Tech & Work

HR Policies for tech work after hours

I responded to a post from Toni Bowers on Tech Republic about worker productivity the other day.  In doing so I got a little long-winded and animated in my comments.  In fact, it migrated into a rant about HR policies not accomodating the need for IT people to do tech work after hours.  I wrote:

As the IT Manager with a lot of evening and weekend work, I once tried to make a case for flex time or comp time with a previous employer and got thrown out of the HR Manager's office.  The HR Manager said, "We don't use those phrases around here. If you work more than 40 hours in a week then you need to work something out with your supervisor to take some time off the following week."

What a joke. I can't do some of my work during regular work hours because if I took down the server to do an update nobody could do their work. So I have to sit around during the regular work hours waiting for the employees to go home so I can do my work. What a waste of time and loss of productivity.

And what about all those late night remote desktop sessions from home to fix some problem on a user workstation that I can't touch during regular business hours? Remote Desktop has made my job easier because I can work from home now to install patches, check logs and monitor disk usage or do just about anything else a network administrator has to do.

Unfortunately, the ability of a tech guy to work from home has also made it so that I work more hours than I would if I only worked out of the office.  I don't think HR policies have kept up with the change in the way IT people work these days.  It has been my experience that most small business HR people are stuck in the mentality that you are on-site and form their compensation policies accordingly.

I'll rant about one more thing before I turn it loose for your comments.  What should the compensation policy be for the IT guy who goes on vacation but is still on call, specifically because he is the only IT guy?  I have gone on vacation using my accrued vacation hours and spent many hours fielding help desk phone calls forwarded to my cell phone.  I've even done remote desktop sessions from the hotel in the evening using the laptop to work on a server or user workstation.

What do you think?  Am I being a baby about the hours I spend working evenings, weekends or even on my vacation?  Most IT guys are paid pretty well and the nice salary should cover the grief of a few extra hours here and there, right?

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