Healthy Devices, Healthy Employees: 5 Tips for a Safe Return to Work

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Is your organization preparing for remote employees to return to the office? Keep in mind, when your team members come back, so do their contaminated laptops, tablets and phones. Streptococcus, MRSA and E. coli have all been found lurking on devices. Nonporous surfaces like smartphone screens can also make them a perfect environment for the coronavirus.

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to have infection control policies, procedures and training in place. You must also provide infection control supplies. If an organization doesn’t take reasonable steps to protect employees, it could be held liable for a coronavirus transmission in the workplace.

As you create a plan for a safe return to work environment, it’s essential to include steps to mitigate the risks of maintaining and sharing devices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re here to help with five tips to reduce the spread of smartphone bacteria and infections by improving sanitization and limiting physical interactions.

The more layers of effective interventions that are implemented, the less likely your business will contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
—Cleveland Clinic
Tip 1: Clean Your Hands and Your Devices

No single tactic for keeping employees safe is 100% effective, advises the Cleveland Clinic. However, multiple layers of effective interventions serve as safeguards when used together. “The more layers of effective interventions that are implemented, the less likely your business will contribute to the spread of COVID-19.” In addition to masks, social distancing, routine cleaning and frequent handwashing, device sanitization can reduce infection risk and increase workplace device safety.

By touching a contaminated surface, then texting and making calls, your phone can become a culprit for spreading infection. By lowering germs on surfaces through proper sanitization methods, you’ll break free from the endless loop of cross-contamination.

While alcohol-based wipes will disinfect touch screens, they take upwards of three minutes to be effective. The UVone™ UV-C Disinfection Station is a better way to disinfect touchscreens because it works in just 30 seconds—six times quicker than traditional wipes. UV-C light also disinfects in a consistent manner, making it more reliable and efficient than wipes. Plus, it is the perfect zero touch solution to ensure technology cleanliness and does not degrade the integrity of devices over time.

Tip 2: Create an Overnight Charging Location for Shared Devices

Recently, the Little Friends® nonprofit agency transitioned back to in-person schooling at its new facility. With staff and students’ health and safety in mind, plexiglass partitions were installed, social distancing and mask protocols were adopted, and a nightly cleaning schedule was implemented. In addition to these mitigation measures, the administrators sought a way to give parents the assurance that shared iPad devices were routinely sanitized. They also needed a comprehensive strategy for charging, storing and securing shared iPad devices.

The decision was made to mount a UVone next to a Carrier™ 10 Charging Station in each classroom so that devices can be quickly sanitized before storing and charging overnight. This overnight charging solution goes beyond a school setting to fit into any work environment.

If your employees share tablets or hand-held devices, a designated overnight charging location in your office gives everyone peace of mind. Your staff will know that their shared devices are disinfected and fully charged at the start of each shift. You’ll have the confidence that company devices are stored securely and not at risk for costly data breaches.

Tip 3: Deploy a Zero-Touch Model for Maintaining Mobile Devices 

Maintaining social distancing protocols is challenging when broken equipment needs to be exchanged and new equipment distributed. One way to make office-based employment safer is through contactless device distribution. Here are just three of the ways FUYL Towers can eliminate physical interactions between IT teams and employees. Start by choosing an accessible location at your facility to place one or more FUYL Tower 5 or 15 stocked with sanitized, ready-to-go devices, then:

  • Deploy devices
    For employees who need a new device, provide easy access to tablets and laptops.
  • Provide Loaner/Break-Fix Devices
    For employees who need to exchange a broken device or check out a loaner, easily swap the failed device or provide a replacement.
  • Distribute Other Essential Equipment

For employees who need more than just a laptop to perform their jobs, simplify the distribution of tools, paperwork, lost cables and more.

Tip 4: Don't Forget Your Remote Workforce 

Despite many schools and offices reopening, the remote workforce is not going away in a post-Covid world. Recent forecasts estimate at least 25% of employees will continue to work from home multiple days a week. If your staff is fully or partly remote, technology mishaps are bound to happen at home or as they’re lugging devices to and from the office. Not to mention the increase in forgotten charging cords, power supplies and other vital equipment.

