Managing Devices for the Hybrid Workforce

June 8, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic shook the entire nation, forcing many people out of their ‘comfort zones.’ There were some things that were easier to adjust to, while some other things proved to be much more challenging. More than a year after organizations rushed to ask workers to stay home, many businesses are officially adopting hybrid work as a standard workforce model, and have begun hiring in new geographies where there is no physical business presence. Some are planning to surrender real estate and scale back their brick-and-mortar facilities. Others have signaled acceptance of the dynamic model with some employees in the office while others are remote. To that end, business giants such as Salesforce, Google, and Twitter have implemented strategies to help support both return to in-person work at their locations across the country, alongside support of their remote teams. In the end, there is no one size fits all – and that’s a trend that’s here to stay.

The changes brought by the pandemic have presented a host of issues around human resources as well as information technology. Organizations are actively evaluating the successes and lessons from the shift to more remote work —in addition to what challenges still remain.

Among several IT-related challenges is how to best support end-user devices that are permanently away from a central workplace. Device lifecycle management occupies a key place in employee onboarding, and offboarding, and in move-add-change-delete (MACD) activities, requiring close integration with help desk services. Traditional desk-side support has long been on the decline as we shift toward a culture of greater user empowerment and self-service. Despite this, the deployment, recovery and lifecycle management of devices remains a high-touch activity. The increased percentage of at-home workforce members has compounded the challenge. IT teams must grapple with a device lifecycle that can in some cases include multiple rounds of recovery and re-deployment with personnel changes. For example, typical shipped-device workflow can include:

  • Recovery from the field or home
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Diagnostics and testing
  • Re-configuration
  • User assignment and user customization
  • Work product and data management
  • Device inventory and spares pool management
  • Kitting with peripherals
  • On-demand shipping

In addition to these tasks, addressing the e-waste stream in a responsible manner and managing end-of-life IT asset disposition or lease asset return are often unwelcome distractions in an office setting, and are complicated by an increasingly distributed device fleet.

In many cases, the changes thrust on us by the pandemic have created new opportunities and new business models. For example, at-home care and telehealth have seen explosive growth with device-enabled workflows. However, the recovery and re-conditioning of devices for the next customer user can require similarly manual workflows.

With IT professionals continuing to support teams with dynamically changing work needs, these new device-related challenges are a counter-pressure toward the evolution of more lightweight and nimble support organizations.

Responding to the needs of our customers, All Covered has developed an array of solutions for a world with many more remote workers. Among these are a set of close-to-the-device services that can be customized to suit your organization’s needs. All Covered does not treat managed device services as a “tacked-on” activity. We have a practice dedicated entirely to device services with a team that works out of our 25,000 square foot national configuration center.

Windows, Apple, or Chrome—desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone—we can handle the entirety of device lifecycle for our customers. For organizations undertaking periodic fleet refresh projects, we can handle a scaled deployment including inventory, asset tagging, provisioning, and delivery.

Some models being taken advantage of by our lifecycle customers include:

  • Work-from-home support agents around the U.S. use a program kit, including a computer, display, and peripherals. All Covered handles high-turnover recovery, repair, re-provisioning, inventory, pool storage, e-waste, packaging and kitting, and device case management.
  • Hybrid workforce healthcare provider offers at-home nursing with each practitioner receiving a PC, mobile phone and Android tablet in support of the organization’s healthcare mission across 30 locations around the U.S. All Covered acts as a central device service depot, providing full lifecycle services for PCs, Android tablets, iPads, Macs and phones. Services include on-demand order handling including device enrollment, configuration, package design, kitting, and shipping as well as recovery, cleaning and re-configuration.
  • E-commerce companies stepping away from all brick-and-mortar facilities and moving entirely to a remote work model relies on All Covered to support end-to-end device lifecycle from deployment to end-of-life asset disposition.

To learn more about the services All Covered can offer, please contact your sales consultant today or visit us online.

Dean Norton
Director of Service Delivery, Macpros Practice, All Covered