This blog was co-authored by myself and Simon Darken. Once a year, PagerDuty’s SREs get together for a three-day, in-person offsite. With the team spread...by Dave Bresci
December 5, 2018
It’s 3 a.m., and you’re warm and cozy under your comforter, lost in a dream world, and blissfully unaware of the drool pooling on your pillow.
Suddenly, you jolt awake, your heart racing. Your phone is ringing at top volume. Your partner opens one eye to glare at you before turning over, slamming a pillow over their head, and going back to sleep. You reach for your phone to silence it and see the alert—the nightly inventory batch job has failed again.
Grumbling, you sit up, grab your laptop, and spend the next two hours working. Next thing you know, it’s dawn, you’re exhausted from the lack of sleep, grouchy—and have to be in the office in a few hours.
In today’s always-on, always-available world, that’s the reality for on-call responders. Maintaining a healthy IT ecosystem is a demanding job that requires people to be ready for anything at any time, day or night. In fact, according to a recent PagerDuty report, “The State of IT Work-Life Balance,” which surveyed over 800 IT professionals, 51.3 percent say their lives are interrupted more than 10 times/week.
However, since the beginning of IT Operations, operational health has focused on infrastructure and application health—often at the expense of responder health. On-call responders wind up getting alerts throughout their work day, after hours, and on weekends, leading to alert fatigue, distractions, heightened levels of frustration, and sleep deprivation. But the responders aren’t the only ones feeling these stressors; their families are impacted as well.
It’s a widespread problem: 94.0 percent of survey respondents said that alert interruptions affect their family life. A similar number of respondents (94.5 percent) also said that alert interruptions negatively impact their work productivity, while 72.0 percent shared that their managers had little to no visibility in knowing when they’re experiencing difficult on-call periods.
Those numbers are worrisome. When these stressors aren’t addressed in a timely manner, the result is employee burnout and high turnover as people leave a company in search of a better work-life balance. Our survey found that 23.1 percent of responders would look for a new job if they were experiencing a poor work-life balance at their current company. And with the cost of replacing one skilled responder reaching $300,000 or more, it’s in a company’s best financial interest to retain their best employees.
Recognizing the challenges faced by on-call responders, we’ve launched the PagerDuty Operations Health Management Service offering, which combines data analysis with advisory consulting to help companies holistically improve the health of their operations and responders. As part of our broader portfolio of analytic capabilities, the Operations Health Management Service empowers companies with actionable insights and recommendations about their most valuable asset—their people. We’re humanizing IT operations and bringing the people behind the operations to the forefront.
Using what we call an Operations Health Score, companies can leverage our patent-pending algorithms and machine learning, combined with domain expertise and peer benchmark data, to quantify the health of their operations. Through the Operations Health Management Service, companies gain insights into where organizational and process improvements can be made, as well as identify and fix the issues causing poor responder, service, and team health.
Interested in learning more about what your company can do to improve the health, productivity, and happiness of your teams? Get started by receiving your free operations health assessment today.