Have you ever been in a meeting and your pocket started to ring, but you weren’t sure which device it was? Or, worse yet, multiple devices linked to the same account start chirping, beeping and vibrating all at once?
The average employee has 2.3 devices that they use to complete work. While I work from home, whenever I leave my desk, I have what I like to call the battlewagon — a small backpack or briefcase with my iPad Pro, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (work phone) and iPhone 6 (personal phone). These devices allow me to stay connected from anywhere.
Way Too Many Devices
I was shocked to learn that many of my colleagues fighting on the frontlines from the fluorescent glow of cubicle life sometimes have many more devices. For example, a friend of mine is a supervisor with a medical billing company. She has a company laptop, a workstation / desktop, company phone and VOIP desk phone.
The study I mentioned a little earlier in this article actually shows that 14 percent of employees use six or more corporate-issued or approved tech devices. That’s just way too many devices to keep track of. The craziness has to stop somewhere. Therefore, I dedicated a small portion of my week to try and find ways to minimize the number of devices we need to stay connected and productive where life takes us.
1. Harness The Awesome Power of Cloud-Computing
The old school way of doing things is relying on a device that has enough horsepower to completely contain, develop and maintain your digital productivity within itself. For example, if you had asked me five years ago what type of laptop to purchase for running your own business, I would have advised you to select the most powerful device you could afford.
Today, even my grandmother can take advantage of cloud computing, thanks to services like Google Drive and the G Suite of productivity apps. Microsoft’s Office 365 has quickly followed suit.
Because our devices are constantly connected to high-speed internet, we can offload much of the work to the cloud. That means that no matter which device we use, everything is in-sync. And, less powerful devices become much more capable by tapping into the cloud’s file system.
To be honest, the vast majority of people can get away with a chromebook; a stripped-down laptop that runs Google Chrome and its app ecosystem.
Companies that have bogged down employees with too many devices could simplify things for the people in the trenches by shifting to cloud infrastructure.
This would allow for better collaboration and minimize the overhead associated with internal server maintenance. An employee could rely on just a laptop and a smartphone (just two devices) for everything they do.
2. Take the Leap into Mobile-First Computing
One of the things I’ve personally experienced is the massive shift from desktops to mobile computing. Today, mobile computing has broadened itself to tablets and smartphones. There are solutions on the market, and in the pipeline, that allow for employees to operate in a smartphone-centric way.
This means that the seven inch screen they carry around in their pocket is now the primary computing device running their life. For an example of this type of technology, look at the concept behind Superscreen. It’s a tablet that will allow users to simply mirror what’s already on their phone, but on a larger, more functional screen. Apple has led the charge on this with their iOS ecosystem.
The “bring your own device” (BYOD) culture is already here. How cool would it be if employees could harness their digital universe with a tiny device that goes with them wherever they go? This would massively reduce the cost of building out and maintaining a fleet of workstations, laptops and mobile hotspots.
Cutting-edge companies will find ways to empower their employees to work from apps. These apps could be run primarily on smartphones, and then mirrored onto larger screens when necessary.
As a freelancer and consultant, I work with a variety of teams. I can tell you that the common theme is employees are finding ways to work where they feel most productive; at home, in the office or at a local Starbucks. The companies that find ways to empower these employees will not only see an increase in productivity, but a reduction in hardware costs.