Within a few weeks of COVID hitting, the United States labor force was transformed into a work-from-home economy, with an unprecedented 42% now working from home. Without this rapid shift to remote work, pandemic lockdowns would have been short-lived, as the entire economy would have collapsed. U.S. organizations’ ability to maintain operations while keeping the virus at bay with work-from-home employees illustrates how important a remote economy is to combat COVID as well as future pandemics.
Rising to the top as an unlikely hero to workers at home is the IT help desk. While employees were in the office, they could just walk down the hall to ask their colleagues at the help desk any questions they had. Or, they poked their head over their cubicles to ask the person next to them for how-to advice. Now, that has changed.
IT Help Desks Connect Workers
In today’s work-from-home offices, employees now turn to help desks more often and for longer amounts of time per call. Asking your help desk “What exactly does the function key do?” may feel embarrassing face-to-face. With the extra boundary of being safe at home, the question now gets asked. Ultimately, workers are becoming more educated about the technology they use as their reluctance to ask “stupid” questions has been diminished by working from home.
Help desks now support workers 24/7 instead of the traditional 8–5 routine of working at an office. Employees work whatever hours they can throughout the day and night as they juggle working from home, homeschooling their children and the stress of being locked down.
What CIOs Need to Know About Help Desks
Working from home has opened up the field of IT talent, as it’s not restricted by geography, while also comforting managers that a remote-work option is viable when society returns to normal.
While help desk metrics are skewed by the current circumstances, here are our observations to help you plan how to man your help desk.
1. Support calls are longer, more frequent
Support calls are taking longer so response times are longer. In other words, people are on hold longer. The upside is that help desk professionals are enhancing employees’ feelings of connectedness to their companies while teaching them more.
2. Employees are becoming more IT savvy
IT help desks are providing more resources like articles and helpful websites for work-from-home employees. Workers are more likely to spend time with this information while at home, so they are building their basic IT skillset. And, because they’ve had to do things on their own, like setting up their home office, employees have greater confidence in their IT abilities.
3. IT help desk communication skills are improving
Help desk support personnel typically haven’t had to be very conversational beyond “Hi, how are you?” in the past. Now, as the calls for help are more frequent and longer in duration, IT support professionals have to come out of their comfort zones to build conversational skills.
Need a Help Desk?
Help desks support users day in and day out, dealing with a multitude of questions and challenges covering passwords and the copier to more difficult technical issues like recovering data and accessing the cloud. Manning your help desk with one or two internal IT people puts a drain on other necessary IT functions and also limits the knowledge base available to your end users.
Managed IT services can provide your organization with an outsourced help desk with multiple tiers of support for all topics and user questions.
Help desk personnel are often forgotten in the best of times. But, they are leading the way when it comes to communicating during the pandemic.
Open Your Help Desk
Looking for options to augment or revise your help desk strategy? Call 877.676.0146 for a free consultation or contact us online.