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 organisations 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 sanitised, 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.

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 minimise disruption to your business and employees. You can also get in touch with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products ease your organisation’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

Continue Reading

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.

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.


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/

Continue Reading

We Go Above and Beyond for You

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, even if that extra mile is a walk across tiny interlocking toys! 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, USA

“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, USA

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 as quickly as possible—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, USA

“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, USA

We Bring you Peace of Mind

From our 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 backed by a lifetime warranty. 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, USA

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.

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. 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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

LocknCharge Sponsors BETT 2020

BETT_H

LocknCharge is pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at BETT 2020 again this year, which will mark 5+ years of significant participation at the event. BETT is Europe’s leading education-focused trade show and aims to create a better future by transforming education and bringing together over 800 leading companies and over 34,000 visitors. The show will be taking place 22nd-25th Jan at Excel London. LocknCharge will be showcasing a complete line-up of innovative mobile device charging solutions on Stand SQ50, including our newest IoT-connected charging locker - FUYL Tower 5.

This year we will have our biggest presence at BETT to date. The product lineup in our stand features iOT-connect charging towers/lockers, iPad and tablet charging stations, and a wide range of universal charging stations and carts. During a hands-on demo at the show, you can expect to experience the most unique and thoughtful products offered in the mobile device charging solution space. Top-loading carts, high-quality components, LED lights, ultra-mobile designs, compact solutions, lifetime warranties and much more can b seen at our stand. We take great pride in our excellent customer service, which always puts the customer first. Our customers are our partners–and by working hand-in-hand, we’re able to provide the best solution for each customer’s unique needs.

While visiting our stand, we encourage you to discuss some of your biggest tech challenges with us. Whether it be going green in the classroom, protecting devices from theft or data breaches, extending tight budgets further, improving student engagement, managing broken or forgotten devices, keeping IT Teams and Teachers happy or giving teachers back up to two weeks of class time, LocknCharge has proven solutions that will help you accomplish your big-picture goals.

We are thrilled to be offering BETT attendees the first view of our newest product, the FUYL Tower 5, an intelligent charging locker that charges, stores, secures and manages assets for mobile devices in 5 individually-lockable compartments. The FUYL Tower 5 and 15 eliminate many of the manual processes for grab & go, check in/check out, break/fix or any other shared device program. Streamlining this process will save your IT Team, teachers and students considerable time every year. The Towers can also provide secure, on-demand charging that’s open to students and teachers to securely charge their laptops, tablets and phones throughout a school day–which is why in addition to sponsoring a stand, we will also be providing public charging to all BETT attendees in 9 locations throughout the facility via our FUYL Tower 15.

So, come and chat with us at Stand SQ50 to see our latest products, receive a demo and learn how we help you can increase teaching time and productivity.

Continue Reading