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3 Simple Ways to Support Remote Employees Through the Service Desk

April 9, 2020

3 Simple Ways to Support Remote Employees Through the Service Desk

Let’s paint a picture. You’re notified by business leaders on a Thursday night that the office will be closed until further notice due to a possible COVID-19 case. Employees will start working from home immediately.

This presents some immediate concerns for IT. What if employees didn’t take their equipment home with them after work Thursday? How will they work from home with no equipment? Is the application infrastructure able to support 200, 700, 1000+ employees working remotely?

Whether you’ve prepared for this or don’t know how to tackle the challenge, situations like this create opportunities for IT pros to showcase their triage skills and underscore the value of an ITSM solution. Maybe you’ve already had that Thursday, or maybe you’re getting ready for a bigger transition. Wherever you are in your current remote team strategy, here are a few ways to ease the transition in your organization.

Communicate early and often

Most may agree that it’s better to over communicate than to not communicate at all. Ensuring everyone is in the know is key to maintaining a steady workflow among all departments of the business. So what’s the best way to ensure this?

  1. Notify employees (once more after the initial notification) of what’s happening and how they’ll be impacted.
  2. Stress service portal adoption. Send links to the portal so remote employees know where to find resources and ask for help.
  3. Post announcements and banners throughout the service portal.
  4. If there’s a rough draft of a plan, communicate the confirmed details and tell them to expect more as things become concrete. Getting messages with these details out early is a great way to field repetitive questions employees may ask separately.
  5. Remind the organization to use the service portal… again… and again! (This way employees will have one place to live chat with agents, get visibility into support tickets, use the knowledge base to resolve issues on their own, and more.)

Get employee data up front through forms and service catalogs

Included in the information communicated should be links to forms asking what employees need. It’s a good idea to have them fill out the form with as much detail as possible. For example, where they sit in the office and the location of items needed.

Forms in the service catalog can help service techs avoid a mass influx of emails from employees and provide a more organized way for IT to understand what the needs are around the office. Collecting data through detailed service catalog forms instead of blank, free-text ticket entries helps employees to not overload the service pro with information and cuts down resolution time.

Encourage self-service through the service desk’s knowledge base

A great knowledge base is one that provides users with a way to notify the service desk of errors, missing information, and new information. Keeping the knowledge base updated means that remote workers can get quick, easy answers and get back to being productive faster. It also lessens the burden on the service technicians, because fewer of those remote workers have to call or email in for the help and answers they need.

Useful knowledge articles may contain information about how to connect VPN, setting up teleconferencing software, and the current business continuity plan. Suggested solutions in the knowledge base can make resolving issues for remote workers a lot easier.

Let’s revisit the picture we painted. Now imagine all the employees in your company have received the equipment they need, all questions have been answered, and the new reality was an overall smooth transition. This picture is possible with a robust ITSM solution, fully integrated processes, and a powerful knowledge base.


Chris Greer serves as a Sr. System Engineer at SolarWinds, with more than 10 years of experience. Greer is an integral piece to SolarWinds systems and applications, helping move internal support forward.