If you work in any sort of corporate environment, you no doubt use things like your laptop and the internet on a day-to-day basis. And while it might seem like those things just magically manage to work most of the time, the truth is that there's a driving force behind them: your company's IT team.

Whether your IT department is large or small, there's a good chance you'll come to rely on it to stay productive at work. There's also a good chance you'll one day find yourself at the mercy of that team, which is why it pays to approach your relationship with the IT folks strategically. Here are a few things you can do to work well with your IT team -- and make your own life easier in the process.

Man sitting at a laptop with multiple computer screens up.


1. Try to solve problems yourself first

When it comes to low-grade technical issues, the old "shut down your machine and boot it up again" trick tends to work magic. Before you rush to your IT team with a problem, attempt a low-tech fix yourself. It might end up doing absolutely nothing, but at the very least, you'll be able to tell the IT folks that you made an effort to resolve the issue before turning to them.

2. Don't expect an immediate response

Sure, your laptop might be acting up, causing your tasks to take longer and putting you in the ever-precarious position of missing a deadline. But if a company server is down or the entire firm is experiencing a network outage, that's pretty much going to take priority. Therefore, when contacting your IT team for assistance, prepare yourself for a bit of a wait, especially if that department is short-staffed and your issue isn't major. For example, if your laptop is working slowly but hasn't died completely, sit tight and give the IT folks 24 hours to respond before following up.

3. Regularly express gratitude

When systems fail and key machines break, it's the IT folks who have to drop what they're doing and fix the problems at hand. And often, that means logging on after hours and on weekends to deal with emergencies. That's why it never hurts to thank your IT team every so often for supporting the business and helping you do your job. Not only will that make those folks feel valued, but it also might bump you to the front of the line the next time you find yourself in need of tech support.

4. Learn some of the easy fixes yourself

Though many IT people go through specific training to do what they do, often, the solutions they come up with stem from on-the-job experience. And chances are, your IT team will be more than happy to share some of their go-to solutions if it means fewer inquiries and requests for help. So rather than remain totally reliant on that team, ask for a little training yourself, and share that knowledge with others. If you and your colleagues are able to tackle more minor technical issues yourselves, it'll ease the burden on your IT staff and help you avoid the needless downtime that comes with sitting back helplessly and waiting for assistance.

Most of us rely on technology to do our jobs, so it pays to make an effort to work well with your IT team. If you do them a few favors, it will be easier to call in one of your own when you need it.