More and more employees are working remotely, so the role of IT is more essential now than ever. In an office setting, it can be relatively easy for IT professionals to support everyone. But when employees are working from home, it can be far more difficult to make sure they have the tools and technology they need to be productive.
Here are a few simple ways IT support can keep remote employees on track.
Prepare for problems (and help solve them)
Remote employees tend to use less equipment than their counterparts at the office, yet they can experience just as many technological issues throughout their workday. IT professionals who anticipate these problems can offer quick, specialized support. With remote connectivity tools, such as TeamViewer® remote desktop solutions and LogMeIn® remote access software, they can access employees’ computers and walk them through an issue. IT technicians should also ensure remote staff have extra security—malware protection, antivirus software, a Virtual Private Network (VPN)—so wherever they work, their data stays safe.
Provide resources, training, and shared knowledge
From scheduled software updates to network outages, remote employees repeatedly encounter many of the same problems that keep them from being productive. Your IT department should be aware of what these problems are and provide ways for employees to be self-sufficient so they can fix some of them on their own. This should include resources like step-by-step instructions, visual guides and demonstrations, or links to password-protected cloud services, such as Microsoft® Sharepoint® pages or Google Docs™ web-based word processing programs. Technicians can also provide basic IT training for remote employees.
Communicate through multiple channels to stay productive
Email, video calls, online chats—there are many ways for remote employees to connect with IT, and companies should encourage collaboration. IT professionals can post virtual office hours and make themselves available for Q&A sessions or one-on-one attention. They can also engage remote employees by keeping these communication tools running smoothly. Even a small user error on communications platforms such as the Slack® messaging platform, Microsoft Outlook™ email client, or Zoom™ video conferencing platform can mean big problems in performance and productivity. Remote workers can also assist IT by alerting them through these services whenever there’s an issue.
Be open to feedback, listen, and respond
Remote employees should be able to provide feedback to ensure their technological needs are being met, especially since they can’t voice these concerns in person. IT professionals can offer their support by creating online surveys or links to suggestion boxes. Not only will this foster better working relationships, but it will build trust and community across departments.