IT professionals are having a challenging time adjusting to modern remote work environments, since they’re dealing with new tech setups, more security vulnerabilities, and remote workers who don’t really know what they’re doing. This is made even worse by the fact that many businesses transitioned to a work-from-home environment quickly, and without a formal plan.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to improve efficiency—and reduce headaches—as you provide IT support remotely.
How to Improve Efficiency in Remote IT Support
These strategies can help you provide remote IT support more consistently and more productively:
- Treat this as a team effort. First, you’re best off seeing this as a team effort—both within the IT department and within your organization as a whole. Your IT professionals should be collaborating, learning from each other, and helping each other to provide the best support possible to the rest of the organization. And your IT team needs to see itself as part of the comprehensive whole, serving the needs of the organization. This can help everything run much smoother.
- Coordinate under the guidance of a strong leader. Strong leadership is a practical necessity if you want to provide better IT support in a remote environment. The right leader will be able to unify team members under a singular, unifying vision. They’ll be able to provide direction, help individual team members improve, and identify areas for investment and improvement. On top of that, they’ll be able to build and sustain employee morale.
- Document all policies and procedures as clearly as possible. Consistent documentation is your best friend in a remote IT environment. Ambiguous or undocumented policies are going to be impossible for individual employees to follow. If they’re written down, they’ll be much more effective—and they can be referred to by anyone who has a question about them. Additionally, policy documentation forces you to set firm rules, identify security vulnerabilities, and solidify your strategies.
- Get employees connected reliably. Employees can only work productively in a remote environment if they have a reliable connection. One of your first goals should therefore be getting all your employees set up properly; that means securing a reliable internet connection as well as a virtual private network (VPN).
- Invest in good help desk software. No matter how proactively you work with employees to prepare them, they’re going to have questions and issues. The best way to handle these is with reliable help desk software. Make the investment in a platform that’s easy to access, easy to learn, and supportive of analytics and reports.
- Rely on a suite of communication channels. There are many different modes of modern communication, and all of them have strengths and weaknesses. Try to rely on a suite of communication tools to maximize your effectiveness. That means switching between email, instant messages, voice chat, and video chat as needed.
- Educate employees. Minimize support requests and improve security by educating employees as much as possible. If your employees better understand the tools and technologies they use on a daily basis, they’ll be much more likely to operate independently. They’ll be able to prevent and/or solve most of their own issues, and your entire organization will be more secure.
- Create troubleshooting resources. In line with our point about documentation above, it’s a good idea to invest time and resources into creating troubleshooting materials for employees. If something isn’t working, or if something goes wrong, what steps can an employee take to address it on their own? This leads to a more autonomously functioning team, but it also allows employees to resolve most problems much faster than they could otherwise.
- Foster the right culture. Good IT support is often a byproduct of a healthy internal culture. Workforces that priorities core values like honesty, open communication, mutual collaboration, and conflict resolution tend to be much more effective—and much happier at the same time.
- Collect feedback and improve. Finally, work to collect feedback and use that feedback to improve your systems. Listen to employees, and listen to IT staff; what systems do they wish were improved? Which policies seem unclear? Together, you can work to fine-tune your IT support system and create a better remote workplace environment for everyone involved.
Optimizing for Long-Term Development
No remote IT support department is perfect, which means there’s always room for improvement. If you’re going to work from home for the foreseeable future, you need to be ready to invest in your remote IT support strategy—and that means paying close attention to the above points and more. Keep tweaking your approach until you find the right tools, rhythm, and culture for your business.