When nearly 20% of mobile devices break or go missing each year, the burden usually falls on IT staff. These responsibilities drain your tech team’s time, and broken devices add significant downtime for employees who can’t work.

Have you ever asked yourself just how much time your IT department wastes physically running around gathering and replacing broken devices or supplying cables? By centralizing and automating your time-wasting manual break/fix program with a smart charging locker, you could save hundreds of hours a year. A FUYL Tower 5 or 15 allows you to keep several devices charged, secure and connected in a location in your building that onsite workers or nearby remote workers can access. With FUYL Towers, a manual process that once took an hour to complete now takes less than a minute!

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Tip 5: Lean on Us

We’re on your team, helping to plan your defense against the spread of germs and keep your office-based employees and remote workforce healthy! In such a tumultuous time, technology that works for today and is flexible for the future is more valuable than ever. LocknCharge products are backed by a lifetime warranty, exceptional customer support, and a lot of good listeners.

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Schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products help make your life easier.

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Webinar: How to Integrate Break/Fix Workflow with FUYL Tower API

Originally Aired: 1/28/21

In this webinar, Jon Harrer, Technical Sales Rep at LocknCharge, covers how to integrate our FUYL Tower Smart Locker and LocknCharge Cloud software into an existing IT infrastructure.

Get a 60-Day Trial

Reach out to Jon directly or "Contact Us" for a 60-day trial of FUYL Tower and the LocknCharge Cloud software.

Jon Harrer, Technical Sales Rep at LocknCharge
[email protected]  |  (920) 342-4258

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For more information, check out this article about streamlining and simplifying device exchange.

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How Much Does Your Device Repair and Replacement Process Really Cost?

As more employees shift to working partly in person and partly remote, technology mishaps are bound to happen. At home, kids spill drinks on laptops, pets step on keyboards and food crumbs damage circuitry. Then there’s the accidental damage that goes along with lugging your devices to and from the office, not to mention the increase in forgotten charging cords, power supplies and other vital equipment. Word to the wise, don’t set your laptop and coffee on top of your car while fumbling to open the door. Those are essential tools to getting work done that shouldn’t be left on the road behind you!

One of the top complaints by IT staff is that they don’t have enough time to complete their current workload. Despite that, when nearly 20% of mobile devices break or go missing each year, the burden usually falls on them. Not only is this a drain on your tech team’s time, but it also adds a significant amount of downtime for employees who are unable to work. When devices are lost or damaged, all productivity and communication come to a screeching halt.

Have you ever asked yourself just how much time your IT department wastes on workforce technology deployment? Physically running around gathering and replacing broken devices or supplying cables? Consider this:

  • The average fully-burdened labor cost for IT technical work ranges between $75 and $150 per hour  
  • When working in an office, it takes about an hour to exchange a device manually
  • The average number of laptop and devices exchanges per week per location is around 5

That’s over 250 hours and nearly $25k spent annually by your IT Team just exchanging devices! While it may not be possible to eradicate all system and equipment issues, there’s a better solution to decrease device downtime and reduce workloads. One that doesn’t include hiring more people, creating more manual workarounds or spending even more money outsourcing the issue altogether.

Streamline and Simplify Laptop Exchange Workflow

By deploying a cloud-based smart locker such as a FUYL Tower 5 or 15, you can eliminate many of the manual workflow processes of IT break/fix programs and simplify replacing damaged, lost or forgotten devices, tools, accessories and more.

Automate Your Break/Fix Program

Looking for an IT cost savings idea? Centralize and automate your time-wasting manual IT break/fix program more easily than you think with a smart charging locker. A FUYL Tower 5 or 15 allows you to keep several devices charged, secure and connected in a location in your building that can be accessed by onsite workers or nearby remote workers.

With FUYL Towers, a manual process that once took an hour to complete now takes less than a minute.

When a staff member breaks a device, simply send them to the locker to get a replacement. Not only does this solution save time and money, but it can also make your team’s lives easier. Employees can simply swap their broken device for a new one and be on their way with a new device for the day. With FUYL Towers, a manual process that once took an hour to complete now takes less than a minute!

