Who gets what? How to plan for your workforce’s digital tools

By Chris Buchanan, Director – End-user computing – Africa at Dell EMC

I hardly have a desk anymore. Much of my day is spent moving from place to place, and people to people. Formal encounters and informal meetings happen all the time, from boardrooms to discussions sitting on a balcony. All this time my laptop is with me, its ability to become a tablet is great to present and capture information.

It’s a connected world – we can all agree on that and agree that devices are the places where people interact with much of that world. It’s also obvious that devices aren’t homogenous, or that the best device for the job is necessarily the biggest and most powerful. If you weigh the roles in an organisation, you’ll notice specific subsets of users whose roles prioritise devices differently. For some, a smartphone and dock might be perfect. For others, it’s dual screens.

Wichita State University’s Software Usability Research Laboratory published research that revealed an 18 percent productivity improvement for dual-screen users. They were more accurate and performed tasks faster than single-screen screen users. Similar results have been surfacing around other device types. Some you can verify anecdotally – just imagine your office’s productivity without smartphones.

The case that employee devices can be more fit for purpose is clear enough. But it still sounds like an elaborate and convoluted project to attempt. Fortunately not. The previously mentioned subsets of employees are distinct and device combinations are economic.

It’s worth your time to do a quick personal audit of your company’s device layout. Here at Dell EMC we’ve created the Future Ready Workforce white paper, which walks you through the questions. You can start getting answers immediately. Structured around office ‘personas’, it quickly paints a picture of matching devices to roles in any business.

The Four Personas

There are essentially two different types of workers in your organisation: workplace workers and mobility workers. Workplace workers have two classes – desk-centric workers and corridor warriors – and mobility workers also subdivide into two – on-the-go pros and remote workers. We can define each along the following lines:

Desk-centric workers work at their own desks at least half of the time. They include administrative staff, accounting, help desks/customer support, engineers, designers, marketing staff and R&D.

Corridor warriors are away from their desks for considerable amounts of the workday, often in meetings or other company locations. They typically are managers, high-level executives, marketers, IT staff and specialists such as shop floor supervisors, warehouse managers and nurses.

On-the-go pros spend more than half their time away from the office. Mid-to-high-level executives, sales executives, field engineers, insurance representatives, consultants and healthcare services professionals typically fall into this category.

Remote workers spend the absolute amount of their job – more than 30 hours a week – working from somewhere else. Data and claims processing, event workers, sales professionals and consultants often work remotely.

Split your workforce into these four categories, taking stock of how many there are in each group. Then ask what their primary and secondary devices will be. For example, desk-centric workers are more likely to need a desktop to a laptop as a primary device, whereas the other three personas prefer laptops.

Smartphones are often preferred secondary devices, while tablets can be primary or secondary depending on the role. For example, a third of corridor warriors prefer a tablet as their primary device and smartphone as the secondary. This can include 2-in-1 laptops, which feature tablet-style features. If you recall the start of this blog, as a corridor warrior I’m quite a fan of that configuration.

There are then also what we call Productivity Enhancements. These help improve how people do their jobs. Docking stations, multiple displays and monitor mounts are often desired depending on the functions they provide. Even small touches such as decent headphones, keyboards and other peripherals can boost an employee’s morale and focus.

Role, meet Device

But getting a keyboard for a road warrior would be pointless. So defining the four personas in your company is important. They indicate overlaps as well as idiosyncrasies that you should consider. Then you can prepare a device strategy that serves their needs yet doesn’t break your budget. It lets you pick the best places to start. There is more to this process, such as setting your own goals. Do you want more productivity? Attract new talent? Expand your business? These are all considerations the right devices can impact.

Dell EMC’s Future Ready Workforce white paper offers an easy and structured approach to quickly audit your workforce device needs. Try it right now and see how you can get your people to work smarter and faster with real motivation.

If you would like to receive the white paper send a email to marguerite@pbpr.co.za

About the Author: Dell Technologies