Every office worker knows that downtime experienced from a technology issue can totally derail the day’s productivity. However, one thing that office managers might not be aware of is how, in a downtime event, it’s possible to divert a worker’s energy so that productivity still happens on some level, which helps take the sting out of downtime.

From a business-time-is-money perspective, downtime can really take a toll on your bottom line, especially if a worker just sits there and blankly stares at their computer screen whenever the system goes down. A scenario like this where a worker acts like they’re completely helpless to do any work, may sound a little ridiculous, but it happens more often than you may think.

In fact, some seemingly-diligent employees will even go so far as to use downtown for their personal pleasures, even though they’re technically on the clock and still getting paid for their time. For example, there are some workers that may rejoice at a server outage because they feel like they now have the right to whip out their smartphones and tackle a level of Angry Birds. Or, they may translate an Internet outage as the opportune time to step outside for a breath of fresh air (and you know that they’ll take their sweet time to saunter back inside once the network is up and running again).

When employees have this kind of attitude about downtime, it causes downtime to be twice as expensive for you. Alternatively, if your employees understand the nature of downtime and how costly it is, then any good employee will make extra efforts to stay productive during downtime. You can help instill this always-be-productive attitude in your workers by 1) communicating to them the importance of not slacking off during downtime, and 2) providing and presenting them with activities they can do in order to stay productive during downtime.

Here are six tasks that you can line your staff up with in order to take the sting out of downtime:

  • Use downtime to make needed phone calls.
  • Inform your employees of the location of your cleaning supplies. That way, when downtime hits, you can have your staff clean the office.
  • Make sure that your staff has productivity applications available that aren’t dependent upon the Internet. That way, when the Internet connection is lost, they can continue working offline.
  • Remind employees that downtime is the perfect time to take a restroom break. Otherwise, employees will use the restroom during work hours, which cuts into productivity.
  • Hold a huddle and encourage employees to pitch ways to improve their day-to-day operations.
  • Downtime is a good time to respond to emails, or at least the messages that you can conjure up from memory. If you have access to an offline word processing program, then you can use it to write a response to the email, and then, when email is once again available, you can open the message, copy, paste, and send what you’ve written during your downtime.
  • Even using downtime to jot down productivity ideas on a notepad will help to improve operations–once they’re back online.

For any employee with a good work ethic, the concept of “staying productive during downtown” shouldn’t be a radical concept. A good employee will want to chip in and do what they can to help bring down the expense of downtime. In fact, you can tell early on in the job interview if they have this always-be-productive mindset by asking them a question like, “What are your past experiences in dealing with downtime?”

In the same way that your business takes the preventive measure of backing up your data to protect your company from data loss experienced by downtown, so too can your business take preventive measures like lining up backup work projects to help take the sting out of downtime. What’s that? Your company doesn’t have a reliable data backup solution that will protect your business from a serious and sudden downtime scenario? All Business Technologies offers the ultimate downtime preventative tool for businesses with our Backup and Disaster Recovery solution. Call us today at 508-586-1000 to learn more.

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