Helpdesk Duties

Things to Do & to Remember

Here are some key things you need to know when you are a volunteer on behalf of VCN:

  • Be extremely clear with the user about any limitations you may have in helping them. Feel free to remind them that the Help Desk is entirely staffed by volunteers. You can also let them know that you are new to VCN and are still getting used to the system, or that you will pass their message along to someone with more experience.
  • You can explain that you are part of a team of volunteers, any one of whom may work on their problem, so that the user who called or dropped in knows that the message is viewed by all Help Desk volunteers. They should not rely solely on you for help.
  • Never transfer calls to staff or other volunteers. Help the person directly or record a message on the Request Tracker.
  • Do not encourage users to bring their equipment to the office. Space, volunteer time and expertise are unpredictable and sometimes limited. (If a person shows up with their equipment, be clear with them about your status as a volunteer, your level of expertise, their level of risk and set a time limit at MAXIMUM 30 minutes)
  • Your volunteer job description authorizes you to work at VCN’s office or online or at a public access site if assigned. If volunteers have to go to a user’s home to work on their problem, as long as the problem is not related to services of VCN, the volunteer works as a private contractor. VCN will not be involved in the transaction between the user as a client and volunteers as service provider. Be sure that the user understand this protocol.
  • Only help people with technical issues and offer guidance. Do not help them with other tasks. Instead refer them to another organization for assistance.
  • Refer people to broad referrals for further help. In other words, refer them to free online sources of information or professional assistance, online discussion groups, buy-sell groups, the person who sold/gave them their computer, yellow pages, Free Geek, etc.
  • Only email people using the Request Tracker. Never use a personal email account to email people.
  • If you have been authorized to work from home/after hours, do not make phone calls to users before 10:00am or after 4:00pm.


  • All information about users is confidential and is to be used only for the purposes of helping them within your position as a VCN Volunteer.
  • Do not take a user’s password over the phone to experiment with their account. This information is strictly confidential, and should be for the user’s ears and eyes only.

Other Information:

If you experience difficulties in your work or have questions about these or other procedures and protocols, please feel free to discuss them with the User Support Coordinator or with VCN staff.

Public Office Hours:

10:00am to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday

Start of Work Day

  1. Ensure public access terminals (outside office) is on.
  2. Turn on Helpdesk computers.
  3. Check the voicemail for new messages.

End of Work Day

Note: Shut down office at 4:00 PM (At 3:45PM, ask Users to finish up on the Public Access Terminal).

  1. Make sure you’re signed up for you next shift on the online calendar.
  2. Clean up any used scrap paper, pens and paper sheets from desks.
  3. At 4:00PM, turn off the helpdesk, reception, public access computer (do not turn off computer towers and servers).
  4. Close all windows in Volunteer Office and Public Access area (at 4:00PM).
  5. Close office door (by 4:00PM).

Reminders during office hours:

  • Check with volunteers who finish their volunteer work hours before close of business day if they have any problems or work they need to pass on.