Many times the end of another year and the timeliness of the holidays can mean a bit slower pace at work.  It can amount to a little less intensity and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere.  (Please accept my apology if this doesn’t exactly describe your particular situation.)  I know things really aren’t quite as calm as they seem; the New Year will bring about a fresh wave of new projects to test our nerves.  But it is nice to enjoy the season.  Here are my ideas for ways you can spread the holiday cheer with random acts of IT kindness.  Feel free to chime in and suggest your own.

Restore non-critical data for a user

I was able to perform this much appreciated good deed this week in fact.  Sure, restoring a user’s personal folder from tape backup so she can retrieve pictures of her grandchildren isn’t as challenging as recovering a mission critical application server, but don’t tell her that.  This one is sure to garner an extra “holiday” card and maybe homemade cookies if you’re lucky.

Assist rogue Marketing department users

You know who I’m talking about.  They’re the ones using Macs while the rest of the organization toils away on PCs.  You routinely ignore their existence 51 weeks out of the year because they use non-standard workstations and occasionally complain about being unable to reach network resources.  Bite your tongue this once and help configure their Mac Entourage email clients to connect to the Exchange server.  Feel free to disable their network ports after the holidays.

Make life easier for your IT Operations staff

They are the people who get little to no glory for the work that they perform, yet IT could not be a well oiled machine without them.  Pay them a visit and see if you can make their life easier with a new script to automate daily tasks or parse log files for error messages.  Chances are they have saved your reputation more times than you care to admit.  Maybe you should give them the cookies you got for helping the “I deleted my grandchildren” lady.

Help the Help Desk

Say what you will about your Help Desk, it’s a position none of us would want to spend very long in.  Or maybe you have spent time there and know firsthand what it’s like.  Help the poor souls out.  Review the recent trend in work tickets being logged and see if it is something you can remedy at the source.  Better yet, show them how to fix some of the issues on their own and give them the tools to accomplish it.

Update support documentation

This is my absolute least favorite task to complete regardless what time of year it is.  I even despise writing about writing documentation.  But we all know that documentation is less about us and more about empowering others to provide support in case we reach an untimely end…like due to a runaway reindeer led sleigh or something.

Answer a dumb question (or two)

Try this: venture back through your old email messages and look for that one message you’ve been ignoring until now.  This would be the one not worth the focus of your highly trained and superior technical mind.  Suck it up and answer the user’s question – tell her why her computer doesn’t have the internet “installed.”

Stymie poor vision

You’ve probably walked away rubbing your eyes after fixing a user’s computer.  You may even remember thinking, “How can he work all day with the screen refresh rate set so low?”  Well, here’s your chance to help save someone’s vision and their Excedrin for another day.

Be nice to the next sales person who calls

No, I do not want a free subscription to Enterprise Printing Weekly or any other industry trade magazine.  And no I don’t want to attend another webinar to see how your mail appliance trounces spam.  I only registered on your website to get the free white paper.  Bah!  Come to think about it, scratch this good deed and be nice at your own discretion.

There you have it – several ideas to help spread a little more holiday cheer through random acts of IT generosity.  Of course, this list only scratches the surface.  Let me know what else you come up with!