A lot of people think that getting more work done means spending more time at their desks. But a variety of recent studies have found that working more hours (subsequently having less time for other enjoyable activities and relaxation) can actually cause workers more stressful and less productive work days.
IT Help Desk Technicians Are No Different
If you consider an average IT Help Desk technician’s work day, you likely will find that their work doesn’t subscribe to the confinements of a 9-5 day. If you have a small team of technicians (or even a larger department) supporting the help desk role, you will quickly find that workers are working round the clock on issues that pop up. Whether you like it or not, your IT help desk team is needed to work more during their ‘off work hours’ than most other positions simply because their roles interface with every single person in your organization.
BUT just as there are only 24 hours in a day, there’s a limit to how much work people can handle (IT technicians are no exception!). Rather than working non-stop hours that lead to burned out team members and poorer work product, IT help desks should evaluate whether there’s a more effective methods of working during the day and dealing with on-call duties.
Plain and Simple: To Be a High Performing IT Help Desk, Your Team Needs a Routine
No matter the type of work you do, routines are critically important to getting things done and getting them done well. In a recent study of violin virtuosos, top performers tended to follow a similar routine of practice. They tend to play three practice sessions in the morning—each lasting no longer than 90 minutes, with a break between each session.
Top performing athletes, chess players, writers expertly practice their perspective craft in similar ways. They all seem to be successful working in intense bursts with scheduled breaks throughout the day. They have an ingrained working rhythm—much more internalized than the whistling by the Seven Dwarves in Snow White.
Winston Churchill, likely one of the most successful leaders in the Twentieth Century, famously followed the same routine every day. He always awoke at 7:30 am, took a walk at 11, and then started his routine work schedule.
Scientists—ranging from psychology, physiology to neuroscience—have all concluded that systematic, routine work schedules are best for productivity, health and job satisfaction of workers.
So, what does this mean for help desk? What kind of routine does an IT help desk need?
Consistency. Help Desk technicians benefit from consistent schedules. If you reassign workers, or shift people from your IT department into intermittent help desk positions, you’re disrupting consistency in your IT support team’s working rhythm. But even more so, if your IT help desk team receives calls irregularly during the work day, their attention and focus are being hurt by a change of activity. Inconsistent workloads—which include switching gears from IT maintenance and support to help desk activities—can make workers less effective at (1) receiving and helping users with their immediate issues and (2) keeping your network healthy and safe from attacks.
Help Desk workers also require breaks from work to be more effective and productive. Rather than working all day and all night, they—like all workers—need breaks in the day and at night to decompress and relieve themselves from stresses of intense work. What this means for your internal IT department is that by keeping folks on-call at night counteracts a much needed break from work.
Good News for Busy Companies or Busy IT Departments
The good news is that you don’t have to slave your IT help desk workers day in and day out. Likewise, you don’t have to frustrate and make life harder on your internal IT department handling after hours or weekend calls when your staff critically need a break from the working grind. Give your IT help desk workers a break from their desks, phones and computers.
Outsourced IT Help Desks have proven to be one of the most effective ways of mitigating overloaded IT departments. Outsourced help desks have resources AND scheduled shifts that cover each and every hour of every day of the year (that means 24/7/365 IT support). These help desk technicians have a routine that makes them focused to help your users when they need help.
Have you thought about the mental health, alertness and focus of your IT support team? Do they have sufficient time to rest so that they’re even more productive and effective during working hours? Contact Us TODAY for a free help desk health assessment.