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A lot of people need to be on call for their jobs. As an employee or as a manager, it’s important to manage this on call time so that no one gets burned out.

Work and life balance is critical for every one in the company. But if you have employees whose position requires them to be on call regularly, I highly recommend that you pay attention to your on call process so that employees don’t get burned out with working too many hours.

Below are 4 ways to better manage the on call process:

  1. Establish a rotating schedule. If you expect one or two employees to constantly cover the on call function of the job, they’ll get burned out. Make sure to include as many employees as possible. In fact, it’s great for the manager to take a turn once in a while too so that they can see what is really happening during the on call hours.
  2. Account for vacation and time off. It’s really important that your employees are able to unplug and disconnect from work while they’re on vacation. Vacation time was set up to be a benefit, truly a benefit. Not a pretend benefit but a real benefit. So if your employees are stressed about having to be on call when they go on vacations, that’s not really a benefit to them.
  3. Create a simple calendaring system. If your department has a lot of people who are coming to your employees for assistance, they won’t know who is on call unless there’s a simple calendaring system that everyone in the company can access.  This will help to assist the right employee to be contacted and make it easier for the other departments to get the help they need. Perhaps using a Google Calendar will be a cheap and effective way.
  4. Use a single cell phone. It may well be easier to have one cell phone that is passed from one person to the next who is on call. That way, it doesn’t matter who is on call, the right employee will answer the phone/text and not interrupt the wrong employee.
Call a meeting to discuss what is and is not working for the on call process.

Call a meeting to discuss what is and is not working for the on call process.

Additionally, I recommend that you invite the employees who are doing the on call work to a special meeting.

In the meeting you can openly discuss what is and isn’t working for the on call hours. Don’t be surprised if your people have some great ideas to keep the on call work running smoothly, fairly and effectively. Plus, they’ll love that you’re asking for their feedback.

You may need to have a follow-up meeting to finalize the details of the improved on call process, just make sure to have that follow-up meeting soon after the first meeting. Employees really hate it when their bosses don’t close the communication gap.

How does your company/team balance the on call needs?