Having the flexibility to work from home is fantastic – that is, until someone knocks at the front door mid – meeting, and your dog is going bananas. Or, when your neighbour decides it the perfect time to catch up on home improvement projects and starts sanding their deck! Whether remote working was completely new to you, or something that was previously an occasional concession, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever return to pre-COVID business practices. The freedom to work productively from everywhere has quickly become a standard component of The Modern Workplace.
However, according to Forrester research, approximately 30% of us are not as productive working from home1. As we reach the other side of this pandemic, how can we establish habits and adopt technologies to ensure productivity levels, regardless of location?
I’ve compiled several of HP’s latest collaboration features and a few tips that help me remain focused on the task in hand.
This may be obvious, but it’s too important to ignore: have a place that’s specifically for work. It helps me ensure productivity, stay focused and get into the right frame of mind.
It’s a good idea to upsize the components you interact with the most – your screen, keyboard and mouse. My home set up includes a HP S340c 34″ curved monitor and HP Thunderbolt Dock G2. Once you get the curved monitor there’s no going back! It’s what I miss the most when I plug into my flat screen at the office. I also love a bit of kit that can multi-task – with one twist my HP Elite mouse becomes a virtual laser pointer – great for presentations.
Also pictured below is my HP Dragonfly laptop and my loyal WFH assistant – Meelo the cat.
If you anticipate regularly rotating between two working locations, i.e. the office and your home office, and want to streamline what you lug around, I strongly recommend using docking stations. A dedicated docking station allows you to say goodbye to the tangle of cables you need to power your laptop and connect to screens and USB devices. Simply plug in, and you’re ready to get to work.
The dock I use in my home office is fitted with an audio module. With all my meetings moving online this has been a useful feature to enable audio conferencing at my desk, as well as an easy way to answer or mute calls with its top-mounted touch controls.
There are lots of great collaboration software platforms that allow you to communicate, collaborate and connect with your teams, business partners and suppliers. Regardless of the platform you use, few things are more annoying than not being able to see or hear someone during online meetings. Whilst we can’t necessarily control bandwidth issues, HP’s high-quality video and audio features will ensure your kit won’t let you down.
Background noise can be very distracting for everyone – one really cool feature is HP’s World Facing Mic which can block out background noise in individual mode, or enhance the 360 degree sound experience when in conference mode. Whether you are at home, in an office or a café, this feature can enhance your meeting experience.
The HP collaboration keyboard allows you to answer and mute calls from your keyboard quickly – which is very useful when I need to scold my WFH assistant for scratching the couch! Another useful shortcut is screen sharing: Instead of searching through menu options, simply press the monitor screen button (next to F12).
Working remotely has removed access to the office printer. For organisations still reliant on paper-based processes, this is a major stumbling block. If paperwork is still part of your business or learning processes you may want to look at accelerating digital transformation programs. For example, replacing signing and scanning forms using digital inking technology and HP’s stylus pens.
Some organisations need to have physical paperwork for compliance reasons. The humble home printer has come a long way, however it can be used as an entry point to your network so it’s an important security consideration. My colleague elaborates more on this topic in his blog: Solving the print problem now your workforce is remote.
When it comes to my own printing at home, I rely on the HP Smart App. It allows me to edit, print, scan and share files from my phone or laptop, as well as showing my ink levels, printer settings etc This free app works with almost all HP home printers.
One of the most pressing issues for IT teams is protecting our newly dynamic working environments from security threats. There are many security systems and solutions out there, and it’s not a topic for this blog. However there are a couple of HP inbuilt security features worth noting.
Not all security threats are digital. All newer HP laptops incorporate the HP Sure View integrated privacy screen to protect against curious glances. This reduces the viewing angle of the screen so you can only effectively view from the front – the screen will appear dark to those around you. This is perfect if you need to work in transit.
Even switched-on IT professionals are vulnerable to Malware attacks. On average, people receive an average of 16 malevolent emails every month2 so it’s good to know all HP machines now come with extra layers of security built in. HP Sure Click technology effectively isolates browsing sessions or email attachments with a virtualisation layer, so when you close your browser window or document, the threat is eliminated.
Even if a malicious attack were to get through the first layers of defence, I have the confidence that I can work securely with HP Sure Sense running in the background. This is an AI-based malware defence solution harnessing deep learning to protect against never-before-seen attacks.
The silver lining of this whole experience is that flexible working practices are here to stay. It’s never been more important to ensure you have the right setup so you can be as productive at home as you are in the office. If you’d like to learn more about any home office or print solutions, please get in touch with your account manager or contact me today.
1. How Australian Employees Feel About Covid-19: Forrester’s PandemicEX Survey Available [Online]: https://go.forrester.com/blogs/how-australian-employees-feel-about-covid-19-forresters-pandemicex-survey/
2. Symantec, “Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Volume 23”, March 2018; Page 67. Available [Online]: https://docs.broadcom.com/doc/istr-23-2018-en