To automate this process even further, FUYL Towers can be integrated with your current IT ticketing system, such as ServiceNow, Remedy or another ITSM platform with API integration, to automatically find a Tower bay that is suitable for the user and notify the user with directions to collect their device.

Simplify Replacement of Devices, Tools and More

FUYL Towers accommodate and charge almost any device, with or without cases. But what happens when your employee needs a different piece of equipment, such as a lost cable? Or when HR has paperwork to be signed? We recognize that employees often need more than just a laptop to perform their jobs. With a FUYL Tower, simplify the distribution of any item that fits a 14” (W) x 17” (L) x 3” (H) slot. Grant specific users access to individual bays by using their RFID badge or assigned PIN code. Employees can then easily access supplies, and you can view a detailed event log to know who accessed bays and when.

Read more tips to better manage remote workers, including the steps to deploy a zero-touch model for maintaining devices and equipment.

Automate the Check-in/Check-out Process Ready-to-go Devices

With a FUYL Tower filled with ready-to-go devices, you’ll reduce in-person interactions and speed up the check-in/check-out process. Just ask the IT team of one of the largest energy companies in the U.S. who recently automated their device check-in/check-out process. They deployed a fleet of mobile devices for their customer-facing departments to achieve greater operating efficiencies, adapt to evolving regulatory requirements, provide complete and accurate information to field employees and better communicate with the field. With the addition of mobile devices, they needed to implement a system to help manage this technology. The solution was to utilize FUYL Towers to help manage their devices. With the FUYL Tower, the IT team can assign specific lockers and devices to employees and restrict and monitor access to these devices. This process added another layer of accountability for employee devices and streamlined IT’s ability to manage thousands of devices remotely. The FUYL Towers have helped automate a manual process of managing devices and ensure that field technicians have the information they need to do their jobs effectively.  

Top 5 Benefits of a Secure Charging Tower for Business

By automating the clunky manual device replacement process, LocknCharge FUYL Tower 5 or 15 charging lockers allow organizations to save a considerable amount of time, not to mention reduce staff frustration caused by frequent interruptions.

Get a return on investment between 10 to 16 weeks.
  1. Get a return on investment between 10 to 16 weeks. Whether your associates are checking out devices daily or you’re seeking to automate your loaner program, the average ROI is no more than four months.
  2. Leverage in device check-in and check-out environments. Easily store fully-charged, ready-to-use devices inside the locker bay until the administrator provides access to a user. Administrators can also assign a specific compartment to a single user.
  3. Address safety concerns and reduce risk. The system offers self-service with the swipe of an RFID badge, eliminating the need for human intervention to check out a device or pick up a loaner.
  4. Easily scale as your business grows. The LocknCharge Cloud allows you to manage thousands of users and shave time off tasks you once had to do manually. These minutes gained by everyone involved help to increase ROI.
  5. Rely on us for peace of mind. Our customer support has a world-class Net Promoter Score (NPS), and our products come with a lifetime warranty to ensure peace of mind.

Schedule a Live Product Demo

If you’re curious how FUYL Tower could integrate into your operational workflow, we’re here to help. LocknCharge exists to make life easier for mobile technology users by creating solutions that ensure accessibility and usability of devices at all times. Get in touch with LocknCharge today!

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UV Disinfection Stations: You Get What You Pay For

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When buying any new product, it can be easy to focus on price instead of value. That’s how many people frequently end up buying things that don’t work or last long. Who hasn’t had flimsy clothing shrink in the wash or a cheap gadget break after a few uses? While shopping for a bargain UV disinfection product is tempting, focusing solely on price and choosing the less expensive item can come at a steep cost.

"It takes good engineering and science to develop UV-C technology correctly."

There’s a reason why lower quality products are usually cheaper to produce. Dr. Jim Malley, president of the International Ultraviolet Association, explains to WebMD that many people don’t understand how difficult and costly it is to come up with useful and effective UV-C sterilizing technology. “It takes good engineering and science to develop it correctly. There’s a lot of rubbish out there,” he explains. The bottom line, says Malley, “You get what you pay for.”

