4 Ways to Ease the Transition to a Remote Workforce

Right now, like most businesses, you’re likely preparing for employees to work remotely in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation. We understand that this transition involves more than flipping a switch. That’s why we’ve identified these tips and tools to help organizations better manage newly remote workers.

1.   Ensure Effective Communication

Effective communication is critical when shifting from on-site to remote work. Harvard Business Review recommends managers take the following steps to improve engagement and productivity of telecommuting employees:

  • Schedule Structured Daily Check-ins – This can be a series of one-on-one calls or a team call. What’s most important is that these check-ins are regular and predictable.
  • Provide More Than One Communication Technology Option – Don’t rely on email alone. Video conferencing has advantages for complex conversations, while mobile-enabled individual messaging is excellent for quick collaboration.
  • Establish Communication Norms – Regardless of the technology method, it’s crucial to set expectations for frequency, means and ideal timing of communication. For example, “We use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings, but we use IM when something is urgent.”[i]
  • “WXYZ” Action Items – WXYZ essentially means to provide those last few details of exactly what’s expected, why and when. Be sure to include things such as: I expect the following deliverable, for this reasons by this date. So for example, you might say: “Can you please review the attached document by close of business today so that I have time to print copies for the board to review during their meeting tomorrow. That extra bit of communication will ensure 100% clarity to everyone collaborating on a project.

2.   Address Technology Needs and Security Risks

A telecommuting staff creates unique challenges for your IT team members as they take on more responsibilities than ever before with fewer resources. Here are three best practices for transitioning employees to work remotely, while helping them stay secure:

  • Conduct a Survey – After you’ve determined who will be working remotely, survey those employees to find out if they have the tools required to work from home. Do they have an available laptop, mobile phone, and access to high-speed internet? Do they need software installed to do their jobs and communicate with other employees?
  • Keep Devices Up to Date – Software updates are patches that often fix security holes. If you want to prevent malicious attacks by shutting the door malware uses to exploit loopholes, it’s critical to keep devices and laptops updated with the latest version of operating software, security software and applications.
  • Educate staff on cybersecurity – Don’t assume staff members automatically understand how to handle the enormous responsibility of accessing company data. Educate your employees on how to access information responsibly, and instruct them on any “emerging threats tied to the COVID-19 coronavirus, including new phishing attacks and attempts to steal VPN credentials,” recommends Forbes.[ii]

3.   Deploy a Zero-Touch Model for Maintaining Mobile Devices

LocknCharge can help facilitate a zero-touch model for deploying and maintaining mobile devices for your staff, ensuring continual access to a ready-to-go device used for employees working from home. The FUYL Tower can help manage devices in these cases:

  • Deploying Devices– For employees who do not currently have a device but need access to one, IT teams can provide access to tablets and laptops without any physical interaction via a FUYL Tower 5 or 15.
  • Loaner/Break-Fix Devices– If employees currently have a company-owned device at home, but the device breaks or is lost, IT teams can easily swap the broken device or provide a replacement without any physical contact via a FUYL Tower 5 or 15.

Here’s how to maintain a zero-touch model for maintaining mobile devices with the FUYL Tower:

  • Choose an accessible location at your facility to place one or more FUYL Tower 5 or 15s.
  • Stock the Tower with sanitized, ready-to-go devices.
  • When an employee needs a device, IT teams can digitally provide them with a 4-digit PIN code to access an individual compartment of the FUYL Tower.
  • IT teams can then retrieve broken devices and/or restock the Tower with new devices as needed.
  • With the robust online management portal, IT admins can manage towers remotely. They can track the activity of the Tower to know when the compartment was accessed, reset PINs, open doors, or quarantine doors—all done remotely without any physical contact.
  • Beyond the setbacks caused by the Coronavirus epidemic, Towers can continue to eliminate many of the manual processes associated with deploying devices, loaner device programs, break/fix programs or individual public charging for years to come.

The quickest and easiest way to get a FUYL Tower into your organization is to buy from Amazon. Your FUYL Tower should arrive within a week.

