COVID-19 has been in our environment for at least 8 months now, and it has not shown any sign of slowing down. Though some states have the spread under control, in other states the rate of infection continues to increase.
At some point however, we need to adapt to this new reality, try to restore some semblance of normality, and get back to business.
Many businesses have a majority of their employees working remotely. Some are starting to bring employees back into office with workspaces modified to provide for social distancing.
In either situation, users can still run into IT problems such as applications crashing, laptops/desktop working slow or not working at all, peripherals malfunctioning, or virus/malware issues. Desktop support is still required but how can the task be performed with the safety of the employee and technician in mind?
The first line of defense is to have a well trained desktop support technician who can accept the trouble call or email, speak with the employee, and try to assess the issue. Most of the time they are not problems at all, but are HOWTO issues. Typically the employee, especially if using new tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, needs instruction on how to do something specific. A trained Tier 1 technician can usually provide instructions to the user, over the phone, resolving the issue.
If further support is required, and the issue is software related, the technician should remote into the employee’s machine using remote control software. There are many tools available to remote into another machine, such as Teamviewer, Bomgar, Zoho Assist, Join Me, and Splashtop to name a few. Generally it involves the end user downloading an executable/agent and providing a code/password to the tech so that they could remote in. By remoting into the user’s machine and taking control, the technician can see the problem first hand, and try to resolve the issue remotely.
If the problem cannot be solved remotely, then the technician would need to visit the employee or somehow physically acquire the computer, to troubleshoot further. The above steps are nothing new. They are part of the standard process for Desktop Support. However in today’s world, due to COVID-19, technicians should do as much remote troubleshooting as possible to limit their contact with the end-user. As a last resort, when meeting with the employee, there are some precautions that should be taken:
1) The technician and the employee should both be wearing an N95 mask
2) It is imperative that both the technician and employee maintain at least a 6-foot distance between each other
3) The technician should put on a fresh pair of disposable gloves immediately prior to touching any equipment or workspace
4) If the machine is unusable, is hardware related, and will require taking the equipment apart, or troubleshooting will take an extensive period of time, the techncian should take the equipment back to their own workbench
5) Before returning the equipment, all external, customer contactable parts should be wiped down with an anti-bacterial wipe before returning
At Uni-Data, we make sure our skilled technicians adhere to safety guidelines to protect you and themselves while working on your IT issues. If you need assistance, please feel free to reach out and we will come up with a support solution that meets your requirements.