Getting new users off on the right foot is good for them and for the organization — and it will certainly make your support tasks more manageable and less frustrating in the future. Jeff Dray offers 10 checklist items that will help you cover all the bases.

Working in a fast-paced environment can cause you to forget a few things every now and then, especially when it comes to setting up new users. By running through the following questions, you’ll be able to ensure that that every new user has the equipment, privileges, and applications he or she needs.

This information is based on the article Don’t install another computer without our new-user checklist and is available as a PDF download.

1: Do they know how to contact the help desk?

Make sure that new users know where to go when they’re having difficulties. Have your support team become familiar with new users and, above all, be approachable. Many users think that the support team is the last group to call on because of the superior attitudes techs sometimes display. Remember: We need users as much as they need us.

2: Do they have everything they need?

Ensure that new users have the applications, storage, and permissions they need to do their jobs. Find out their job roles and make sure they have what others in their department use. If there is a package that might help them, mention it to their manager. Explain your backup policy; be sure that users know where to save anything important. Generally, this will mean that local hard drives are not backed up but that network drives are.

3: Does the system meet their needs?

Verify that the system you supply meets the users’ requirements. It’s no use giving an older machine to someone who edits video. Conversely, giving somebody the most powerful system just to type a few letters is a waste of money.

4: Do they know how to use all the equipment?

Make sure that users have had the necessary training. Sometimes people are reluctant to admit that they don’t know what to do. Give them the number of the training department (should you be so lucky as to have one) or arrange for a trainer or experienced user to help them out. A little time and effort spent at this stage will save a great deal of time, money, and effort later. Run through the correct startup and shutdown routine and discuss general housekeeping.

5: Are there any environmental concerns?

Check that new users’ workstations meet health and safety requirements and that users are aware of the need for correct posture, positioning, and lighting. Caution them about slouching at their desks. This may sound trivial, but I assure you it’s not. Check out our article “Think Safety First! to avoid work-related injuries” for a firsthand account of how bad posture landed one tech in the hospital.

6: Are all cables connected correctly and safely?

Determine that all cables have been routed so that they won’t become a tripping hazard or get damaged. Tidiness, in this situation, is essential. Ten minutes spent double-checking the cables now can save a lot of time, pain, and trouble down the road.

7: Are they aware of computer safety?

Ensure that users know about any hazards relating to computer usage. Warn them about the dangers of spilling liquids on monitors. It might sound obvious, but not everyone realizes how much power a monitor stores.

8: Do they require any special assistance?

Find out whether any special equipment has been provided: foot rests, document holders, special screen settings for clearer vision, and so forth. Explain what help is available to users and how they can request such assistance in the future.

9: Do they know about your organization’s Internet and e-mail policies?

Make sure that users are fully aware of your organization’s policy on Internet and e-mail usage. There is nothing worse than having a disciplinary case when the subject claims that he or she didn’t know the rules. It’s up to the IT department to inform all new users of your organization’s acceptable-use policy.

10: Have you scheduled a follow-up visit?

All new users should receive a follow-up visit from a member of the IT department just to double-check that everything is going smoothly. Schedule a visit for a week after your first meeting so that any bad habits that are developing can be nipped in the bud. Spend a bit of time getting to know the users and let them get to know you. Being a real person rather than a name on a list or a voice on the phone is a great aid to communication.

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