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The fallout and constant adjustments to work processes due to the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, but IT help desk teams are under enormous amounts of pressure, according to a recent study. A survey of 200 IT decision makers from software company Splashtop determined that 65% of these teams in the U.S. are suffering from unsustainable levels of strain and something needs to change. To make matters worse, 94% of respondents say their job function has been negatively impacted by hiring challenges, retention issues and/or skill shortages over the past 12 months.

“With many employees working remotely on a regular basis, IT and help desk staff face higher ticket volumes, more diverse set of devices to support, and greater security challenges,” said Philip Sheu, co-founder and CTO at Splashtop. “More efficient remote support workflows and tools can help alleviate the additional burden and improve satisfaction on both sides.”

The main challenges faced by IT help desk teams

Of those on help desk teams that responded, 67% reported challenges with maintaining IT support goals due to the amount of work and shortage of employees within the sector. Remote support tools have been a key problem solver for a number of teams with the move to work from home and hybrid models, but helping maintain the IT infrastructure has not been easy. Nearly all (94%) of those surveyed said that supporting users has brought forth new technical and communication challenges largely due to the mass of support tickets being submitted on a daily basis, creating an untenable situation for those on IT help desk teams.

Another issue faced by those in IT support came from the rising number of personal devices used by employees to get work done. As the majority of organizations have allowed these users to employ their own PCs and mobile devices, catching up to the number of tools and processes necessary to make this equipment work-ready has also put additional strain on help desk employees, having to account for a number of new devices while lacking the requisite amount of devices needed to police this equipment.

SEE: Bring your own device (BYOD) policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Potential solutions for those in help desk roles

With the right communication methods in place, some of the burden can be removed from the IT help desk’s shoulders and processes can be more streamlined as a result. Daily activities such as hardware support, password resets, patching and updating are also able to be more quickly resolved with the correct tools in place, such as remote desktop software for IT teams to work through, as well as communication software like Microsoft Teams and Slack.

According to Splashtop, nearly three-quarters of respondents said that remote support sessions deliver the best efficiency and end user satisfaction. With remote support being streamlined, help desk tickets can be addressed while also communicating with the end user on what problems they are experiencing and getting a first-hand view of the device the user is working on.

“Efficiency can come from integrating the remote support tool into your ticketing system, configuring rules to route support requests automatically, and making it easy for technicians to collaborate. All these can reduce the time spent on resolving tickets and managing the help desk,” Sheu said.

As Sheu mentions, a majority of tickets are made up from user error. By putting the right communication and technology mechanisms in place, issues can be quickly identified, solved, and have users taught how to best avoid errors they have made in the future.