Many users who have worked in office settings using traditional desktops are now being asked to work remotely. Over the long run, this can be a positive development because it can make your business more agile and responsive, creating a corporate culture that supports remote work with modern tools for access, security, collaboration and productivity.
But there is also risk if users are not given the proper tools and support from the organization. For example, many users may not be aware of best practices in cybersecurity hygiene and the perils of mixing business and personal applications on the same device.
In addition, users may be less productive and inspired if they are using older devices that lack modern features or don’t work seamlessly with business-critical apps and collaboration tools. Today’s workforce is more diverse, trending younger in many areas, and they are creating new ways of working remotely. The idea of having a single type of device for all users and jobs is fast becoming a relic of the past.
Device diversity is not just for the benefit of users, but for IT teams as well. With IT admins also working remotely, equipping your workforce with modern, reliable, easy-to-manage devices will keep tech personnel productive and motivated and ultimately enhance employee engagement and experience.
The trend towards remote work is not new. Over a recent 10-year period the number of people working remotely grew by 91%, and 74% of respondents to an annual survey said flexible working has become the “new normal.” But the trend is accelerating rapidly: Future-of-work expert Gary Bolles describes it as “The Great Reset.”
There are many factors involved in empowering your individuals and teams to be productive anywhere. There are definitely cultural issues to address—training, support, encouragement in using collaboration tools and constant monitoring of those tools and of user productivity and morale in general.
There are also important technical decisions that will have a dramatic impact on your organization’s success in responding to the current moment and also preparing for the future. Primary among these decisions is your choice of how to equip your workforce with modern devices that improve the employee experience, team productivity and organizational security.
What to look for in modern devices
In evaluating devices and overall endpoint solutions for your workforce, there are three main areas to consider as more people, including IT personnel, work remotely. These are:
- Experience and productivity for end users and teams
- Experience, productivity and cost management for IT
Consideration No. 1: Experience and productivity for end users and teams
One of the new mantras you may be starting to hear is “enable teams anywhere.” Users will be utilizing their devices more frequently and with more mobility, moving from location to location, even within their homes. IT teams will do well to focus on the user experience and adopt the mindset of users who may not yet be experienced using portable devices.
Quality and features are critical, as are ease of use, easy access to remote support, the ability to easily use chat and video with high quality and no latency. Users want and need seamless access to all of their applications and data. Equipping workers with modern devices such as Microsoft Surface is an important step in the right direction, as described in the guide “Get the right tool for every job.”
Users get an intuitive, easy-to-use device with a wide range of modern features such as touchscreens, high-performance front- and back-facing cameras, premium mics and sound, and built-in security protections. Because Microsoft Surface is tightly integrated with Microsoft management tools and apps, users experience less downtime, high reliability and less friction in switching between apps.
As the workforce changes with the move to remote work, virtual meetings and increased video collaboration, among other trends, many of these modern features are evolving from “nice to have” to “must have.” For example, teams that can no longer met in person and use a physical whiteboard to brainstorm. This makes a digital whiteboard essential.
But to enable this type of virtual collaboration, employees need a device that is touch-enabled and optimized for inking. That means they have devices that support both the inking experience and the ability to put the devices into a physical mode where it is easy to ink.
Consideration No. 2: Experience, productivity and cost management for IT
Microsoft Surface devices are designed to simplify and reduce the cost of management at every stage of the device lifecycle (View the Webinar: “Drive your workplace transformation strategy with Microsoft Surface”). Windows Autopilot simplifies the way devices get deployed, reset and repurposed, with an experience that is zero touch for IT—which can be critical in remote work scenarios.
Even before the device has been deployed, it can be enrolled into Azure Active Directory to create device profiles so all proper settings and applications are available the first time users install the device. During the installation, Microsoft Surface contains sophisticated, mature hardware and firmware designed for comprehensive management. Administrators can control hardware settings without having to touch the machine.
Other important management features include purpose-built tools for diagnostics and tuning that can automatically fix issues, assist with troubleshooting and optimize functionality from brightness control to battery usage. Management is extended to end of life, whether the device is retired, redeployed or stolen.
Consideration No. 3: Security
Security is built into Microsoft Surface devices from the chip to the cloud.
IT can streamline administration and improve security with a Microsoft-created UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which enables automated updating of the operating system and UEFI firmware.
Microsoft Surface also includes a crypto-processer, called Trusted Platform Module, that is resistant to both physical tampering and the efforts of malicious software to change or interfere with it. With Surface Enterprise Management Mode (SEMM), IT can minimize the impact of remote access trojans and other methods that enable attackers to take control of device components. With Microsoft Intune, IT can wipe a device clean, even remotely.
In addition, Microsoft Surface is built for the Microsoft 365 security stack to detect vulnerability and automatically protect devices at all times. With built-in protection at every layer from the chip to the cloud, Microsoft Surface implements every standard for a highly secure Windows 10 device.
Consider the device
In today’s environment, with more workers using BYOD and leveraging cloud security solutions, there can be a tendency to forget just how important the device is in making users happy, productive, recognized and rewarded. By giving users a modern device with advanced features and a consumerized experience, IT can go a long way in boosting productivity, collaboration and morale, all while saving the organization money and improving security. To learn more, please visit Microsoft.