The Importance of Emotional Well-Being in Service Management Staff in 2021
People are an organisation’s greatest asset. They are also the key to an organisation’s productivity, profitability and reputation. If the well-being of employees is neglected, the whole business is adversely affected. Fortunately, business owners and leaders are beginning to take employee well-being very seriously, particularly in the high-pressure world of ITSM.
There are ways to improve employee experience (EX) and prevent workplace stress related burnout, low morale and mental and physical illness. It’s worth noting that reducing the impact of these issues could have a significant impact on productivity, churn and ultimately the bottom line. Better EX can also increase the desirability of the business as an employer of choice and so give the business access to a better quality pool of potential employees.
Have you considered how your business could benefit from improving EX and adopting an employee-centric management system? After the challenges of the past year, there has never been a better time to integrate employee-centric management software into your internal business strategy.
The Day-to-Day Challenges in a IT Service Management Role
IT Service management (ITSM) employees face a mountain of tasks and calls each day. Not only do they need to manage the delivery of skilled and often complex IT services to customers, but they also feel intense pressure to perform at a high level to meet targets. It can be a stressful job with a lot of accountability from all directions.
Long days spent in front of a screen dealing with endless tickets and unrealistic SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) can take its toll on an employee’s well-being. The nature of some of those tickets and the interactions they involve with angry or frustrated customers in many cases who approach agents with simple & repetitive tasks, only exacerbates matters and leads to consistently high stress levels. If staff don’t get the respite and support they need, including enough breaks or time away from the screen, the result is likely to be reduced productivity and lower morale in the workplace as well as increased sickness and even employee churn.
How COVID-19 Has Impacted Emotional Well-Being in ITSM
Well-being in ITSM has already been under the spotlight over the last decade. But in 2020 COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges that had a serious impact on employee well-being. People experienced drastic changes to their home and work lives, including the sudden move to remote working and rapidly shifting responsibilities in job roles.
Some ITSM workplaces cut staff in response to reduced budgets, while simultaneously dealing with a huge influx of tickets related to the shift in tech use at home. Employees were dealing with brand-new issues and had to adapt to suit this different and unexplored way of working while navigating the unknown stresses of living in a pandemic. On top of that, many staff had the added fear of potential job loss.
Freshworks and the Service Desk Institute (SDI) collaborated on the ‘ITSM 2021 & Beyond’ report to help IT leaders prepare for the challenges facing the sector. One section focuses on well-being and reported that almost half of the IT professionals surveyed felt that COVID-19 damaged their emotional well-being. Around 60% of IT professionals felt their work life was responsible for making their emotional wellbeing worse. Remote working or working on-site but alone could contribute to a heightened sense of isolation or loneliness. On top of that, 17% of respondents are worried about losing their job due to COVID-19. The report explores these statistics and offers analysis and insight into addressing the issues the data has raised, you can, download the full report to find out more about emotional well-being in ITSM.
The Importance of Team Culture within ITSM
A strong team culture within your ITSM department can play a significant role in improving well-being. In a high-pressure work environment, service desk professionals need to know their team and line managers value and support them. So, it’s important businesses create an environment where staff operate as a team and everyone looks out for one other. Working in a cooperative and harmonious environment, even a remote one, can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Provide training for soft skills so that your staff can spot the signs of mental and physical illness in their colleagues. There is still a lot of stigma attached to talking about mental illness within the workplace, but many respondents in the SDI survey found that their organisation was already being proactive about emotional well-being.
During COVID-19, ITSM teams have been the bedrock of ensuring business continuity. They deal with such diverse and complex enquiries supporting internal departments and customers that it’s easy to overlook their own needs in terms of support. Make time in the day for relaxed team socialising, just to catch up and check in with individuals. This is particularly important when working from home as it helps to nullify the physical and psychological distance, reducing feelings of isolation.
Adopting Strategies to Improve Morale While Working Remotely in ITSM
During a SITS Virtual Summit session, Iain Cameron, a User Services Desk Manager from the University of Aberdeen, told us how his team tries to replicate their office dynamic while working from home. He says, “We have a morning scrum for 10 minutes and an afternoon tea break for 15 minutes, and we’ve embraced Teams channels for ticket talk.” He also gives his team time away from the service desk for two hours once a week. Originally designated for self-development, during COVID-19 it was adapted so team members can do anything that “refreshes them and brings them back ready to work again.” He continues, “I’d love people [Other Service Management Team Leaders] to sit down and think ‘what could I do better to support a colleague or a team’.”