4.   Keep Company Culture Alive

  • Check in with your coworkers, even if it’s something as simple as wishing them a good morning. Remote working can be isolating, so keeping up with regular conversation is a great way to stay positive.
  • If you hold social activities during or after work hours, keep those activities alive. For example, LocknCharge gathers in the office for “Beer Friday” every Friday afternoon. During this time of office closures, we will continue that tradition, but we’ll do it virtually via a video conference call.

In these extraordinary circumstances, our team remains committed to assisting you in managing your mobile devices to help minimize disruption to your business and employees. You can also schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products ease your organization’s transition to a remote workforce.


Sources

[i] A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers – Harvard Business Review

[ii] Checklist For Companies With Remote Employees Due To COVID-19 – Forbes

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3 Ways to Facilitate Distance Learning During School Closures

Right now, like most education providers, you’re likely ramping up digital training and distance learning in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation. We understand that this transition involves more than flipping a switch. That’s why we’ve identified three tips and tools to help you facilitate and sustain distance learning.

1.   Address Potential Technological Barriers

School districts need to consider if their student population has access to devices and reliable internet access before they go entirely digital. As technology integration specialist Kara Wilkins offers, “Best practice suggests we offer students a mix of digital and analog tasks to complete in order to ensure all students have access to the activities and curriculum.”[i]

The Center for American Progress recommends prioritizing equity at the center of a school’s response when focusing on continued educational activities during school closures. One way to accomplish this is by surveying families and staff to learn vital information about what technological devices and internet access they have available. Survey responses on potential technology barriers can inform plans about the following:

  • Prioritizing how to make devices and mobile broadband access points available to families.
  • Identifying which students would most benefit from access to nondigital resources such as printed assignments and library books.
  • Facilitating connections between families to support one another during school closures.[ii]
2.   Create a Plan to Ensure Effective Communication

Effective communication is critical to students learning as much from remote technological methods as they do from in-person teaching. Communicating with students online may require more thought and planning than communicating with students in a face-to-face environment. In the book Humanizing Online Teaching and Learning, Sandra Mitchell-Holder recommends including the following in your distance learning communication plan:

  • Methods you will use to communicate with your online students such as email, announcements, messages, video messages, video conferencing, or even phone calls. It is also equally crucial for you to tell your students which methods you plan to use to contact them so that they know where to look for your communications.
  • How often you will communicate with your students. Will it be bi-weekly, weekly, or once a day? Note that consistent, informative contact with students is essential.
  • How do you want your students to communicate with you? Whatever your preferred method of contact, make sure that you clearly communicate so your students know how to contact you.
  • Which communications method will you use for the different types of communications to your students? You may have a different approach for sending the day’s assignments versus providing students with timely feedback on course projects.[iii]
3.   Deploy a Zero-Touch Model for Maintaining Mobile Devices

LocknCharge can help facilitate a zero-touch model for deploying and maintaining mobile devices for your students and faculty, ensuring continual access to a ready-to-go device used for remote learning. The FUYL Tower can help manage devices in these cases during a school closure:

  • Deploying Devices– For students and faculty who do not currently have a device but need access to one, IT teams can provide access to tablets and laptops without any physical interaction via a FUYL Tower 5 or 15.
  • Loaner/Break-Fix Devices– If students and faculty currently have a device at home, but the device breaks or is lost, IT teams can easily swap the broken device or provide a replacement without any physical contact via a FUYL Tower 5 or 15.
  • Individual Overnight Charging– For students who are unable to charge their devices while away from school, such as students with housing insecurity, the FUYL Tower offers a secure location to safely store and charge devices overnight.

The quickest and easiest way to get a FUYL Tower into your schools is to buy from Amazon. Your FUYL Tower should arrive within a week.

Here’s how to maintain a zero-touch model for maintaining mobile devices with the FUYL Tower:

  • Choose an accessible location at your facility to place one or more FUYL Tower 5 or 15s
  • Stock the Tower with sanitized, ready-to-go devices.
  • When a student or faculty member needs a device, IT teams can digitally provide them with a 4-digit PIN code to access an individual compartment of the FUYL Tower.
  • IT teams can then retrieve broken devices and/or restock the Tower with new devices as needed.
  • With the robust online management portal, IT admins can manage towers remotely. They can track the activity of the Tower to know when the compartment was accessed, reset PINs, open doors, or quarantine doors–all done remotely without any physical contact.
  • Beyond the setbacks caused by the Coronavirus epidemic, Towers can continue to eliminate many of the manual processes associated with deploying devices, loaner device programs, break/fix programs or individual public charging for years to come.

