Be consistent when dealing with holiday support schedules. If someone was on-call on Thanksgiving, then dont assign them this duty again for Christmas. Announce next years annual schedule before this years December holiday season so people have a chance to review it.
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Have a process in place for people to swap on-call slots. You can always veto a swap if you feel a persons expertise is needed for a particular slot. Just make amends for any veto with extra time off or some other perk.
Be extra sensitive to the impact being on-call has to life outside work. When you are on-call, you really cant mentally leave work completely. You have to always make yourself available if trouble occurs and thus have to be careful not to make extravagant plans (or consume alcoholic beverages at the local bar).
Just watching little kids while your spouse goes out can become a nightmare if you get a support call. Consider providing a half-day off the Monday after on-call ends. This will give them a few extra hours of family time or just extra time to decompress. Even if they received no calls, they still had to be on alert, which increases stress levels.
In the extreme cases of a team member being up late (or early) working on a problem, be more flexible in their working hours the next day. Do you think the code I wrote under sleep deprivation was solid? If they are up many nights in a row, consider giving a comp day.
By improving your processes to reduce bugs, providing the support tools, and being more sensitive to the stresses of round-the-clock support, you will create an environment that eases the pain of being on-call.
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