It’s also important to celebrate small achievements and champion each other. It enhances motivation and morale, while encouraging a feeling of togetherness and team pride. Integrated systems like MS teams, Slack can be integrated with Freshservice providing agents working on the tickets access to the entire conversation to allow them to resolve the issue accordingly and to make collaborative working not only possible but intuitive too, when working remotely.
Building Formalised Well-Being Management Capabilities Through Freshservice
Better communication is an essential element of ensuring employee well-being. Implementing employee management software helps to take the strain off service desk staff by streamlining workflows and processes. Freshservice is a no-code IT solution that helps businesses achieve efficiency through automation and integrated service delivery. Users can also access an online community for guidance and advice.
Automated processes such as prioritising tickets and creating contextual responses, save employees time. They can avoid mundane and repetitive tasks to focus on more complex problems. Besides providing more job satisfaction, this also alleviates stress and potential burnout. This employee-centric software ultimately benefits both the staff and the business by improving well-being while saving businesses the cost of sick days, high-turnover, loss of investment in team members who leave as well as time spent onboarding new staff.
Measuring Workload Data to Identify Smarter Working Practices
One of the ways to improve emotional well-being is to monitor individual and team workloads. The SDI ITSM report published some comments from employees who mentioned a significant increase in workload due to staff and budget cuts. At the same time, these staff feel since they are working from home, there is a false perception that support teams are being less productive. This lack of visibility can lead to staff working overtime to prove they are completing their tasks.
Freshservice takes the guesswork out of workloads to show management how much time is being spent on specific tasks. It provides transparency and identifies problem areas where they need to allocate more personnel and resources. Measuring workload data with custom reports centrally available for all agents from a single dashboard on Freshservice also helps to identify strong performers and reward them accordingly.
Create a Supportive Environment for Employees with Freshservice
Businesses are turning to Freshservice’s collaboration tools like Team Huddle to provide extra support for employees. Team Huddle lets help desk agents chat with each other right on the ticket page in a way that’s as simple as texting. It allows any team member to help and have the context of the issue right in front of them rather than having to check a separate tool like Slack or Outlook. Tools like ‘Huddle’ and ‘Freshchat’ and seamless integrations with collaboration rolls provide for instant support for individuals and take away a lot of the stress of dealing with problems alone.
Advanced custom analytics let you monitor service desk performance and workloads. Freshservice’s custom reporting capabilities are configurable based on roles and let you see where some teams face extra pressure. This allows managers to spot any pressure points or potential problem areas where individuals need extra support, training or resources. Getting the right support to people on time can help reduce the risk to physical and emotional well-being.
Use Freshservice Integration Functionality to Encourage Conversation with Employees
Freshservice’s user interface is intuitive and empowers employees with a consumer-grade multi-channel user experience. Employees can interact in real-time with Freshservice chatbot and external channel integrations including MS Teams and Slack. This encourages open and timely conversation among individuals and groups, which has a positive impact on mental health.
How Freshservice Can Support the Emotional Well-Being of Employees in ITSM
Providing a better daily experience at work may increase your ability to attract and retain the best talent. By supporting a strong employee-centric culture with EX software, you’re committing to employee well-being and improving employee retention. The pandemic has brought the subject of well-being in ITSM to the forefront, but it will remain an important issue as remote and agile working looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Freshservice enables employees to assign, manage and complete tasks in one place. They can also find all the information they need and communicate across multiple channels. It’s a scalable service management solution with a single user interface that puts employees at the centre of your business. Freshservice creates employee journeys in much the same way as CRM software builds customer journeys and experiences.
We’ve incorporated AI-driven automation, chatbots, and analytics. Put simply, Freshservice makes your employees’ lives easier with all the communication tools they need at their fingertips. It helps ITSM employees understand how they contribute to the wider business strategy, giving them a sense of fulfilment and purpose. A happy workforce leads to happy customers.
Find Out How Freshservice Could Transform Your Business EX
Service Management Software can vastly improve your staff’s experience on a team and individual level, helping them to feel supported, valued, and appreciated. Valued staff are more likely to stay with a company and act as ambassadors for the brand while on and off duty.
The ‘ITSM 2021 & Beyond’ report covers IT service desk professionals’ perspective on emotional well-being in the workplace and how IT leaders can use this data to better plan for the future and create a supportive environment for employees, download a copy of the report now.
Are you interested in improving the productivity and emotional well-being of your staff? Learn more about Freshservice Service Management Software, or sign up for our no credit card/no strings free trial. Finally, For more information on how to improve employee experience, why not visit our content library.
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