Learning & Development, Technology

Training on Basic IT Skills

Anyone who’s worked in an office has likely been hindered by frustrating technical challenges. Connectivity issues, forgotten passwords, or frozen computers always seem to pop up frequently when work is particularly abundant or when deadlines are fast approaching. Even on a normal day, downtime from technical issues is both annoying and costly.

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The High Costs of Technical ‘Glitches’

According to a 2016 survey of U.S. office workers by Robert Half, “professionals waste 22 minutes each day, on average, dealing with IT-related issues. For someone who works five eight-hour days for 50 weeks of the year, that translates into a loss of more than 91 hours per year.” 

Workers faced with an IT issue have three options:

  1. Accept the hinderance, and either work around it or give up.
  2. Try to fix the problem themselves.
  3. Call the IT department.

None of these options is ideal. The first two “solutions” almost certainly result in lost productivity, as well as employee frustration. The third option also results in lost productivity but not just for the employee; the employee must spend time contacting IT and working through the problem, and IT staff also have to spend time helping the employee fix the issue.

IT Time at a Premium

In a large organization where many employees may have the same problem, the burden on the IT team can be substantial.

And, contrary to what non-IT staff may assume, the core function of the IT team is typically not to assist in troubleshooting. In the modern economy, connectivity and information are essential assets. IT staff need to ensure the organization can interact with the global information system efficiently, effectively, and safely. But IT teams that are bogged down with helping troubleshoot simple IT problems have less time to spend thinking about how to improve a company’s IT infrastructure and avoid increasingly prevalent cyberthreats.

Solving for Technical Breakdowns More Productively

As a solution, companies should consider investing in employee training on how to fix basic IT issues for themselves. This could involve learning how to reset a password, common glitches in frequently used software, and other basic tips and tricks to avoid getting stuck and get unstuck without having to call IT.

Time is money in any organization. When workers are stuck because of an IT issue, they lose valuable time, and when they enlist the help of IT staff, that loss is only magnified. Instead, companies should empower staff to do some basic, level-one troubleshooting on their own before escalating to the IT team.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.