There is an old expression that says, “People should work-to-live, not live-to-work.” And, even though it can feel counter intuitive, allowing time off for a technical team member to take care of personal needs can actually result in higher production in IT. So, my advice is that, upon occasion, and within certain bounds, you allow an IT employee’s personal life to take precedent over their job. The concept here is that if you have a good employee who is working through a difficult family, personal, or health issue you should do your best help him or her out. Assisting an IT employee in their time of need has the following benefits.
Given the dependence upon IT in companies today, this last point can be particularly valuable to you when thorny issues or emergencies occur as they often do. This positive attitude in your department can be a real strategic advantage for your group and therefore your company and enhance your reputation as having superior IT management skills. Over the years as an IT executive and CIO, I have occasionally had a team member ask me for help. One person asked if she could take two-hour lunches for a couple of months until she found new long term care for her elderly mother. Due to her mother’s health issues, her current facility could no longer meet her heeds. In additional to dealing with the emotions relating to her mother’s declining health, it also caused major logistical problems for the employee. She said she would make up the time by coming in early and I could see that, for a time, this could be managed. Not only did she come in early every day, but she often stayed late just to make sure that all her work was completed. Based on her coming and going that I observed, it seemed to me that she worked about two hours for every one hour she was out. As they say, “No good turn goes unpunished”. Therefore, when helping a member of your IT team in this way, consider the following.
For additional information on today’s topic, ask your HR department if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that can guide you in making this type of IT departmental decision.