Even as we progress in what is now the “new normal,” the impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues to challenge IT service desks around the globe. But what about the challenges of your end users? IT professionals are techies and engineers. We love our gadgets and having new toys to play with. The rest of the business? Not so much. Using smartphones or apps will be second nature to most IT professionals but it’s a completely different story for some of our colleagues. To help, this blog looks at ways to best manage the shift in working practices for employees and their potentially new technology needs in the “new normal.”
Tip #1: Still keep an eye on the technology supply chain
The COVID-19 crisis caused logistical challenges as well as human ones. As many countries remain subject to distancing protocols, it’s harder for hardware companies to manufacture equipment and to ship it to customers. So, keep in touch with your usual technology suppliers and if you’re unable to order your usual equipment in a timeframe that matches your demand, then work with them to identify suitable alternatives. If you do have access to new equipment, then try to make sure that it’s spread across support teams. It’s all very well having new equipment in a central location but if that person becomes ill, or has to self-isolate, then that equipment likely cannot be accessed for weeks.
Tip #2: Always cover the basics of home-working employee technology needs
Many employees will continue to be remote workers in this “new normal.” So, make sure that all your organization’s home working employees continue to have the essentials in terms of homeworking technology. Reach out to your end-user community and make it a priority to ensure that everyone who is going to continue working remotely not only has access to a PC or tablet, a phone, and network connectivity. But also other homeworking equipment such as:
- External hard drives for backups
If you have a service catalog, make sure that hardware requirements for each department are covered – because some teams will need a full suite of laptops and specialized software, whereas others may only need a mobile device. Make sure that you keep this information up to date, so you can consistently allocate equipment to where it’s needed most.
Tip #3: Rethink your BYOD support policy
We know, we know. We have standard software images and standard equipment for a reason. They’re easy to deploy, easy to update, and easy to troubleshoot. But what happens when employees don’t have access to their usual equipment?
The key aim at the moment is still for IT to help people to keep going. Keep supporting employees/customers, keep them online, keep them connected. If you have a strict policy on not supporting home equipment, then revisit it such that your colleagues are still able to work beyond isolation, even if it’s not with their usual PC or laptop set up. Of course, it might be easier now to provide them with their corporate equipment. But, on the other hand, would it be better for everyone if remote working employees continued to use their personal equipment? It’s definitely worth considering.
Tip #4: If you haven’t already, embrace the cloud
Using web-based solutions will make supporting employees’ nonstandard equipment far easier. It’ll enable end users to access their documents and files from within their preferred browser rather than needing to manually install your organization’s office program of choice or having to retrospectively configure VPN access for shared drives.
Now that the fire-fighting of the crisis has died down, it might be time for your organization to
Tip #5: Incentivize self-help
Entering the “new normal” for IT support is an opportunity to encourage people to use self-help and self-service routes where possible. One way of increasing self-help usage is to offer a slightly faster response time in service level agreements (SLAs) to customers who have attempted to use self-help before logging their call. This combined with gamification could persuade some end users who are not as comfortable interacting with online portals to give it a try.
So, that’s our list of top tips on how to make sure that your IT service desk and end users cope with new IT equipment in the “new normal.” What would you add to this? Please let us know in the comments.