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General Chat Thread, Out of hours user support in General; Hi, Having just seen to such a request from a senior colleague and being used to doing such things at ...
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    Out of hours user support

    Hi,

    Having just seen to such a request from a senior colleague and being used to doing such things at strange hours... I am wondering how normal/widespread it is for IT Managers to action support requests, sent to personal email, out of hours. This particular one was a remote access issue, on a Saturday night, mid evening. Another recent one was a password issue, emailed at 00:15 on a week night by a very senior colleague. Both were seen to within the hour.

    A rod for my back, I know, but I don't really mind, as long as an immediate response is not assumed.

    Is this a normal level of service in places that don't run an official 24/7 service desk, or would people generally see to user support issues of any kind, during the next office hours and not before?

    Discuss.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    First thoughts are hell no and certainly not to a personal email account.

    Schools pay far too little for their IT support personnel as it is and as you said a rod for your own back.

    Ben

  3. Thanks to plexer from:

    tech_guy (5th January 2014)

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    From my point of view as a NM I take it as part of my job to do this. I get paid well for what I do so the extra hours is part and parcel... I also like being indispensable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    First thoughts are hell no and certainly not to a personal email account.

    Schools pay far too little for their IT support personnel as it is and as you said a rod for your own back.

    Ben
    To clarify, a personal school email account, as opposed to a group address or support support desk one... Not an off-domain address!

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    I'll often fix things out of hours, but i'll put it on an overtime sheet if i do (most of the time) sometimes i just have my emails open, see someone ask for something and just do it there and then because i've got little better to do

    Two important SLT members have noticed that i do that and I've been somewhat rewarded because of it in the past.

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    DaveP's Avatar
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    I have just finished a period of on-call work for a tutoring group using the school during the break. I get paid only if I have to go on site [no pay for E-Mail, telephone or remote computer support]

    I will also answer E-Mails from staff that arrive in the evening/at weekends [and they do come!] No pay for that.

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    twin--turbo's Avatar
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    We have a call out fee and unsociable hrs pay for anything outside 8-4 operational hrs. invoking this can only come from SLT or if we spot something critical.

    so it should not be a problem, but I know it has on a couple of occasions.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Back in the days of yore, when I worked as part of a team for an insurance company, I did on call from home and worked some nights. I was paid to do this and paid extra if the on call resulted in a trip to work.

    Back in school with me as the only IT support/NM and part time at that, I am not paid for support from home and providing 24/7/365 support is completely unrealistic. Importantly, out of hours support is not in my contract.

    However, I do keep an eye on my work email (although that is a deliberate action on my part; they don't flash up on my phone) and will respond to them and I do keep an eye on the servers. However, this is voluntary... if a situation is urgent then I will drop things and get them done... if it's a case of typing a quick email I will do it... virtually everything else can wait until I am work no matter how loud someone shouts. My HT appreciates that and is OK with this.
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 5th January 2014 at 08:55 AM.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    We do it on a "best endeavours" basis. There's no real policy in place, but the majority of queries received out of ours by email can be replied to quickly or will wait until the next working day. For anything major, it rather depends on the resources available; physical access limits us massively so there's only so much we can do.

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    XiJ
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    As a private company I'll respond to e-mails at most hours - normally from my phone.

    I'll take the occasional phone call and look at something remotely of its major.

    Since having kids I've found it much easier to say no (or ignore until Monday) if I need to spend time with the family. That's more important than anything and most of my primary schools appreciate that and what I do!

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    I've just had an email from a teacher to say that the ICT module they will be using next week has a a faulty website link. I've checked it and it doesn't work but I've sorted a fix that I will now have to implement tomorrow. Luckily it's an inset day and all the teachers will be off-site in the morning. I won't get paid for this but I now log any extra hours I do and take it off the 10 days I'm supposed to work during holidays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    .
    I am not paid for support from home and providing 24/7/365 support is completely unrealistic. Importantly, out of hours support is not in my contract.

    However, I do keep an eye on my work email (although that is a deliberate action on my part; they don't flash up on my phone) and will respond to them and I do keep an eye on the servers. However, this is voluntary... if a situation is urgent then I will drop things and get them done... if it's a case of typing a quick email I will do it... virtually everything else can wait until I am work no matter how loud someone shouts. My HT appreciates that and is OK with this.
    This^
    I will check my work email on a Sunday evening to get a heads up on what might come up the next day - but no one expects me to fix things out of hours. Mind you, staff never know when I am in even though I am at work EVERY DAY and have worked for one school for 4 years and the other for 10! so they are not sure when I might get around to things anyway...

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    I have been contacted by teachers twice today with messages about problems accessing resources on our network. I can't help with either issue because there is a problem with remote access to our network and so the resolution to both issues will have to wait until tomorrow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simcfc73 View Post
    From my point of view as a NM I take it as part of my job to do this. I get paid well for what I do so the extra hours is part and parcel... I also like being indispensable.
    That is how I took it, also whenever I tried to boot people off at say 4pm to do upgrades to the MIS (when the MIS helpdesk was open) etc.. I was always met with but I need it or I didn't know despite the emails, notes in the staff newsletter and me saying in the staff meeting so I gave up on that, I always did a test upgrade anyway so could be aware of bugs and then did it either in an evening or a Saturday.

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    Yeah, but some of us are definitely NOT well paid

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