Without doubt working remotely has moved into full swing. For many, remote work and learning is a new experience and these people will need more than the usual IT tech support. Here are some steps your IT team can take to meet the expectations of experienced and non-experienced remote users. The first step is to determine the degree of experience your users have with working remotely and separate them into groups based on their experience.
Three primary questions can help you assess your users degree of experience and issues you’ll need to address:
1. Have they ever worked remotely before? If they have, did this work involve independent work or do they know how to connect over the network to collaborate with others?
2. If not, what kind of equipment do they have in terms of hardware (computers/tablets, mouse, keyboards, printer, cameras, modems, etc.), internet access (type and speed, etc.) and software applications (productivity suites such as Google Suite or Microsoft Office/365; collaboration suites such as Slack; security tools such as Norton, Webroot, etc.; online communication apps such as Zoom, Skype, Hangouts; project management tools such as Trello, etc.).
If they do not have the hardware, what is the plan to provide these – will your organization procure and install, will you provide a list of approved products, ask them to buy and you will install, or are you expecting them to install with your help over the phone or in some other way?
3. If they do have the hardware but not the software or internet access how will you determine whether the equipment will be able to run the apps and if not, what is the IT support plan for this situation?
Using these questions determine the degree of experience for each of your user groups. If most of your users are inexperienced you will need to dedicate more of your team to getting them up and running and allocate fewer members to support those that are more experienced. If most of your users are more experienced then decide how many members of your IT team can be dedicated to the inexperienced group.
Once you have everyone up and running smoothly, four additional considerations include
4. If the user is experienced with working remotely and has all the necessary equipment, will they need to be connected to the corporate or organizations systems? If so, what is your plan to ensure their devices and systems meet your security protocols?
5. How will you ensure your VPN can support the additional number of users?
6. Do you have all the licenses in place to support additional users?
7. Do you have the bandwidth you need to support all the platforms at the same time?
IT Tech Support Keeps Everyone Up and Running
You’ve managed to get all your users up and running remotely. Inevitably they will need ongoing help. For new users they are coming up the learning curve and will need assistance. Even experienced users can run into technical issues.
Anticipate now that your service requests via phone, email, and text will greatly increase. You will need a plan, process and tools to take on the additional technical support requirements in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Very likely many of the IT Helpdesk personnel will also be working remotely. You need to be prepared to support remote workers remotely. At a minimum you should plan to address three key areas:
1. A system that notifies help desk personnel of service tickets, identifies who is responsible for resolving the issue and tracks the issue from the time it is opened until it is resolved.
2. A secure platform that enables your IT Helpdesk to remotely connect with users so they can take remote control of computers and software to make appropriate fixes, patches and upgrades.
3. For many people who are not used to working remotely, the change can cause anxiety. Create a process for the IT Helpdesk to check in with users to make sure they are succeeding with the tools and are able to be successful with their work assignments.
Supporting remote work remotely comes with challenges. It also comes with opportunities to revisit processes and upgrade skills and technology.