It’s a ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ for Many IT Teams

The holiday season can be a nightmare for many IT teams, new research shows.

While many office workers will be taking some extra time off or working remotely during the holiday season, IT teams are left on call and are working behind the scenes to make sure the company’s computers and network stay up and running, according to a study from Ipswitch.

The research shows that 40 percent of IT professionals will be on call or working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, while 16 percent will be doing so on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“The holiday season for IT teams is no vacation, as they are working around the clock to keep their IT infrastructure running smoothly,” Jeff Loeb, chief marketing officer at Ipswitch, said in a statement.

The spike in employees working from outside the office this time of year adds to IT teams’ increased workload. The research revealed that 47 percent of IT professionals see between 10 and 25 percent of their company’s employees working remotely on any given week during the holidays, and 29 percent see between 26 and 50 percent of their workforce logging in remotely.

An increase in the number of employees working remotely often causes more problems for IT teams. The most common of these issues include fixing laptop computers, helping employees who are having difficulty accessing the network, dealing with poor application performance and handling a variety of security issues, such as malware on laptops.

“Making sure employees are connected and ready to work no matter their location, along with putting out the typical fires, is no easy task,” Loeb said.

Annual holiday parties can also cause some extra work for IT teams. Following holiday festivities, 47 percent of those surveyed have had an employee report losing a device holding sensitive company data. The places a phone, tablet or laptop has been lost include bars, restaurants and taxis.

The problems don’t stop once the holiday season is over. Many employees return to work after their extended break armed with a bunch of new tech gadgets that often require some attention from IT staff. Those surveyed said smartphones, wearable technology, tablets and laptops are the devices they expect to cause the most extra work for IT teams.

The study was based on surveys of 378 U.S.-based IT professionals.

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