In these extraordinary circumstances, our team remains committed to assisting you in managing your mobile devices to help minimize disruption to your staff and students. You can also schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products help facilitate distance learning.


Sources:

[i] Distance Learning Tips From One Teacher to Another – PBS Education

[ii] How K-12 Schools Should Prepare for Coronavirus – Center for American Progress

[iii] Kilgore, Whitney, Humanizing Online Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from: https://humanmooc.pressbooks.com/

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A Quick Word from LocknCharge CEO, James Symons

James Symons, CEO of LocknCharge, is here to fill you in on what's happening at LocknCharge as we head into 2020...

First, we have some new products and services coming out this year. So be sure to stay tuned throughout 2020 as we make those announcements to the public.

Second, our customers have spoken out time and time again about our exceptional customer service. We are REALLY proud of our Net Promoter Score for Customer Support of 97, which competes with some of the largest tech giants in the world.

Next, for those interested in our products, we highly recommend joining us for a product demo. You're welcome to stop by any of or demo rooms around the world, or we can come to you via the internet through a live video demonstration. We're happy to walk you through all the features and benefits of our products and how they will make your life easier for you in your environment.

Last, thank you for all of your support regarding the bush fires in Australia. Thankfully, the cities that LocknCharge operates in have been largely unaffected.

We hope 2020 is a fantastic year for all of you.

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How to Raise Your School’s Infrastructure Grade with a Low-Cost Charging Solution

Teens in school hallway next to FUYL Tower

Three out of four U.S. students now use smartphones as educational aides in the classroom.[1] More than half of K-12 teachers report the use of edtech solutions, including laptop computers and tablets in a typical week.[2] That means tens of millions of electronic devices are losing their charge throughout schools every day. The obvious solution is to plug those devices into an outlet when they’re need of recharging. However, if you’ve spent any time in an airport with your phone’s battery on one percent, you know that not all buildings are outfitted with enough outlets to serve our growing demand for power. The technology infrastructure in schools is no different. Most classrooms average more than twenty students; it’s highly unlikely there’s an available outlet for each student, not to mention one for teachers, aides and other support staff.

“You don’t always think about charging as a problem until you see the things students do to charge their devices throughout the day. Kids were leaving devices wherever there was an open outlet. At one point, an outlet in the cafeteria was being used so frequently that it disrupted the lunch line.”

Kim Bannigan - Deforest Area School Distrcit

Kim Bannigan, a learning information systems coordinator at DeForest Area School District, is all too familiar with this issue. “You don’t always think about charging as a problem until you see the things students do to charge their devices throughout the day,” she explains. “Kids were leaving devices wherever there was an open outlet. At one point, an outlet in the cafeteria was being used so frequently that it disrupted the lunch line.”

In addition to outlets being hard to come by in schools, they also don’t protect against breakage or theft. As you can imagine, a school’s cafeteria is not the safest spot to store a device.

School Infrastructure Report Card

The next obvious solution to meet the charging needs of students and their devices is to install additional outlets. But infrastructure updates are costly, and education funding is often limited. In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave public schools a D+ in its annual infrastructure report card and estimated that the cost to bring all U.S. schools into better condition would be approximately $200 billion.[3] With the average cost of adding a new electric outlet at around $350, additional outlets may not be the highest priority when more than half of schools need to invest in repairs, renovations and modernizations to even be considered in ‘good’ condition. [4],[5]

One Low-Cost Step towards Modernization

A wide range of creative ideas is required to tackle the enormous task of modernizing schools. Deploying on-demand, centralized and secure charging towers is an innovative smart classroom management solution that will get your school one step closer to improving its infrastructure grade. Charging towers and charging carts offer modern convenience without expensive facilities updates, bringing your school into the 21st century at a low cost. Check out these seven benefits of secure charging towers for schools:

