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The Service Desk and Parenthood’s Shared Classroom

This past April, my husband and I took on our most exciting and daunting chapter yet: parenthood. Despite the chaos around us, we made the most of our pregnancy and thoroughly enjoyed sifting through baby clothes, putting together his nursery, choosing a name...the works. When it came time to bring our little guy home, I thought we had relatively grounded expectations for what our lives would look like as a family of three. While no number of online parent forums, self-help books, or advice can prepare you for your first baby, I felt many of my IT service management experiences left me more equipped for the challenges ahead.

Lesson 1: Be Agile, Especially on No Sleep

My husband and I have always maintained a steady routine (due in large part to our dog) and a tidy house. Stepping into the role of Mom and Dad pushed us out of our comfort zone and tested our willingness to adapt. Goodbye eight hours of sleep and slow Saturday mornings, hello two-hour feeds and constant diaper changes! With our newfound sleep deprivation, we fumbled and tried to strike a new routine, quickly realizing life as we knew it was in the hands of our newborn. We leaned into our lack of control (which crushed my type-A personality) and had to be nimble in how we approached our days. Our schedules became fluid, we lowered our expectations of a clean house, both dog and baby remained fed and happy, and sometimes the laundry even made it into the dryer! Ultimately it made for a much happier household, and on some days we BOTH got to nap—I deem that a parenting win. In my previous experiences with service desks, our shared goal was to support employees: maintaining a high level of availability to ensure users’ ongoing success and productivity. The teams I partnered with configured and implemented their service desks to best serve their employees while satisfying the goals set by their business. Configuration ranged from routing rules for incident management, defining categories to differentiate inquiries, designing a service catalog, and creating knowledge content to promote self-service. The goal of providing exceptional services to users has remained the same, but the users, technologies, and environments continue to evolve. What was once deemed a solid service desk configuration may need to be retooled to align with the growing needs of the business and the times. As organizations scale, new departments get involved, or legacy processes are given new life, the service desk must continually adapt to provide value to users. Excelling in parenthood and service management takes more than flexibility—both benefit from transparent communication and ongoing feedback.

Lesson 2: Communicate Openly and Take Comments After 2 a.m. With a Grain of Salt

I’ve been told nothing good happens after midnight. But with a newborn, so much happens in the early morning hours, changing the saying to “Nothing good is said after midnight.” As our world happily transitioned, we quickly learned everything was up for discussion. “When was the last time you changed him?” “Do you think we'll ever sleep again?” Or my personal favorite, “It's your turn.” Our foundation of transparent communication has empowered us as parents and as partners, but we’ve also worked to understand our different styles of listening and communicating. By creating a space for honest and open conversations, we’ve learned to encourage each other while sharing feedback about our actions. Giving each other feedback has pushed us to better understand how the other is feeling, but it has also reinforced the value of co-parenting and sharing responsibilities. Much of the logic I’ve applied to conversations with my husband (and these days, myself) stemmed from my experiences with chat windows and support tickets on the service desk. Especially in live chats, there’s no telling what needs your attention. Having multiple methods for users to communicate with the service desk, be it live chat, a service portal, or a mobile app, makes it an easily approached and accessed resource. With a variety of communication channels, users can have more open and transparent dialogues, positioning the service desk as a reliable and valued resource within their organization. Many teams I worked with used customer satisfaction surveys to understand how the service desk and its offerings were perceived. With an open feedback loop, I saw service desks elevate their offerings across the board. Some more relatable and usable knowledge base articles, others found ways to streamline legacy workflows for faster request fulfillment. Establishing an outlet for users to voice their experiences with the service desk led to more meaningful engagements and enabled teams to enhance their overarching service strategy, design, and delivery.

Lesson 3: Automate and Digitize to Stay Ahead (or Afloat!)

My son is nearly four months, so we’re on our way to being pros at parenthood, right? Far from the truth. With the chaos of constantly learning, growing, and adapting as a family of three, some of our daily activities have fallen to the wayside. Our laundry quadrupled (how does a small child wear more outfits in one day than I do?), appointments sneaked up on us, grocery shopping dwindled, and we became friends with our GrubHub driver. It became clear we needed to find ways to streamline some of our recurring activities, so we could maximize our time with our family. We made small adjustments in our lives to prevent future headaches. For starters, we left the stone age and adopted a shared digital calendar. Digitizing our various commitments has made us more proactive and prevented things from slipping through the cracks. Shifting to online grocery shopping has saved us time while setting auto-ship on the baby items ensures we’re never low on the necessities. When it comes to leaving the house, no matter how big or small the trip, we’ve devised a quick checklist (sound machine, diapers, backup bottle, change of clothes) we habitually review. Simplifying our routine with new checks and balances has helped us work smarter. Automating some of the mundane aspects of our life reminded me of discovering automation opportunities in the service desk. When reviewing existing workflows, teams often uncovered duplicate efforts or processes that derailed effective service delivery. Identifying and implementing automation rules for routine requests fueled more efficient response times and resolutions. Many teams paired automation with smart technologies, like artificial intelligence, to populate recommendations for knowledge base articles to promote self-service. I've also watched service desk teams explore ways to digitize what was formerly captured on paper or in an email, like onboarding or hardware requests, to expand visibility and collaboration between internal departments. Embracing automation can optimize your human resources while eliminating bottlenecks in business processes, ensuring more seamless fulfillment.

Lesson 4: Learning Never Stops

The greatest parallel I’ve drawn between parenthood and the service desk is the classroom is never closed. We’re constantly learning to keep up with our evolving children, users, and environments. With continuous education we can uncover new opportunities for innovation and improvement to better ourselves and those we support.
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Liz Beavers
Like many IT professionals, Liz’s entry into the tech industry was unconventional. With plans to pursue a career in public relations, Liz’s career quickly took…
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