8 - 5? Try Anytime The IT Support Team Needs You As much as I would like my life to revolve around a set schedule, where I go to work from eight to five, come home, hang out with my family for a while, go to bed, and then do it all over again, that is just not the reality for me and most professionals in today’s world. It is much more common that I go into a day with the best plans for productivity and things turn out any number of ways differently than anticipated. We all know that to help lead a successful organization we have to be flexible and move at the speed of our marketplace. This makes me think of the business we are in and how critical matching corporate IT support hours to the working hours of your team can be. Think of an example where one of your crew members is in an airport, their plane is delayed, and it’s 11:30 p.m. They have an important meeting the next morning, so they want to use this delay to prepare. However, when they try to access information on their PC, they can’t get to it because of an authentication issue. Can they reach anyone in tech support? Un-set the Schedule Today’s workplace is becoming more flexible, which means that there are more employees who set their own hours or work beyond the typical eight to five shift. In fact, a FlexJobs survey found that out of 1,500 workers, 74 percent of them wanted/needed flexible work options in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The help desk has to realize this and ensure that they create a way for their services to be available at all hours of the day when customers are working and consuming resources. Easy enough, right? Not so much. What This Means Expanding the hours of operation for the help desk to meet these changing needs can cause challenges. It can create stress for current agents, as they are asked to change their schedule. It can also create an environment that is unpredictable and unsettling for some, because there can be a lot of variability in terms of the volume on any given day. In addition, this change in operation hours may lead to hiring more help desk agents that are willing to work flexible hours. Outsourcing your help desk services is one option to consider when expanding your hours of operation. This can help your organization maintain control of the overall experience and strategy, but transfers the operational responsibility to experts experienced with working in an environment that demands flexibility all the time. The most important aspect here is being available for your customers. Having a help desk with extended hours and potentially 24/7 support, enhances the customer’s experience by accommodating their needs and schedule. In the end, that’s what the help desk is all about: helping customers get their issues resolved, when they need it, with quality service. Personally, when that late night airport need comes to pass, I want my organization to be there for support. I hope that your organization’s help desk feels the same way. Does your organization need to adjust its hours of operation? Bobbie Jo Barry Bobbie Jo Barry has more than 19 years of contact center experience in multiple areas, including designing client facing solutions, managing day to day operations of two contact centers, leading workforce management and contact center managers to success, managing client relationships, and providing employees with a foundation for success. She has vast experience with omnichannel solutions and various business technologies, including design and implementation of CRM/ticketing systems and IVR applications. She has proven her ability to innovate and create successful tailored solutions for clients, as well as adapt to the client's changing needs.