  1. Save money on infrastructure updates: Eliminate the need for new outlets. An optional pedestal for the Putnam 18 Tower allows you to charge 36 Chromebook, small laptop or tablet devices in two stacked charging stations with one outlet plug.
  2. Prevent electrical overload: Finding a spot to charge tens, hundreds, or even thousands of devices at once can be daunting. It can also put a severe strain on an outdated school building’s electrical capabilities. Our solutions are equipped with an ECO Safe Charge, so you won’t have to worry about electrical overload while charging multiple devices at one outlet.
  3. Safely store devices: Because students have their own code to access LocknCharge towers, they’re more secure than a regular locker, a classroom and especially a cafeteria.
  4. Secure Charging on Demand. FUYL Towers can be stationed in open areas where they’re needed most – library media centers, hallways, lunchrooms, etc. Even when they’re deployed in public spaces, nobody has to watch them. Devices can be accessed anytime students need them, such as during passing times, lunch, or before or after school.
  5. Reduce BYOD challenges: One of the biggest challenges of a “bring your own device” program is students leaving their device at home. Students are notorious for being forgetful. The distractions that come from a forgotten device have the potential to halt or alter your class for the entire day, not to mention putting students a day behind in classwork. No more “I left my laptop at home” excuses.
  6. Keep devices charged: Guess what, those forgetful students are probably not going to remember to charge their laptops and tablets before class. Similar to showing up with no device, a dead device has the same capacity to disrupt learning time.
  7. Cut additional expenses: While charging solutions may account for a significant portion of a school’s mobile device budget, your school will save time and costs if you don’t need to replace your charging solutions every time you roll out new mobile devices. We call this concept “future-proof charging.” Future-proof charging solutions grow and adapt along with technological innovation and combine universal charging, open-concept designs and durable products to save schools money.

All students and teachers deserve schools that are modernized and capable of supporting the latest education programming. Contact LocknCharge, and we’ll help you design a proactive solution for your infrastructure challenges.


[1] Global Education Census Report – Cambridge Assessment International Education

[2] 2016 Digital Education Survey – Deloitte

[3] 2017 Infrastructure Report Card – American Society of Civil Engineers

[4] How Much Does It Cost To Install An Electrical Outlet? – ImproveNet

[5] 2017 Infrastructure Report Card – American Society of Civil Engineers

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We Go Above and Beyond for You

IMG_0581-Web

At LocknCharge we think of you as more than just a customer, you’re family. We pride ourselves in treating you like we treat our own families, with care, attention and thoughtfulness. That means we’ll always go the extra mile for you. Here are some other ways we show how much we care:

We Build High-Quality, Long-Lasting Products

Our customers deserve products to be thoroughly tested and built to withstand heavy usage. Our design and manufacturing process ensures that our products meet the highest standards. Manufacturing facilities employ robust procedures to ensure that customers are getting a high-quality product that’s made to last. That’s why LocknCharge products are built in ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturing facilities.

“Supporting your product has been a breeze. Give my thanks to the team for being a great product with awesome support!” – Chris from Carlsbad, CA

"I have recommended LocknCharge to several people now based on my experience with you. Thanks for the great support and really nice product." – Matt, EdTech Network Administrator from CO

We Deliver Exceptional Customer Service and Support

It’s no secret that our widespread customer success is due in large part to our customer service staff. LocknCharge focuses on hiring extraordinary people who strive to do what’s best for the customer while also being extremely easy to work with, and fun too! They’re our expert problem solvers, providing the right answers to your inquiries in 48 hours or less—sometimes before you even know what questions to ask. They’re passionate about our products and know them inside and out. They’ll conduct research, proactively inquire and follow up, making sure our customers are always satisfied. It’s the reason they receive countless thank you emails covered in exclamation points.

Because we take the time to stay in touch, we get to know many of our customers on a very personal level. We don’t just care about how your LocknCharge products are working. We also care about your son’s playoff soccer game last weekend and how your new adorable puppy is fitting in with the family. We just have one expectation in return. Pictures! Send us lots of pictures!

“We’ve been a customer with LocknCharge for the past four years, and our customer experience has been incomparable to any other company. Willingness to work, flexibility, and always caring for the customer, LocknCharge is one of our valued strategic partners when it comes to the success of our students.” – Israel Oliveros from Coachella Valley Unified School District, CA

"Thank you so much. If I had known it was this simple, I would have contacted you long ago." – Carole, In School Intervention Program/Special Education from Texas

We Bring you Peace of Mind

From our Magical Unicorn Lifetime Warranty to our extremely secure solutions, you can rely on us to protect your devices and the data that’s on them. Our Carrier™ Charging Stations are made with high-quality welded steel and come with stainless steel locks and keys. An optional anchor kit locks the whole Joey™ Charging Cart to the floor or wall with a heavy-duty chain and keyed lock. And a built-in mechanical combination lock makes our Putnam™ 18 Tower charging station ultra-secure.