If you’re paying very little for an unverified UV-C sanitizer or disinfection station, be aware that it may be dangerous as well as ineffective. Don’t be fooled by fraudulent claims of cheap UV sanitization products that have never been tested. Here’s what to look for when sorting through the rubbish to find an effective professional-grade UV-C station that meets the highest standards and mitigates viral bacteria’s spread.

"Many consumer-grade UV products are fakes that carry the risk of accidental exposure to dangerous ultraviolet light."

One of the most common consumer-grade UV products is a light wand. We certainly understand the allure of these devices. You can easily find them online, and many claim to kill viruses with a quick wave of a light over a surface. But the problems with design and usability of these readily available products outweigh the potential benefits. This makes them not only a poor value at any price, but also potentially dangerous. Discovery magazine reports, “For starters, many of them are fakes. Others are of such low power that you’d have to hold the device over an item (say, a mask) for 30 minutes to maybe get any disinfection, much less destroy SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. You also risk accidental exposure to dangerous ultraviolet light.”

When the ultraviolet light is not contained, consumer-grade or “home use” portable sterilizers and wands are not considered safe by either the independent safety science company UL or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “UV light may be used to disinfect surfaces in a setting where UV light does not escape to the surroundings.  If products generating UV-C light do not shield the user from exposure, they pose a potential health hazard depending on the wavelength, intensity, and exposure time,” states the FDA.

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How to Compare Professional Grade-UV-C Sanitization Products

When comparing professional-grade UV-C sanitization products, durability, effectiveness, certifications, and convenience are all important considerations along with the price. It is also essential to check the number and type of bulbs and how many hours the bulbs last before needing to be replaced. UVone™ Mobile Device Disinfection by LocknCharge includes sixteen long-lasting, high-powered UV-C bulbs. In comparison, other manufacturers’ professional-grade disinfection stations may contain as few as six bulbs. In Manual Cycle Mode, UVone users can expect 25,000 hours of bulb life or three million uses. If a bulb burns out, the UVone easy-to-use app provides visibility to see which bulb needs to be changed.

Use the chart below as a checklist when evaluating professional grade disinfection stations. Pay close attention to the documentation that verifies that the device has been through 3rd party lab testing to support the manufacturer’s claims of kill rates and kill times.

Features/BenefitsConsumer
Grade
UVone Professional GradeOther Professional Grade
Number of BulbsMost handheld wands include one 36-watt bulb, portable sterilizers may include 2 UV-C lamps16 high-powered, professional-grade UV-C blubsVaries by product, may contain as few as 6.
Number of Bulb UsesConsumer products lack information on the number of bulb uses25,000 hours (3 million uses)Varies by product, one claims up to one year, another 2,000 hours with average daily use
Testing DataNoneExtensive research from accredited, BSL-compliant labs.*Varies by product, request testing data from the device manufacturer
CertificationsNoneCE and ETL CertifiedVaries by product, request proper safety certifications from the device manufacturer
TouchlessNoYes, top-loading with motion-activated open/close door and touchless startNo other professional-grade units are 100% zero-touch with touchless open, close and start
MountableVaries by productYes, to increase hygiene compliance UVone can be wall or countertop mountableVaries by product, most are countertop only
Customer SupportNoYES, world-class with an NPS of 97, which competes with some of the largest tech giantsVaries by product
Kill RateMost consumer products lack performance data from independent testing labsComplete testing data can be found at www.lockncharge.com/uvone-testing-data.Varies by product, from 3-Log reduction to a 6-Log reduction for 12 minutes of kill time
Kill Time30 minutes for low-power UV light wands to maybe get any disinfection, 10 minutes or more for UV-C sterilization boxes30-60 SecondsVaries by product, from 20 seconds – 12 minutes

For years LocknCharge products have been known to save time and make life easier. The zero touch UV-C sanitizer, UVone by LocknCharge, is no exception. It’s six times quicker than traditional wipes and conveniently integrates into any environment to increase hygiene compliance. Compared with other professional-grade disinfection stations, UVone’s 5-Log reduction in 30 seconds is on par or better than competitors. Also, no other units are 360-degree, 100% zero-touch with touchless open, close and start and come with our unrivaled world-class customer support. Contact us to learn more.

