With more and more businesses choosing to adopt hybrid working styles, it’s likely that the commute into the office five days a week, may never return.
We’ve all had an opportunity to experience first-hand the positives associated with flexible working; the extra time in the morning to work-out, the gap between meetings to put on a load of washing, and of course, the extra time spent with loved ones. Now, as the country begins to open up a little, we’re at a stage where we have to weigh up the pros and cons of our new normal and the traditional office environment.
No matter where they choose to work, employees should be armed with the ultimate office experience. According to a recent HP survey, 68% of office workers now rely on their PC more than they ever did pre-pandemic, unsurprisingly. Therefore, functions that were once a ‘nice to have’ such as screen size and camera quality, are now absolute must haves so we can stay connected, collaborative and secure. Here are five features that have become essential from your PC, regardless of where you choose to work.
Flexibility is king
Many of us have been spoiled with flexibility in the way we work over the past year, as we’re able to work from home, or anywhere in the country. But are our computers able to offer the same flexibility? PCs today should offer seamless adaptability whether you want to take your 3pm meeting in your garden during the fleeting window of sunshine or turn your laptop in to a tablet to sketch out your brainwave.
Since we’re no longer bound to a desk, our devices should be agile and respond to our needs on-demand, wherever we’re working. Features like HP’s Fast Charge battery which provides up to 50% battery after just 30 minutes of charging, allows you to work away from your desk without the fear of running out of charge. The HP Elite Book x2 G8 is one of HP’s smallest and lightest laptops, meaning it won’t weigh down your lap if you shamelessly decide to migrate from your desk to the sofa.
The HP EliteBook x360 1030/1040 G8s are also two of HP’s most flexible devices and can transform to the workstyle of choice. Offering both the power of a PC and agility of a tablet, they can be used both as a traditional laptop with a keyboard or, once the screen is folded back, as a tablet, giving users the chance to hotdesk or present work to clients from wherever they please (and is great to keep your kids entertained after a long day of zoom meetings).
Avoiding ‘oh I think we’ve lost you’
We’ve all been on a zoom call when someone has dodgy internet, awkwardly waiting until they unfreeze whilst assuring everyone your internet is fine. With video conferencing here to stay, we need our PCs to have strong connections that will link up to WiFi anywhere. WiFi 6, the new age of wireless connectivity hopes to say goodbye to awkward latency, promises faster upload and download speeds and the ability to share a single connection with an increasing number of devices.
We are also seeing the infamous rise of 5G, which allows PCs with built-in cellular modems the ability to remain connected whilst on the move, a very futuristic thought. Having the ability to seamlessly switch between WiFi and 5G will benefit those micro-movements around the house and what’s more, enhance your ability to multitask whilst on calls. Whether it’s getting your steps up or making a cup of tea, you’ll have the freedom to enter the dodgy-wifi zone that is your kitchen, knowing your device will switch to cellular mode to avoid the dreaded ‘I think we’ve lost you’ ringing through your ears.
When looking for PCs for your business, fast and reliable connectivity that supports WiFi 6 and 5G wireless broadband technology, like those in the HP EliteBook x360 1030 and 1040 are a must. So, no more having to turn your camera off improve audio quality. What’s more, with HP Quick Drop, you can wirelessly transfer files, photos and links between devices, meaning you can stay connected to your tasks, wherever you choose to work.
Keeping your info under lock and key
Previously, a PC’s security was often built on the assumption that businesses operate from an office. We know that’s no longer the case, as employees increasingly have the option to work wherever they like. As workforces are managed remotely, the majority of security tools designed for on-premise usage are no longer making the cut.
Home and public networks can increase a PC’s vulnerability to attacks, not to mention the personal gaming, shopping and streaming use. Therefore, upping a PC’s security features has never been more important. Screen-lock timers, complex passwords, facial recognition and multifactor authentication are all added security tools and layers of encryption that SMBs can implement to protect their devices.
HP EliteBooks are engineered with hardened security features to protect, detect and recover from attacks. They include hardware-enforced security features, in and above the OS to proactively prevent threats and quickly recover stolen files. So, you can rest easy at night, even if your son has been trying to ‘stream Harry Potter for free’ online.
Say goodbye to background chatter
Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean that your environment is quiet. Something we know all too well to be true with home schooling madness and coordinated housemate breaks in your ‘office’ area (see: the kitchen table). In fact, according to HP’s research, only 29% have a home office where they can shut the door and not be disturbed.
It’s therefore a very welcome innovation that PCs are beginning to address this ambient noise and come equipped with algorithms that can continuously filter out disturbances, wherever one chooses to work.
For example, HP has equipped its latest business PCs with built-in noise reduction, meaning external noises are filtered out, allowing videoconferences to feel more like face-to-face meetings. HP Dynamic Audio is an AI-based audio experience that tunes output to speech and music, all whilst suppressing background noises.
In the not-too-distant future, we may see PCs create sound ‘bubbles’ around the user’s head, meaning speakers would only radiate sound that is around a user’s ears, whilst blocking out any noise that’s further away in the background.
Lights, camera, action!
A year ago, when we were first told to all work from home, webcams went from being a mundane computer add-on to a gold dust accessory that would transform your bedroom into a boardroom. We soon learnt however that some built-in PC webcams were not doing our bad hair days any justice, and staring at our colleagues’ over-exposed, grainy faces made our phone cameras seem like a DLSR.
As we’re going to be embracing videoconferencing for a little while longer, PC webcams should be of high-resolution and have features such as autofocus and a high frame rate, so to mimic face-to-face interactions and enhance the experience of connecting with colleagues. All HP EliteBooks are integrated with a Full-HD camera that provides excellent image clarity, allowing you to truly engage with those all-important facial expressions as you present a new business pitch or understand how well your joke went down…
Although some of these features seem futuristic, they’re what businesses should be thinking about as we adapt to this ‘new normal’ way of working.