In addition, all of our products are now fully backed by a lifetime warranty on the main frame, electrical and all other components.* It’s a one-of-a-kind guarantee that’s as unique as a magical unicorn. This security gives CTOs, teachers and administrators peace of mind so that they can focus on what’s essential—giving students the best education.

“As a CTO for a school district, LocknCharge has really brought us peace of mind. We’ve had a couple of break-ins at school sites, but the best that they’ve been able to do is touch the cart and a couple of wires. No iPads have ever been stolen out of a LocknCharge cart. As the person in charge of 20,000 iPads in our school district, we feel peace of mind and safety and security with these carts in particular. We love them!” – Michelle Murphy, CTO Executive Director of Technology Services, Coachella Unified School District, CA

We’re dedicated to going above and beyond for you.

Everyone at LocknCharge is consistently focused on what matters to you. We each share a common philosophy that the customer comes first. Here are some examples of how we strive to go above and beyond for you.

“As a former teacher, I can understand the frustrations that go on in a classroom. I’m able to identify ways that LocknCharge can alleviate many of the struggles teachers face – and give them back the most important thing they need more of…time. I truly believe our solutions can improve efficiency in the classroom, which helps all aspects of a child’s education.”

– Courtney White, LocknCharge Customer Success Manager

“I love that we can be different. We treat our accounts like family. We know them well, so they’ll ask us things like, ‘how are your kids doing?’”

– Jason Zelhofer, LocknCharge Warranty and Customer Support Manager

“No matter who answers the phone or what the issue is, everyone at LocknCharge is willing to assist.”

– Amy Perkel, LocknCharge Customer Success Manager

“Every time I am with a customer or partner, I interact the same way I would with my best friends or family. I want customers to experience an authentic view of who I am and the company I represent–that we are a people-first organization, and we care about others. I want people to feel as comfortable talking about mobile deployments with us as they are talking about anything else that is on their mind. It’s that freedom to be who we all really are that lets our new ideas soar for someone’s organization and even for our own organization."

– Stephanie Gassen  Global Vice President of Marketing & Americas K12 Sales Director

“I’m always willing to make time and show a sense of urgency for our customers. One year, I spent my birthday out of state with one of my favorite customers. On another occasion, I remember exchanging text messages with a customer while my four-year-old rode my shoulders at the Wisconsin State Fair. I’ve even shared tips with a customer to help relieve their baby of gas pain–because it takes a village.”

– Kyle Jacobson, LocknCharge Channel Manager

“Finding solutions to other people’s problems gives me real satisfaction. Getting to the real root of the issue is the most challenging part, but it’s also the most rewarding. And in an industry where everything is quantified and analyzed, LocknCharge looks beyond statistics to define their employees’ success. We’re measured on making customers happy,”

– Kevin Rezac, LocknCharge Technical Customer Service & Warranty Associate

“LocknCharge gives us a lot of autonomy to always make it right for the customer.”

– Chris Ledbetter, Technical Customer Service & Warranty Associate

“Finding the right solution can be challenging, but you can be sure that we will take the time to talk through every option to find one that fits best.”

– Tyler Oren, LocknCharge Account Manager

“Our partnerships aren’t just something that we use once and toss out. These relationships really do resemble a family. That’s why I am always asking what I can be doing to make our partners’ jobs easier. A small extra step for me could save them a lot of time, so it’s totally worth it in the large scheme of things.”

– Mark Cochran, LocknCharge Sales Operations Specialist

Do you have a brother you can always depend on to give you a ride to the airport? Or a cousin who brings those delicious pies to a holiday dinner year after year? What about a father who tells dad jokes that are so corny you just have to laugh? We’d like you to think of us as another dependable member of the family. You can rely on us in tough situations to make your life easier and bring a smile to your face to brighten your day.

*Click here for full warranty details.

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