Why We Use On-Call Shadowing On-call shadowing is an essential practice at PagerDuty. For a new engineer, a shadowing period serves as a kinder, smoother...by Max Timchenko
March 26, 2019
At PagerDuty, we are aware of the negative consequences tied to poor operations health. In today’s always-on digital world, companies are pressured to meet ever-rising customer demands, putting IT professionals under increasing strain to keep digital services healthy and running—often at the expense of their own health and personal lives. Imagine missing out on life’s important milestones (such as your kid’s first school play) or being woken by the shrill ringing of your phone in the middle of the night just because you need to respond to work calls. How quickly will you burn out or decide you need a job with a better work-life balance?
Even so, we were surprised by three particular findings from a recent survey we conducted of over 800 IT professionals in the U.S., UK, and Australia. We discovered that:
In the survey report commissioned by PagerDuty, a whopping 94 percent of respondents said that the responsibility for managing always-on digital services impacts their family life. Additionally, more than half (51.3 percent) indicated they experience sleep or personal life interruptions to address a digital service disruption or outage more than 10 times a week.
What’s concerning is that despite statistics showing that constant interruptions negatively affect on-call responders’ health and personal lives, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of survey respondents reported that their managers have little to no visibility in knowing when they are experiencing a difficult on-call period. And they’re not far off base: 58.9 percent of surveyed IT managers indicated that they have little to no visibility in knowing when their teams are experiencing a difficult on-call period.
IT managers—and companies overall—should be concerned. Why?
According to Forrester, there’s already a lack of talent available for critical roles, which holds back digital transformation for many companies. This lack of talent can further negatively affect the bottom line when combined with poor operations health, which contributes directly to high employee attrition and/or high turnover.
Maintaining a healthy IT ecosystem is a demanding job that requires on-call responders to be ready for anything at any time, day or night, which in turn can lead to unhappy employees who are at risk of burning out and quitting. However, since the beginning of ITOps, operational health has focused on servers and applications instead of people—often to the detriment of the business.
But when operations health is viewed from the human perspective rather than just servers and apps, it starts to make sense why IT managers should take a closer look at the health of their on-call responders—especially since nearly a quarter (23.1 percent) of respondents said that they are more likely to look for a new job as a result of poor work-life balance. Additionally, those who stay are more likely to be less productive if organizations don’t take measures to improve operations health. In fact, 94.5 percent of respondents indicated that they believe the constant interruptions of being on-call also impact their work productivity.
As I’ve pointed out, losing good people will ultimately negatively impact how well your organization can deliver digital services. So how can you improve the health and happiness of your employees?
Whether you know it or not, you already have the data that will provide insight into your current operations health—it’s just a matter of unlocking that data so you can determine where improvements can be made.
PagerDuty recognized this challenge and developed an Operations Health Service offering—which combines machine learning, data science, expert services, and industry and peer benchmarking data from over 10,000 organizations—to enable IT managers to look at their digital operations as seen through the lens of their people’s health.
Get started on improving your operations health by learning how PagerDuty can help your organization humanize your digital operations today.