Essential Hardware for Working from Anywhere
When we think of working remotely, we tend to think of a simple computer setup. The reality, however, is that there are numerous, essential pieces of hardware that should be considered, all of which can contribute to an efficient workforce, no matter where they are working.
Smartphones and tablets
Smartphone and tablet devices are essential in creating a mobile workforce. The ability to check e-mails, access work applications and be contactable on the move has long appealed to companies with staff out in the field and, with improving technology, this is being taken to the next level.
Phone cameras are getting better and better, in some cases even giving DSLR a run for their money, thus helping video and content creators to produce content on the move, using just their phone.
The launch of 5G has also had a significant impact. The speed and reliability offered by the next generation network means workers can use their phone for anything and everything, not having to worry about poor connectivity. Additionally, tablets are becoming more powerful with each release and are now able to take SIM cards, while giving the user access to unique apps and a powerful OS to rival laptop devices.
In 2019, Samsung released a new product called Samsung DeX. DeX enables users to connect their mobile device to a compatible Windows PC or Mac for a mobile-desktop hybrid experience. It provides users with a familiar desktop experience, complete with resizable windows, drag-and-drop functionality and keyboard shortcuts, powered by their mobile device, making it perfect for those on the move or hot-desking.
DeX is complemented by Samsung’s recent flagship smartphones, which integrate seamlessly with Windows 10. With Link to Windows, users can easily mirror their phone’s screen, view notifications, transfer files and media, and respond to messages and calls on a Windows 10 device. They can also use their favourite Microsoft apps on their phone, sync files between both devices, and combine their calendars.
We should also consider those who aren’t office-based, in fields that require them to work in a variety of different environments, that perhaps need a more resilient device than the standard smartphones. Rugged devices from Cat Phones, Samsung, Hammer and Nokia are built to survive difficult working environments with water, dust and drop resistance. These devices are designed for those in challenging industries such as construction, warehousing or logistics, truly empowering users to work from anywhere. With a growing appetite for rugged devices, the market is on the rise with 45 million rugged device shipments forecasted for this year.
You can be almost certain that most employees looking to work from anywhere need a laptop and, although the gap is closing between tablet functionality and that of a laptop, there are still a few areas where it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Laptops offer more power with better processors, which support more complex software, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, and usually boast more functions, with SD card and USB slots. As the trackpads and keyboard are also built-in, it’s less to carry for people hot-desking or looking to move around throughout the day.
To ensure they are purchasing a capable laptop that will support them in working from anywhere, businesses should look at the following criteria:
- Weight – Is it lightweight and comfortable to carry around?
- Functionality – Does it do what you need it to do?
- Battery – How good is the battery life and what does it take to charge it?
- Price – Is it good value for money?
- Processing power – Does it meet the user’s needs? Remember, the needs of a graphic designer are likely to be very different to that of a writer.
- Familiarity – Have you used this brand before? Do you know your way around it as a result?
In the future, we believe laptops may even begin to take SIM cards, the benefit of course being, that their laptop will be powered by mobile connectivity, reducing the risk associated with connecting to unsecured public WiFi and improving the likelihood of an internet connection. It also means users do not have to rely on using their smartphone for tethering.
Headsets are not a new technology, but they are essential when looking to work remotely. They become even more prevalent when you consider the rise of VoIP and collaboration tools such as Skype, Slack and Microsoft Teams.
A good headset will allow users to multitask during calls and meetings, with their hands-free to take notes, run presentations and, as many people like to do, move about while talking.
As there are hundreds of headsets on the market, you need to first establish what you need from the headset. Do you prefer the flexibility of a wireless one or the security of a corded one that does not require charging? Do you want an in-ear, on the ear or over the ear device? Is the headset easy to install?
All headsets will have their various perks which is why we suggest the user consider their work environment too, before committing. Whichever way you look at it, a good headset will ensure crystal clear communication during meetings and will plug into existing software/web clients to ensure efficiency, wherever they are.
“87% of people in the workforce work on distributed teams – domestically or internationally – and Jabra makes staying connected easy with intelligent, industry-leading audio and video solutions to boost collaboration no matter where you or your teams are.” – Jabra, provider of high quality of audio-visual equipment
The popularity of dongles and MiFi devices has increased in the last two years, largely due to the rise in unlimited data plans. Where a reliable broadband connection cannot be guaranteed, customers are looking for reasonably priced, portable connectivity solutions. Some devices even take sim cards to allow them to connect to a mobile network, ensuring that they can get a connection anywhere their phone can.
We recommend that businesses carry a fleet of backup dongles or MiFi devices for their employees. It ensures that the business benefits from an ‘always on’ approach to working. Dongles and MiFi devices from the likes of Alcatel are usually small and lightweight meaning portability is never an issue.
“Alcatel make ‘working from anywhere’ a key mission for our products. Our MW40 for example, allows up to 15 secure Wi-Fi connections and is built to make everywhere your office.” – Chris Muxworthy, Alcatel
At Digital Wholesale Solutions, we are empowering our partners and their customers to truly work from anywhere by providing a range of suitable solutions and complementary hardware. Speak to us today to see how we can help your customers embrace remote working or visit our modern workplace hub for more information.