IT systems are integral to so many parts of your business. When they go down – whether it’s planned or not – if you don’t communicate with staff, your help desk will spend a lot of time fielding questions. Often the same question, over and over again.
It’s important to get on the front foot either by informing staff beforehand if it is scheduled, or keeping them in the loop when an unforeseen outage occurs.
Putting a simple communications strategy in place helps build trust with your staff and also allows you to get on with the job of restoring the systems if you aren’t being interrupted and fielding questions.
Wherever possible, give your employees as much notice as you can that downtime is on the way. This will enable them to prioritize their workloads and reschedule tasks to reduce the impact of the outage on their work as much as possible.
There are a few ways you can keep employees informed about a system outage:
1 .System outage notification email
If you have a planned outage, sending a system outage notification by email to all staff in advance is a good way to keep them informed.
In most cases, you’ll find that a single email about the planned outage won’t be enough. Not everyone will remember an email notification they got a week ago, so you’ll have to keep reminding them as the scheduled outage time gets closer.
If you have an unplanned outage, email updates can be good if the email systems are unaffected.
If your company has an Intranet homepage that all staff see on their desktops, this is a good place to include an IT outage notification.
DeskAlerts are an excellent way to keep your employees in the loop when it comes to a system outage. A DeskAlert is a pop-up message sent to an employee’s desktop.
Unlike emails and Intranet announcements, DeskAlerts are much more likely to be seen. Let’s face it, we all receive so many emails every day, not everyone is necessarily going to be opened and read.
In an unplanned outage, you can let staff know swiftly that there are problems with the system and an estimated time until they go up again. For planned outages, you can send messages reminding employees that the system is about to go down, before it happens.
And if you have a local outage unique to one site, those employees can be notified directly without bothering others.
DeskAerts will allow you to create an IT outage notification template so you can save them to be used again in the future, cutting down on future work.
- Phone and SMS
Depending on the size of your organization, you might be able to let people know by phone (or face-to-face!) about a planned notification. Or if there’s been an unexpected outage, you can call key managers and have them brief their staff.
SMS alerts can be good for staff who may not always work from the office, for example, sales people who are on the road, so they know that the company is experiencing system issues.