It’s a dangerous trend that has only been on the rise: companies overworking their IT departments. With today’s needs to do more with less, companies are looking for any ways to cut costs. In this blog post, we focus on the warning signs of an IT department that’s at critical status and how to resolve them before it becomes too late.
The Consequences of an Understaffed IT Department
Understaffing doesn't result in just higher turnover rates in the IT department, it comes with a plethora of problems. It creates gossip. It nurtures distaste towards the company.
There are many warning signs and consequences of having an understaffed and overworked IT department.
- Tired workers. Overworked and overwhelmed workers are prone to make more mistakes or miss critical details from not getting enough rest.
- Lowered morale. Employees with low drive are more likely to search for another job and leave without warning, leaving the remainder of the department to pick up the pieces.
- Details being missed. Being overwhelmed makes it very easy to miss small details. Over time, repeatedly missing these small details can become big deals.
- Contempt. Employees that hate their job will let the quality of their work slack, costing the company even more time and money.
Statistics of Overworked IT Departments
Yeah, I'm gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great. And I almost forgot, I'm also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too. We lost some people this week and we sorta need to play catch up.”
Sound familiar? Aside from being a quote from a movie that's now a cult classic, it’s something that many IT departments have heard on a regular basis. Consider this:
- 63% of enterprise executives and technology decision makers cited a lack of staff as a challenge or major challenge.
- In a survey of 500 small business owners, 35% said they were somewhat or significantly understaffed--but 70% of the respondents said they plan to maintain their current employee levels.
- 54% of employers experiencing a talent shortage say that it has a medium or high impact on their ability to meet client needs.
In some cases, talent shortages are the cause; in others, the problem stems from a misdirected attempt to improve profitability by controlling employment-related expenses. But whatever the reason, chronic understaffing has become the operational norm for businesses from coast to coast.
How to Prevent Your IT Department from Being Understaffed
While there is no sure-fire way that fixes the problem every time, there are always options.
Talk to Your Boss
It may seem like the simplest idea, but rarely is it done. People will complain to other employees, but never bring it higher up the chain. Give examples of why you believe your department is understaffed (or on the verge of becoming understaffed). Write down your approximate hours that it takes to perform each task per day you're responsible for. Just be certain to be polite and honest, and most importantly, don't sound like you're whining or complaining.
Outsourcing doesn't have to be a dirty word. While you may be against it, consider the benefits of outsourcing even just a few tasks. Maybe if your IT department handles all personal requests like password changes or setting up email addresses on new devices - things that are simple to resolve, but time-consuming. If that's the case, it may not hurt to outsource these tasks to another company.
Hire a Temp or Part-Time Worker
It can take months of training to bring a full employee up to speed in an IT department. If this is a problem, it wouldn't hurt to look into hiring a short-term or part-time employee to do simple, but time-intensive projects.
Concerned that your IT department has fallen victim of the understaffing bug? Download the free Go-To IT Staffing Checklist to help you hone in on what it is you need to create the perfect resolution and implement it.