I point out the opportunities that hybrid work presents and more.

by Matt Beran
Date Published May 28, 2024 - Last Updated May 28, 2024

When your laptop crashes minutes before a crucial meeting, or when a glitch interrupts your workflow, it’s the deskside support team that swoops in with a life raft. In the hybrid work era, these teams serve as the backbone of a smooth technological operation, seamlessly supporting both the in-office buzz and the quiet focus of home offices.

But optimizing this support for a workforce spread across different locations presents new challenges. Let's explore innovative ways to strengthen your deskside support and keep your company’s tech backbone strong in any working condition.


Understanding the role of deskside support

Deskside support teams (often seen as the second tier of IT support) handle more complex issues that service desks escalate. These issues often require physical interaction with hardware or detailed, hands-on troubleshooting that can't be managed over a phone call or email. Typically, deskside support technicians manage endpoint devices like desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and tablets. 

Deskside support teams are also tasked with endpoint and Software Asset Management, roles that are essential in the lifecycle management of IT resources. This responsibility involves overseeing the entire spectrum of each device and software package used within the company – from procurement and deployment to maintenance and eventual decommissioning or upgrading. These teams ensure that all hardware and software are kept up-to-date and functioning optimally, which is critical not just for individual productivity but also for the overall security of the company's data.

For example, when a new software update or security patch needs to be rolled out, deskside support technicians manage the installation across all applicable devices. This can involve troubleshooting installation issues or ensuring that older systems are compatible with new updates, thus preventing potential security vulnerabilities or system failures. Similarly, when an employee receives a new laptop, it is the deskside support team that ensures the device is configured correctly, equipped with the necessary software, and ready for seamless integration into the company's network.

They also play a pivotal role in asset tracking, which involves maintaining a detailed inventory of all IT assets and their status. This tracking is crucial not only for operational efficiency – ensuring there are enough devices for all employees and that they are in good working condition – but also for financial and compliance reasons. Proper Asset Management helps organizations avoid unnecessary purchases, optimize investments, and comply with software licenses and regulations.

By efficiently managing these tasks, deskside support teams reduce downtime and productivity losses, ensuring that technology serves as a tool for advancement rather than a barrier. 

During the pandemic, the role of these teams evolved rapidly as businesses transitioned from traditional office setups to remote or hybrid models. This was the first major challenge of its kind that deskside teams had faced in decades, involving a massive shift in Hardware Management and setup. This shift underscored the indispensable nature of deskside support in modern IT operations.


Challenges and opportunities in hybrid work

The transition to hybrid work has presented unique challenges for deskside support teams. One major issue is the logistical difficulty of managing hardware setups for remote employees. 

During the early days of the pandemic, IT teams were instrumental in equipping them with the necessary technology to work effectively from home – often under tight time constraints and challenging conditions. Despite these challenges, deskside teams exhibited remarkable resilience and dedication, often going beyond the call of duty to ensure employees were equipped and operational.

However, the hybrid model also offers opportunities for innovation. For instance, some companies have started using vendors to ship pre-configured devices directly to employees’ homes. This strategy not only streamlines the setup process but also reduces the workload on deskside support teams, allowing them to focus on more complex issues. These innovations reflect a shift towards more autonomous solutions that can enhance support for remote employees while also delivering better value for those returning to the office.


Strategies for optimizing deskside support

Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to optimize deskside support.

1. Embrace technology and automation

Leveraging technology to automate routine tasks can significantly enhance the efficiency of deskside support. Tools that allow remote IT support, software installations, remote imaging and updates without physical intervention can save time and resources. Automation also minimizes the need for in-person visits, which is particularly beneficial in a hybrid work setup. 

2. Improve communication channels

Effective communication between service desks and deskside support teams is crucial. Implementing a robust help desk software system that ensures smooth information flow and keeps all parties informed about the status of issues can enhance response times and overall service quality.

3. Offer tailored training and support

Given the varied nature of issues that deskside support teams encounter, specialized training that covers a wide range of scenarios (from hardware repairs to software troubleshooting) is paramount. Additionally, providing continuous training on new technologies and protocols can help keep the team up-to-date and ready to handle any challenges.

4. Foster a culture of innovation

Encouraging deskside support technicians to think creatively and develop innovative solutions to common problems can lead to significant improvements in service delivery. Setting goals without dictating the methods can empower technicians to find effective, innovative solutions independently. From my experience as a former service desk manager, the best approach with these teams is to outline the desired outcomes without dictating the methods for achieving them. 

For instance, we once challenged our team to find a way to remotely wipe laptops and reinstall Windows without needing to physically handle the devices, which they accomplished efficiently. This not only saved costs but also enabled further innovation.

5. Focus on employee experience

Whether employees are working from home or the office, their experience with IT support can significantly impact their productivity and job satisfaction. Ensuring that deskside support is accessible, responsive, and effective is crucial. Regular feedback interviews or user research can also provide insights into areas that are fitting needs as well as those which need improvement.

6. Plan for scalability

Hybrid work models are likely to evolve, and the demands on deskside support will grow. Planning for scalability by investing in technology and training, and possibly expanding the team, will help ensure that deskside support can continue to meet the needs of the organization effectively.


Invest in the Deskside Experience

Optimizing deskside support in the era of hybrid work is not just about enhancing technical capabilities, but also about adapting to the changing dynamics of the workplace. 

With deskside support, you get what you pay for. Invest wisely by understanding the experience your employees desire and work with your field services and deskside teams to deliver that experience.

By investing in technology, training, and innovative practices, organizations can ensure that their deskside support teams are well-equipped to handle the challenges and opportunities of the hybrid work model. In doing so, they not only improve the efficiency of their operations but also contribute to a more satisfying and productive work environment for all employees.

Tag(s): supportworld, support models, service design, service catalog, service level agreement, service level, service strategy, service management


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