If you were to ask your IT staff about how tech support for remote employees is going, they might say something along the lines of, “Fantastic! Never better!” However, if you asked remote workers the same question, their response could be far less enthusiastic.
This was among the findings of a report by IT solutions provider 1E entitled “2021: Assessing IT’s readiness for the year of flexible working,” which surveyed 150 IT workers and 150 IT managers in large U.S. organizations. The report strikingly found that, while 100% of IT managers said they believed their internal clients were satisfied with tech support, only 44% of remote employees agreed.
Bottom line impact
By now, over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become common practice. Some businesses may begin reopening their offices and facilities as employees get vaccinated and, one hopes, virus metrics fall to manageable levels. However, that doesn’t mean everyone will be heading back to a communal working environment.
Flexible work arrangements, which include the option to telecommute, are expected to remain a valued employment feature. Remote work is also generally less expensive for employers, so many will likely continue offering or mandating it after the pandemic fades.
For business owners, this means that providing optimal IT support to remote employees will remain a mission-critical task. Failing to do so will likely hinder productivity, lower morale, and may lead to reduced employee retention and longer times to hire — all costly detriments to the bottom line.
So, how can you ensure your remote employees are well-supported? Here are some commonsense tips:
Ask them about their experiences. In many cases, business owners are simply unaware of the troubles and frustrations of remote workers when it comes to technology. Develop a relatively short, concisely worded survey and gather their input.
Invest in ongoing training for support staff. If you have IT staffers who, for years, provided mostly in-person desktop support to on-site employees, they might not serve remote workers as effectively. Having them take one or more training courses may trigger some “ah ha!” moments that improve their interactions and response times.
Review and, if necessary, upgrade systems and software. Your IT support may be falling short because it’s not fully equipped to deal with so many remote employees — a common problem during the pandemic. Assess whether:
- Your VPN system and licensing suit your needs,
- Additional or better cloud solutions could help, and
- Your remote access software is helping or hampering support.
Ensure employees know how to work safely. Naturally, the remote workers themselves play a role in the stability and security of their devices and network connections. Require employees to undergo basic IT training and demonstrate understanding and compliance with your security and usage policies.
Your technological future
The pandemic has been not only a tragic crisis, but also a marked accelerator of the business trend toward remote work. We can help you evaluate your technology costs, measure productivity and determine whether upgrades are likely to be cost-effective.
We highly recommend you confer with your Miller Kaplan advisor to understand your specific situation and how this may impact you.