Statistics collected by globalworkplaceanalytics.com show that telecommuting or otherwise working remotely increased significantly from 2005 through 2011.
In 2005, 1.8 million people worked remotely, but by 2011, more than 3.1 million did so, an increase of 73%.
In some industries, telecommuting doesn’t make sense, but there are many in which it does, including IT tech support. But while working remotely is popular with employees, a few companies are reversing themselves when it comes to telecommuting.
“And the best part is I don’t have to worry about Jerry stealing my ginger ale from the break room fridge.”
Perhaps the most famous example is Yahoo, which, under CEO Marissa Meyer, did away with telecommuting in 2013. Mayer acknowledged that people can be more productive when they’re alone, but stressed that “they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.” Mayer later indicated that she doesn’t necessarily think telecommuting is bad, and said that Yahoo’s change “was wrongly perceived as an industry narrative.” So the answer to the question, “Should you let your help desk team work remotely?” could be yes or no. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of a remote help desk team.
Advantages of the Help Desk Team Working Remotely
The main advantage of allowing your help desk team to work remotely is cost savings with potential 24/7 availability. If your organization’s IT service management software is run from the cloud, help desk workers can do most of their work from wherever they have an internet connection. If there are issues that have to be solved on site (like malfunctioning hardware), someone can come in, but for the most part, workers can take care of business from home. In fact, since leading-edge ITSM software is increasingly adding smartphone apps, they can do a lot of their work wherever they happen to be. This saves employees commuting costs, and saves organizations expenses like renting office space.
Disadvantages of the Help Desk Team Working Remotely
If your company is used to hands-on IT support, switching to a remote setup can be a big change, for both end users and IT workers. A remote help desk team doesn’t have the personal touch that an on-site, hands-on team does. For some companies, this is no big deal, but for others it is.
Perhaps the biggest downside to having your IT service desk team working remotely is that if internet access malfunctions, so does tech support. Of course, you address this by stipulating that if problems can’t be solved remotely, one or more designated workers have to come in and deal with the problem on site, whether it’s the loss of connectivity or other IT problems that spring up while the internet is down.
What Should Your Organization Choose?
Generally speaking, you get a high level of effective IT service management from remote workers today, due to the powerful tools available to them, like smartphone apps and remote desktop control. But if your on-site service desk is ticking along just fine, there’s no reason to change things simply for the sake of doing “the latest thing.”
Another thing your organization might consider is supplementing in-house staff with remote workers, with in-house staff handling higher-level problems while remote workers deal with first-tier problem resolution. Or if your company plans to implement 24/7 tech support, off-hours tech support could be handled by remote workers. There are numerous ways for remote IT help to effectively improve an organization’s IT service delivery.
When remote IT service desk functions are done right, they can be great for organizations, keeping costs down and letting service desk employees enjoy the perks of telecommuting. Perhaps the most important factor in “doing it right” is having great IT service management software in place, like Samanage. With powerful help desk and asset management features, plus great features like smartphone apps and remote desktop control, your IT service desk workers can be productive wherever they have an internet connection.
Maybe it’s better to have them on-site, or maybe everything works fine when they telecommute. Or perhaps your organization benefits most from a combination of the two. But great IT service management software gives your organization options, and that’s critical to running a cost-effective operation, no matter what industry you’re in.
Photo Credits: BrianHolm / freedigitalphotos.net, imagerymajestic / freedigitalphotos.net