For most people, information technology is shrouded in mystery. Its power to enhance our productivity is, sadly, sometimes overshadowed by fear and frustration that comes when technology fails to perform to our expectations.
While many people might want to yell at or do physical damage to their computer after a technology meltdown, these actions are unlikely to propel them over the technology speedbump. You’re better off taking a measured approach and doing everything you can to help your IT team work with you to solve the problem. This approach enables them to provide better support, solving problems more quickly and increasing productivity and data security.
Below are ten tips to make lives easier for your IT team and solve your technical issues more quickly.
1. Capture Error Messages
There’s nothing worse than seeing an error message when you’re trying to meet an important deadline. However, that does not mean you should ignore it. It may be the clue your IT team needs to get you back in action. Quickly.
So, take a screen shot and share the information with your IT team. And, of course, if there’s any other problem you can record visually, do it. Microsoft’s built-in Snipping Tool makes capturing exactly what’s on your screen incredibly simple, and if you’re not sure how to use it, ask your IT team – they’ll love you for it!
2. Fess Up
Don’t feign ignorance about a problem if you have a hunch about what caused it. If, for example, you installed a new program right before your computer crashed, let your IT team know.
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3. Communicate Priority Levels
You can’t expect your IT team to understand how important a problem is to you unless you communicate its impact. Being unable to print, for example, may seem like a small issue, but it’s a huge problem if you have to print payroll checks or deliver a hard copy proposal. Let your technician know how rapidly you need a problem solved in order to keep operations running smoothly. And also let your IT team know when your request isn’t urgent – that allows them to properly prioritize requests.
4. Ask Questions…When You Want Answers
Technology doesn’t have to be perplexing. If there’s a technical issue that you’d like to understand, ask your IT team member to explain it. Most IT people will patiently answer technical questions. They enjoy helping others. And, of course, the more you know, the more likely you’ll be able to avoid future problems, or even solve them yourself.
5. Locate Your Storage
Do you know where you’re storing your data? You depend on your IT team members to back it up, but their hands are tied if you’re storing it in an unidentified folder on your computer.
6. Use Strong Passwords
It’s human nature to want to use passwords that are easy to remember such as the name of your dog or your birth date. The problem is, such passwords are simple, predictable and often too short. In other words, they are not strong enough to survive an attack. So, choose passwords that are complex; mix numerals with letters and symbols. For extra strength, add more characters. You can test your password strength with an online Password Meter.
And, please, don’t put your passwords on a Post-It Note under your keyboard!
7. Give Them the Keys
If you receive software keys from a vendor, or anything else IT related, pass it along to your IT team so they can document it. They’ll have a systematic way to store it and retrieve it when you need it, so you don’t have to worry about finding it later on.
8. Be Wary of Attachments from Unknown Senders
When you receive an email with an attachment from someone you don’t know, don’t open it! Malicious attachments can quickly wreak havoc on your computer and compromise your data.
9. Report Suspected Viruses Immediately
When it comes to viruses and malware infections, minutes matter. If you even think your computer is infected, contact your IT team. You want to contain and remove the virus as soon as possible so it doesn’t cause any more damage.
10. Say Thank You
For the most part, your IT team is interacting with people who are tense and frustrated; people who are inconvenienced because their computer is misbehaving. So when your IT technician straightens out your problem and helps you get back to work, express your appreciation. It’ll make him or her feel good about helping you…and look forward to assisting you again in the future.