Teleworkers Depend More on Helpdesks

from ITWeek, although geared specifically towards Information Technology professionals, often has interesting articles about working at home as well.

One of the articles last week, Telework and outsourcing growth raise security and skills issues, mentioned noted that:

IT managers will need to do more to provide data security and staff training as home working will continue to increase until 2010, according to a new report on technology, media and communications released by consultancy Deloitte today.

Deloitte predicts that advances in broadband, network security, IP communications and other tools will allow more staff to work from home and will encourage firms to make use of contract workers located anywhere in the world.

Deloitte partner David Tansley said many IT-related problems at work are solved thanks to verbal advice and on an ad-hoc basis by colleagues, and so do not come to the attention of IT staff. So when staff are allowed to work outside the office the burden on helpdesk staff can unexpectedly rise.

“The technology for delivering an office environment to people’s homes is becoming simpler and more reliable,” Tansley added. “But because you don’t have your colleagues around to tap on the shoulder [when working from home], some organizations are experiencing [a rise in] trivial helpdesk calls.”

Read the rest of the article…

From my own perspective, it’s true. I work at home – remotely – a fairly long distance away from the office I work for and I’m sometimes faced with having to solve problems for myself on my own whereas folks in the office generally have someone who either fixes or updates things for them or helps them.

I figure it’s a small price to pay, my time for maintaining my home office, in exchange for the ability to work from home. I wonder if a company will come along to fill that gap between internal IT folks and remote workers. Perhaps there is already such a company. Some young techy dudes who are actually helpful and can answer questions about anything from email clients to backing up data.

The company I work for is not so huge that we have an entire IT department. We just have a guy. And he gets asked for additional help more times than any of us care to admit. So, it makes sense that a company who employs hundreds if not thousands of workers who are becoming more and more accustomed to the idea of telework might need to beef up the IT department.