On-Call Scheduling Tips and Tricks for Your Business

On-Call Scheduling Tips and Tricks for Your Business

  On-call scheduling is necessary to create an effective on-call rotation, but it can feel tedious and overwhelming. In this guide, we share our tips and tricks for creating an optimized on-call schedule for your business. 

On-call scheduling is one practice that may help to reduce alert fatigue. Alert fatigue is a condition where the nature of an engineer’s work can produce anxiety, stress, frustration, or irritation. These feelings can result in mistakes being made when resolving issues. 

It would be best for your employees and business to avoid the problem altogether. By always having enough people on staff to support all on-call needs you can resolve this, but that is often not the case. Do you need on-call support now? Contact us here

Set-up and execution of an effective on-call rotation strategy are essential for ensuring reliable services. But, it can be tricky to put into place. If you have on-call people, you need to consider the scheduling of their shifts and the tools they need to resolve issues effectively. This guide will find tips and tricks for creating on-call scheduling for your business.

On-call scheduling helps mitigate the effects of alert fatigue by rotating responsibility for on-call shifts among team members and ensuring time off after an on-call period. There are several different techniques you might consider when implementing an on-call schedule. 

What To Consider When Implementing Effective On-Call Scheduling. 

On-call scheduling can make or break the reliability of your business. But it can also make or break the general balance of your individual engineers (especially when it comes to their work-life experience). (And if you’re a manager in an on-call rotation, it can do a number on you, too.) So you need to understand how to schedule these shifts effectively and back up that schedule with reliable tools and processes. 

On-call is usually a shared responsibility among several people on your team. The goal is to ensure that someone will be available 24/7/365 to respond to incidents and resolve outages. If everyone shares this responsibility equally, you’ll have a robust on-call culture that values responsiveness and dedication. The tricky part is figuring out how best to divide the work among your engineers while still respecting their time and having enough rest. 

When it comes to determining the right approach to on-call scheduling for your business, a few different techniques are worth consideration. 

Different Approaches to On-Call Scheduling.

One approach is to have each on-call engineer be responsible for their coverage. This personal responsibility allows engineers to control their own agenda and have flexibility with their availability. Another approach is to have a single engineer who has primary responsibility for covering all shifts, which means they can take vacations without worrying about whether someone else will cover their shift for them. The downside here is that this approach doesn’t allow for much individual freedom in scheduling other work activities. Finally, you can work with an experienced partner to manage your on-call scheduling and provide engineers to support your needs. In this final option, you do not have to worry about alert fatigue or how to handle everything because that is what your outsourced partner is here to do for you!

At Call Experts, we have a dedicated on-call team of engineers prepared to support your business whenever you need it. We have decades of experience managing on-call engineers and time-tested protocols to guarantee they receive what they need while providing the support you dream of for your business. Stop having to worry about scheduling, partner with Call Experts now for effortless support. 

How To Create an Effective On-Call Schedule.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself when creating your on-call schedule. 

First, are there any services that should be on-call 24 hours a day? Should the entire team be responsible for responding to those alerts, or should some specific engineers have 24/7 responsibility? When handling incidents, is it essential for your team to have support from a particular part of the organization, such as product management, infrastructure, or security teams? In that case, make sure you include them in on-call responsibilities. Finally, if you have geographically distributed teams, make sure you consider the time zones of each team while creating your schedule. For example, if teams A and B are in different time zones and one consistently has issues that require the attention of the other team members, then it might make sense to include both teams’ on-call schedules.

On-Call Scheduling Best Practices. 

Scheduling on-call duties among team members is an integral part of assuring uptime for users and customers. Therefore, on-call engineers should be made aware of their upcoming schedule as soon as possible to prevent burnout and alert fatigue. You should tailor the on-call program to the needs of individual engineers, and then from there, you should take any additional special requests into account as well. 

An excellent way to start is by using a 24×7 calendar that features individual color-coded calendars that indicate which days individuals are on call (green), off call (yellow), or booked with other obligations (red). With a bit of forethought in scheduling, you can ensure everyone gets time off while providing high-quality support.

There are several open-source and commercial solutions for on-call scheduling and management. However, many organizations are still looking for a better way to manage on-call rotations. How? By focusing on centralizing and simplifying the process while reducing friction and increasing efficiency. 

An effective on-call schedule is a living document that the on-call team owns and controls. It should be centrally managed and updated as changes are made. It should also have the ability to communicate information quickly to relevant stakeholders. 

Because you can’t afford to miss an outage, defining time limits for the first response team is essential. Make sure there is an easy way for people to edit the schedule. Why? Just in case something unexpected comes up (like a family emergency taking them away from the office). If that’s the case, the schedule will need to be adjusted right away by an engineer. It would help if you lay out all shifts. And, full coverage should be in place that takes time zones into account. The system should notify everyone when the scheduled changes, so it’s no surprise when a change occurs.

Outsourcing On-Call Support.

Are you tired of having to update two or three spreadsheets or wikis with contact information every time an engineer joins or leaves your organization? Looking for a way to minimize the risk of downtime? Wanting to make sure all relevant stakeholders get notified about critical issues ASAP? 

We have decades of experience managing on-call scheduling for businesses at Call Experts; talk to one of our experts today to see how we can help you now.

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