There are going to be times when your department is working without its full complement of staff. Find out how to sail through these periods and come out with a more effective IT Department.

Have rock-solid VPN

If your full contingent of IT staff aren’t in the office, the odds are someone’s going to have to perform vital tasks from a remote location. Make sure you’ve got a secure VPN in place so they can do what they need to.

Up your IT security

You’re more vulnerable to hackers and IT security risks when you’re missing staff. Be sure you’ve got your sensitive data and internal systems is locked down while you’re running a skeleton staff so you’re not caught out.

Manage stress

Not just your own. The skeleton team are already probably slightly lower on morale for having a higher workload. Take steps to make sure they know they’re valued and appreciated.

Maintain innovation

Necessity is the mother of invention, and she does a pretty good job of raising her kids. Skeleton-crew periods are a fantastic time to discover efficiencies and develop improved systems that you can implement and maintain through the year.

Utilise SharePoint

Your staff will be much happier to work for some of the time off-site than schlep into the office every day. In addition to a secure VPN, make sure they’ve got access to what they need by developing a SharePoint solution that’s tailored to your business.

Find short-term help

If you’re really hurting for employees, you’ve got options. There’ll be contractors who are happy to pick up the extra cash, so nurture and tap into a network of these. If you’re not able to find anyone, start a discussion with your suppliers, partners or customers about how they manage and look into potentially a flexible IT support or managed services agreement.

Reward the skeletons

The staff who stay on during a busy period will likely be off their feet looking after their regular responsibilities as well as taking on responsibilities around building maintenance, client service and other day-to-day necessities. When your team is back to full strength, the skeleton staff are likely to feel under-valued unless you find a way to thank them. A team lunch, time-in-lieu or cash bonuses will do the trick.

For more tips on managing an undermanaged IT team, click here.