Posted tagged ‘cost efficient’

Do not feed the officers

March 9, 2011

Can we trust staff to problem solve?

There are two main problems when you are good at your job:

  • No-one appreciates how hard it is as you make it look easy
  • People expect you to go the extra league, not just the extra mile

I’ve come across this a little this week thanks to my frustrating inability to tell people that it’s not my job, and that they should work it out themselves.

As my team is involved with public engagement we have all manner of gadgets and toys built up over the years to encourage people to get involved.  From facilitation equipment through to online widgets, we’ve got access to plenty that other teams want.

Recently a colleague asked if they could borrow some of our IT equipment for an event they were putting on.  They had used it in the past without problems, so I said it would be fine and arranged for them to pick it up.  I even showed them how to use it again as a bit of a refresher, to be sure that they would be fine on the day.

Over the course of the next three days I must have spent at least 40% of my time with them for one reason or another.  Firstly they couldn’t work out how to do something simple, so I showed them and helped get it prepped.  Then they forgot how to run it, so I ran through two practice sessions with them.  They then couldn’t work out how to link it to a projector – that’s linking a laptop to a projector, nothing more fancy than that – so I showed them.

They then broke the software.  Perhaps that’s not entirely fair to say; the software stopped working whilst they were in custody of it.  Despite being no more than a regular user I then felt duty bound to try to get it working for them, and proceeded to investigate everything in my power to do.  When these admittedly limited options were exhausted I proceeded to get our glorious ICT helpdesk involved (after answering the requisite twenty questions of course) and spent about three hours on the phone to them.

None of it worked. (more…)

Just a little effort

December 1, 2010

Today I got a phone call.  Not in and of itself an exciting event admittedly; in fact it was nothing to do with my day job at all, and was someone who was trying to get through to the rent office to pay their bills.  I work nowhere near this team and have never even encountered them, so had to rely on the vagaries of our intranet and internal phone list to find a suitable person to put them through to, which I did.  I also gave them the number I was sending them to, just in case they got lost along the way.

Normally that would be that and I’d go about my day, forgetting about them as surely as a politician forgets a manifesto pledge.  However, today I decided to take a leaf out of my own book and do something a bit extra.  We have new fangled phones in the office which record the phone numbers of incoming calls, in case you miss them or want to call someone back easily.  So I did a little research, found out a few more rent-related numbers in the borough and called the person back in the afternoon to check whether or not they had got through to someone and sorted out their issue.

Okay, so I got through to an answerphone, but I left a message and my number along with a message to explain that I wasn’t stalking them.  All of this took an extra couple of minutes, but I’d like to think that it might have had the dual benefit of helping that person out and also giving them a good experience of calling the Council.  In the grand scheme of things it was no hassle, and had the added bonus of making me feel like I’d done at least one good turn for the day. (more…)