8 Ways to Save System Administrator Time


SysAdmins are the overly busy backbone of our digitally driven offices, and time is their greatest asset. Here are 8 ways to avoid wasting the little time they have.

System administrators, or SysAdmins, make the business technology world go around. If they aren’t troubleshooting your computer issue, rooting out a system virus, or adding a new printer to the network, they’re likely applying software updates, performing server maintenance, or planning a training session.

There’s always more to be done inside a business environment which is increasingly driven by technology, and it’s likely your SysAdmins are already struggling to keep up with current demands. Here’s what we can do as users to avoid wasting their increasingly valuable time.

SysAdmins1. Preserve Policy

A primary reason for technology policies is to protect the security and stability of digital business systems. Since the incidents of digital malfeasance are only increasing, both from external and internal sources, SysAdmins must be vigilant to ensure that a rogue virus or backdoor hack doesn’t occur on their watch. Enforcing these policies benefits the business and should never be taken personally. Educate yourself on existing policies and support your SysAdmins in upholding their compliance.

2. Consult Before Calling

Many IT organizations maintain an online database of previously submitted issues along with how to successfully resolve them. Save yourself, your SysAdmin and your company some money by consulting these resource before submitting a new ticket. Understanding the fix to your current problem may also help you be more proactive in avoiding future issues. Win/Win!

3. Quit Clicking Crap

We’ve all fallen for those brightly colored buttons or popups flashing across websites and email. By this point, we hopefully have run across the many forms of clickbait trying to suck us in, and should know better to avoid them. While they’re not always malicious (“You Have To See This”, “Click For Cute Puppies”), many times they are (“Virus Detected”, “Immediate Action Required”). One wrong click and you can do some serious damage to your PC, and even the network it’s connected to. Click on whatever crazy buttons you want when using your personal devices, but leave your work computer out of it. And dear God… Don’t click on any random .EXE files!

4. Be Wary of Wires

So we’re on the same page, the digitally driven equipment keeping our offices functioning doesn’t just magically come from the sky (unless we’re talking about wireless technology, and even then), it’s all driven through wires. CAT-5, CAT-6, DVI, VGA, Optic, HDMI SATA, USB 3.0, whew! Understanding and keeping track of all of these technology imbuing wires is a responsibility of your SysAdmin and the last thing they need is you doing “wiring-workarounds” when something isn’t working right. If you’ve not found any clear answers when first consulting the online solutions database, submit a ticket before unplugging this or that. It’ll save your SysAdmin a lot of time and frustration.

5. Document With Dilligence

Issues come up with technology for many reasons, sometimes it not the user fault, sometimes it is. Regardless, the primary goal for your SysAdmin is to get a full understanding of the problem so they can diagnose it effectively, even if that means admitting you clicked this or unplugged that.  The more information you can provide for this diagnosis, the better. Leave emotion and culpability out of it and keep your description of the issue based on the observable facts. Bonus points may be given if you can submit screenshots or actually capture the Error message.

6. Take Time for Training

Technology is always improving and needing to use a new piece of technology is par for the course for employees in a modern business. Depending on the type and impact of the new technology, training is often offered to help users get up to speed with it. Whether it be an OS upgrade, a new business application, or a policy change being implemented, this training is usually spearheaded by your trusty SysAdmins. They’ve set aside a chunk of time from their time-starved schedules to make use of the new technology easier for their co-working users. Respect your IT colleagues commitment and attend these training sessions.

7. Don’t Burden During Breaktime

Keeping technology running is a 24/7 commitment for most IT professionals. Network down at during a National holiday? Too bad, get on it IT team. System upgrades can only happen at 2am on the weekend? So sorry, but IT must make it happen. The last thing a SysAdmin needs is to have additional personal time take from him. Pepper them with questions while they’re preparing lunch in the break room? No bueno. Pestering about ticket status while they’re pulling out of the parking lot? Ay Dios mio! A lot of time and money goes into maintaining the company’s ticketing system. Follow the process and get in line like everyone else.

8. Practice Patience

Most importantly, understand that being a SysAdmin, like many roles within the IT department, are often thankless jobs. Think about it, recognition for our IT brothers and sisters usually only occurs when something has gone wrong within the digital domain. Along with trying to respond to and deliver a solution for your specific request or issue, SysAdmins are also responsible for software updates, hardware upgrades, system maintenance, performance monitoring, creating backups, managing user provisioning and more, all while responding to the needs of the other users in the organization. It’s no surprise that many reports list the role of a System Administrator as being one of the most stressful within the office.

Your needs are important and our SysAdmins cohorts understand they’re likely the only ones who can solve them. Be kind when making requests and considerate of their other duties as you wait for resolution. Heck, maybe even give them a shout out when systems are simply up and running, which is no small feat and sometimes deserves some praise. Any SysAdmin would appreciate that recognition

Chris Metzger

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