How many IT professionals should you have in your information technology department? It is a complicated question. The central issue is the number of tasks to complete and the allocated budget, as well as having enough employees who work the standard forty-hour week, while achieving every objective required in generating business success.

The overburdening of staff in IT departments leads to excessive overtime and chronic burnout, which in turn leads to underperformance for the organization. A recent comprehensive survey of the IT industry indicates that the average IT worker puts in 52 hours a week, and 18% of respondents work more than 60 hours per week on average.

The Perfect Ratio – The Outline Of An Answer

Help desks take up a significant portion of IT department time, according to the survey. Adding more support staff gets more done throughout departments as the extra support staff help frees up other employees for the core tasks of the IT department roles. Having added responsibilities piled on top is another factor that determines workweek length. Expectations of IT departments add hours to the week.

The survey provides evidence that larger IT teams perform more efficiently and achieve better results. It may be that bigger units are less burdened generally, or that the ability to spread the work among more personnel is just more efficient. In the survey, the overworked departments had an average of ten staff members and the companies that coped with the IT workload within regular work hours had 17 IT workers on average.

The Industry Supported Determines The IT Workload

In technology-based industries, such as engineering and manufacturing, as well as non-profits, the norm is high, above fifty hours per week. Construction and engineering showed the longest hours of any workweek as measured by industry. In contrast, other professions such as government, education, and healthcare have workweeks that resemble the national average and seldom extend beyond forty hours.

IT professionals in North America report longer than average workweeks, but pros in other parts of the world are putting in long hours too, though slightly less than their American counterparts. The takeaway is that if you choose a career as an IT professional, you can expect to work long hours.

The big-picture conclusions that follow directly from these facts are that IT workers are diligent people, who put in the time and take care of your business, like roots that nourish a tree. When teams are too small and too much overworked it causes disruptive pressure, mistakes, and degraded performance.

The Right IT Teams Get Jobs Done

The need for efficient and high-performing technology in the workplace is not going to diminish. In fact, the competitive landscape drives the search to increase the returns that organizations gain from their hard-working IT and support elements. IT departments work better and deliver better solutions when they have enough staff to cover all ongoing operations activities, without resorting to overtime every week.

Ultimately, right-sized IT departments increase the return on revenue that their parent organizations generate if they get the balance right and will deliver sound investment returns; companies that find the right IT staffing ratio save money and become more competitive in the long run.

And have you already defined the optimum IT staff ratio in your software teams?

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Geoffrey has developed a niche in writing that is a great fit to the needs of the modern marketing department. Since leaving conventional employment in 2012 to become self-employed as a writer he has developed a strong base of knowledge and contacts that he has now rallied into a writing team that delivers high quality writing that resonates with readers. Feel free to contact Geoffrey directly in LinkedIn!

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