, for an IT Manager you can never really get downtime. The only time you used to be unplugged was on your vacation.

Taking a vacation, turning the phone off, stopping the instant or text messages is both needed and a huge challenge.

Can I trust my staff not to have any emergencies while I am gone? What will they do? What is the CIO or CEO going to say if I don’t know what is happening when they call? What if there is an outage?

The answer is never as simple as don’t worry about it, but well it kind of is. When you are in a meeting, your not checking your phone every 30 seconds, and each of those things can come up then. Follow these three T’s to achieving productive downtime

1. Train. There are 3 main groups you need to train, your staff, your boss and everyone else. The staff is easy, they will be glad your not checking up all the time. Your boss will understand, if not remind him of how productive he was after his last vacation. Everyone else, is the challenge. Its not that they don’t understand, its that they won’t remember your off. Out of office reminders help, but not as much as you hope. With them its time to play the constant reminder game, or the highly recommended turning off the phone.

2. Trust. People are smart. If there is an emergency and your not responding, they will figure it out. Have you ever been in a big meeting and a server went down? Did your staff start to handle it and then let you know, or barge into the meeting and grab you first off?

3. Try it ( even for a weekend ). The best way is to start small, unplug for a movie, a weekend, an evening. Telling people for this is optional.

Once you realize how liberating it is not to be tied to work, you’ll come back better rested, and more motivated to get back into things. If that fails, there are still a few places where maintaining a solid connection is difficult.

I hear the south pole is nice this time of year.



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