Ask an MSP ExpertQ: As an MSP owner, what can I do to help my technicians deliver IT support during COVID-19 safely, while still meeting client needs?

As many workers continue to be fully-remote, IT service companies are finding themselves forced to send IT technicians out into the field as onsite support is often necessary to make remote work possible. Depending on the company’s IT maturity, many companies will have to configure virtual private networks (VPNs), add remote Voice-over-IP (VoIP) capabilities, and set up an remote monitoring and management (RMM) system on-site before employees can work from home.

For example, grocery stores need to be able to support an influx of visitors and maintain 100 percent uptime on point-of-sale and WiFi systems to manage inventory and purchases. Further, medical care facilities, hospitals especially, must have reliable, secure internet to serve patients.

Here are some best practices to consider when providing onsite IT support during the pandemic:

Schedule work orders during off-hours

Work with your clients to schedule work orders when sites are not heavily populated. If the site is a retail location, for example, try sending technicians onsite before and/or after store hours. Even if some staff remain, a technician should reasonably be able to maintain a six-foot distance. This might not be possible when stores, especially retail superstores and grocery stores, are open for business.

Spend minimal time onsite

Normally, technicians might arrive onsite before even speaking to a manager. In present conditions, this isn’t advisable. Instead, ask your technician to get on the phone with the onsite manager prior to arrival. Work with your clients and ask them to send error messages and photos of devices that need troubleshooting. This allows technicians to research and diagnose problems before they even step out of their vehicles.

Give technicians access to sanitation supplies

If you have access to sanitation or janitorial supplies, make sure your technicians have them in their vehicles, ready-to-go. Make sure that screen cleaners contain at least 70 percent alcohol to kill any germs on devices technicians might service. Advise your technicians to wear disposable gloves to clean their workspace, equipment and devices before and after working on them.

Additionally, ask technicians to use an onsite restroom to wash their hands before and after completing a work order. If your technician needs to service equipment in a healthcare facility, ensure that either you or the hospital provide the same personal-protective equipment (PPE) as healthcare workers.

Reconsider your required documentation

Your technicians may usually be required to collect signatures from onsite managers to ensure work was completed to their satisfaction. However, this would require technicians and onsite managers to come into close contact with one another. Instead, consider temporarily allowing photos of completed work or emails from onsite managers to serve as documentation.

Be compassionate and flexible

If any of your technicians are considered a higher-risk for severe illness, let them stay home. Should any of your technicians become ill, send someone else in their place. To avoid the surprise of finding yourself suddenly short-staffed, plan ahead – consider a technician marketplace platform to help identify talent when and where you need it.

TruMethods MSP Improvement Plan

Photo: Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock

Nicole Berg

Posted by Nicole Berg

Nicole Berg brings more than a decade of marketing, technology, and recruitment experience to the IT services industry, and currently serves as the Director of Provider Experience & Marketplace Recruitment at Field Nation, the #1 marketplace and software solution for contract IT field service work. Heavily involved in the industry, Berg previously served as the Vice President of the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association. Notably, she received the Genius award from the American Staffing Association in 2017. Berg is passionate about recruitment trends, using technology to find talent, and staffing best practices. To learn more about Field Nation, visit Fieldnation.com

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