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6 Tips to Stay Motivated on the Service Desk

By | March 2, 2016 in Service Desk

Service desk motivation

Working on an IT service desk can be a thankless task at times. There’s a reason why it’s generally accepted that there is often a finite shelf life for people in the service desk agent role. If your IT service desk/help desk is of the “log it and flog it” variety, where the ticket is logged and transferred to a specific resolution group if it isn't a super-easy fix, it can feel like you are working in a never ending loop

Feeling enslaved to your telephone and computer can be dreadful. It can be a serious drain on morale, with a direct impact on how motivated you are to do your job. Then there are the irate end users – unhappy either that their IT isn’t as it should be or because they aren’t being treated with the importance that they think they deserve.

Factor these in with the heavy workloads, multitasking expectations, and potentially long days and it can be hard to stay focused. And tiredness and a general feeling of boredom do not make for the most effective service desk analysts.

So what can you do to get your service desk mojo back? And how do you sell the change to your boss?

1 – Rediscover What You Love About Your Service Desk Job

Chances are that you started on the service desk because you wanted to help people. So spending time within the business, with your colleagues and customers, can help. Hopefully you will see issues and problems being experienced that may well be going unreported. Or you will see opportunities for technology-use improvement. Spending time in this way will also give you further insight into how the business views the service desk, and hopefully remind you of the importance of your service desk role in keeping people and business operations working.

How to sell it to your boss:

Concentrate on the benefits to the service desk. Insight into the struggles of your end users will help to shape the services that your team provides.

2 – Keep Learning, Maybe “Shadow” Someone Higher Up the IT Hierarchy

You may have already decided that working on a service desk long term is not for you. You may have an idea of the direction that you would like your career to take. Or you may not. Either way, “shadowing” someone else in the organization – that’s working with another employee in a different job who might have something to teach– will give you experience of what their job entails. It may cement how you feel about the new role or scare you off completely. At the very least it will give you insight into what these other roles or teams deal with on a daily basis.

How to sell it to your boss:

Many service desks experience a degree of conflict with other IT teams. Working within these teams can help service desk agents to appreciate the other side of the argument. Experiencing the challenges of these teams helps with empathy and maybe could even lead to a change in inter-team working practices.

3 – Change of Scenery, Maybe Apply for a Secondment

Shadowing another role is fantastic but do you know what's potentially even better for your service desk blues? Actually doing the other role. Getting to perform an alternative role on a temporary basis –what my British colleagues call a secondment – will give you a fantastic experience and a change from the old routine (and the associated pressures). It’s an excellent opportunity for you to see if this is something you could see yourself doing longer term.

How to sell it to your boss:

Can you see a spot where there is pressure building within another IT team – usually evidenced by work backlogs and delays? Could you help to reduce it by stepping in for a while? An externally-sourced temporary staff member might not have been considered due to the time and energy it would take to train someone in the nuances of your business. But you already have this knowledge and can “hit the ground running.” It may also be easier to recruit a replacement service desk analyst to temporarily back-fill you than for a more specialized position.

4 – Take on a “Project” Role

Sometimes a “bit of a change” is as good as a complete change. Taking on something new for a finite amount of time, i.e. a hands-on project that is longer and more involved than a secondment, may give you the break from the service desk that you need. Flexing your brain, and skills you don’t normally get to use, on something new even for a short while can help to stave off boredom and reignite your passion for your role once you return to it.

You may find that the project role suits you or that the project area is something that you excel at. Succeeding at a project, either individually or as part of a larger team, is also a great way to get yourself noticed if you are trying to climb the career ladder. Project management methodology, whether you are formally trained in it or are just obliged to follow it on others’ instructions, can also be brought back into the service desk environment to help with day-to-day operations and improvement opportunities.

How to sell it to your boss:

Working on a project will help you to gain insight and knowledge in other areas – this could be either in business operations or a new technology. If the project is on a new application or business service you can also propose that you become the go-to person on the service desk after it goes live. An extra benefit to the service desk is having someone who can forewarn them of upcoming changes. As someone who has never worked on a service desk might miss the importance of involving it during the project. I’m sure that most of the service desk agents and managers who read this will have horror stories to tell about when a delivered project caused a massive spike in service desk tickets.

5 – Make a Plan of Where You Want to be Career-Wise and How to Get There

Is your career lacking direction? Could this be the reason why you are lacking motivation? Now is a great time to sit and think about where you want your career to go.

Don't have any definite ideas? Then start with what you don't want to do and move forward from there. You can always use the previous tips to experience different things until you find something you think that you will love.

Already know where you want your career to go? Well then, it’s time to think about training and courses that can help to support you in your journey. Again the previous tips can also help.

How to sell it to your boss:

Is the training also of benefit to your service desk role and the service desk as a whole? If so, then you should have minimal issues persuading your manager to support you (and to hopefully fund it). If they say that there is no budget, then see if you can find out when there will be budget. Go armed with information about the course you want to go on. If possible, take several different versions with different prices. Got the kind of manager that will always pick the cheapest option? Make a pros and cons list for each of them. Ultimately, make it as easy as possible for your manager to say yes, and to make their decision based on value rather than cost.

6 – Tell Your Boss About Your “Situation”

While you are ultimately responsible for your on-the-job motivation and performance, and career path, our manager has a responsibility too – not only to get the most out of you work-wise but also to ensure that staff are developed to provide maximum value to the organization. So have a chat with your boss at your next one-on-one meeting or performance review. You never know, they might have been in a similar position at some point in their career. Even if they haven’t, a good boss should be able to help through assessing possible internal changes and/or helping to find you temporary opportunities outside of the service desk.

How to sell it to your boss:

You shouldn’t have to if your boss is worth working for.

Over to You…

It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter periods of low energy at some point in your career. So remember that you have the power to overcome your slump. Hopefully these six tips can help you to renew your motivation and to become a happier service desk analyst (with a career plan) again.

My six tips are just a handful of possible options. What are your tips for getting out of a motivation slump?

Reuben Solomon

About Reuben Solomon

From the time Reuben got his first BBC Microcomputer at 13 years old, he's had a passion for tech gadgets. He has over 15 years’ experience in sales, marketing, and business development, assisting in global deals with Fortune 500 companies. Reuben brings his own style of team-building, and motivation for sales, to SysAid where he heads business development. Always making time in his day for his family and friends, he also enjoys travel, movies, and is an avid martial arts and shiatsu practitioner.

One thought on “6 Tips to Stay Motivated on the Service Desk”

  1. Avatar Penelope Smith

    This is some really good information about the desk ticket systems. It is good to know that you should think about shadowing people who know how to use the tech better. I know that I would get confused on how to do that myself.


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