How school network managers can reduce their workload 

4 October, 2022

How school network managers can reduce their workload 

This blog outlines some of our best tips for school network managers, IT directors and technicians to reduce their workload and improve their wellbeing.

This blog outlines some of our best tips for school network managers, IT directors and technicians to reduce their workload and improve their wellbeing. 

According to a report on school staff wellbeing by Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, “A reduction in workload” is the most valuable initiative in improving wellbeing at work.

SalamanderSoft currently supports over 4,000 schools and multi academy trusts, working with network managers to help provision and manage user accounts for Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and other learning platforms.

Speaking to network managers on a daily basis, we know that you carry a lot on your shoulders.

But, the responsibility of IT provision – while crucial to the way a modern school or trust operates – often goes unrecognised. And that can be very isolating. 

As Kristina Gambling points out in her article Wellbeing: The new black, “As the partner of a Network Manager, I have come to recognise that the demands made of these unsung heroes are tenfold. Think about it; who is maintaining your remote desktop service while you’re knocking up a last-minute lesson plan?” 

This workload has only increased since the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent rise in demand for online learning tools in schools worldwide. 

Keep reading as we share our best tips for helping busy school network managers reduce their workloads and improve their wellbeing.

Split up tasks into manageable chunks. 

We asked our MD Jon Atkinson his top tip on managing huge workloads.  

With over fifteen years of experience working in the education sector, including as a school IT technician, his best advice is to split up large tasks into smaller, more achievable chunks.  

“Once you have your big task broken down into smaller tasks, you can then build time in to focus on those smaller tasks,” Jon explains.  

“This way, you always know what you need to focus on next and can remove anything that can cause a distraction.”  
 

Limit your time spent on emails.

One distraction we all face is incoming emails. 

The constant influx of email “pings” can easily pull our focus away from our to-do lists. 

Try switching off your email notifications for specific periods of the day and only respond during certain hours of your workday.  

You could let people know the timeframe they can expect a response in your email signature or on an automated reply.  

If you don’t want to do this regularly, try doing it for your most busy periods. 
 

Signpost and self-help.

Being responsible for IT in a school often means spending a lot of time troubleshooting small issues that individual staff and students encounter during the school day: forgotten passwords, inability to access accounts or getting devices/apps to work properly.  

Start writing down your most common questions and problems, and if it’s something a student or staff member could fix without your help, create a short how-to guide.  

This means you can easily copy and paste a response the next time you get that question. Or, you can save even more time by creating an “IT troubleshooting FAQs” page on your school intranet to which you can signpost people.
 

Take a break. 

When a lot is piling up on your plate, it may seem counterintuitive to move even an inch away from your computer.  

However, taking a break can help clear your mind and improve your focus.  

Get away from the screen for a bit, grab a drink and get outside for some fresh air. It may sound cliché, but trust us, some self-care works wonders.  
 

Automate, automate, automate.  

Creating and managing user accounts for Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, and other learning platforms is a huge time sink for network managers.  

By using the Salamander Integration Suite, you can automatically synchronise user accounts, groups, permissions and more directly from your School Management Information System (MIS).  

It’s fully automated so that your network and relevant users, groups and permissions reflect your management system – as long as your management system is up to date, so is your network. 

This means that everyone in your school or trust has access to everything they need – their emails, resources and apps.  

Meanwhile, anyone who leaves your school (staff or student) is automatically removed and can no longer access their accounts. 

Find out more: https://www.salamandersoft.co.uk/products/. 

Talk to like-minded people.

We know that many network managers often work alone or in small teams to support their entire schools.  

If you’re feeling a little isolated or have no one to chat to about the pressures at work, think about reaching out to a community of like-minded people.  

The Association For Network Managers in Education (The ANME) is an excellent example. We work closely with The ANME and attend many of their regular free events for network managers, IT directors and technicians.  

Our Salamander Integration Suite automatically synchronises user accounts, groups, permissions and more from your School Management Information System, allowing teachers and students to instantly access the tools they need to teach and learn.

Talk to a member of our team today to find out how we can support your school or trust.

Jon Atkinson

Written by Jon Atkinson

Managing Director

Jon joined SalamanderSoft in November 2013 and heads the teams that build, deliver and supports the company's products and strives to ensure the highest customer satisfaction in everything that the company does. Having spent almost 15 years supporting the needs of Schools and other academic establishments, Jon brings a broad range of technical experience and passion to the role.

Outside of work, Jon volunteers with the Scout Association.

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