*Visit www.lockncharge.com/uvone-testing-data for more information.

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*LocknCharge’s kill rate claims are based on data conducted by an accredited, BSL-compliant laboratories. For complete additional data, please visit www.lockncharge.com/uvone-testing-data. Real world results may vary. Complete testing data available upon request.

[1] UV Light Wands Are Supposed to Kill Viruses. But Do They Really Work? - Discover Magazine

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Device Charging 101: The Importance of Amps

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I don’t know about your office, but at ours, there’s an unexplained phenomenon going on. It seems that when LocknChargers step away from their desks to grab a cup of coffee or attend a meeting, they return to find their USB charging cables and chargers have vanished in thin air!

We get it. When your phone battery runs low, and you’ve left your cable and power supply at home, it’s hard to avoid the temptation of heading to the closest office for a quick charge. From smartphones to laptops, USB charging is everywhere these days. There are even rechargeable dog collars! But just because there’s an abundance of USB chargers and power supplies, that doesn’t mean they’re one size fits all. You would never grab an iPad power supply to charge a Chromebook. We’re here to explain the importance of matching the amps and voltage of a power supply to the product you’re charging, and why you should take notice of them on the tech specs of your charging solution.

Amps Go with the Current

First, let’s start with what an amp actually is. We’re talking electricity and electrons here, not guitars and concerts. When creating an electric current, it’s useful to be able to measure it. Electrical current is measured in ampere or “amps.” The quantity of amps tells you how much electricity is being drawn through the power cable.

Working with Voltage

For most mobile devices, the voltage to recharge the battery is typically five volts of direct current, shown as 5V DC. It’s critical to match the voltage of a power supply or charger to the device you’re charging. If the device specifications read “5V DC,” then 5V DC must be applied to the product. Apply more volts such as 12V, and you run the risk of destroying the device.

If you apply too little, the device won’t work. Think of your device as a flashlight with brand new batteries. When you turn it on, the flashlight is nice and bright because the batteries are at the correct voltage. As time goes by, the batteries start to drain and the voltage drops. The flashlight dims as it’s operating at a lower voltage and eventually, it will stop working. So the volts must be correct for a product to function.

Power Supply Considerations

A power supply or charger supplies current. Devices like mobile phones, tablets and laptops consume current and will take as much as they need. So if a product requires 2.1 amps, then the power supply should supply 2.1 amps or more. If the power supply provides more than 2.1 amps, the product will still only take 2.1 amps. If the power supply only supplies 1 amp, the device may fail to charge, or it will charge very slowly.

While it’s essential to match the voltage between the charger and the device, it doesn’t matter if the power supply or charger can provide more current then the device requires. However, providing less current will prevent charging or slow it down. A poorly designed charger can also prevent charging or increase the time it takes to charge. That’s why you should only use reputable manufacturers.

REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE

An iPad requires a charger capable of supplying 2.1 amps at a voltage of no less than 4.97V at the charger connector on the cart. Failure to provide this amount of current at the right voltage will extend the amount of time required to charge the iPad battery. This detrimental effect can be easily demonstrated by charging an iPad with an iPhone charger. An iPhone charger can only supply the iPad with 1 amp, which means charging will be dramatically slower. In the real world, imagine a student, teacher, nurse or maintenance engineer checking out an iPad in the morning that was placed on charge the night before. Likely, the iPad will still not be fully charged. If iPads and tablets are uncharged, students can’t learn, nurses can’t communicate, and employees can’t perform their jobs.

How to Safely Charge Multiple Devices

When you’re tasked with simultaneously charging multiple devices at once, obviously borrowing a charging cord and power supply from a coworker isn’t an option. That’s why LocknCharge offers the remote control ECO Safe Charge™ Power Management System. This intelligent programmable power management unit can charge multiple laptops and power other electrical equipment safely.

In our high capacity charging stations and charging carts, the devices can be programmed for a certain amount of time. If the device has built-in software, it won’t overcharge. If the device just needs a quick pick me up in the middle of the day, it will charge just as fast in its cart. You control how long you want your devices charged, and ECO Safe Charge will supply as much power as the device needs, regardless of how much of a charge it currently has. Other great benefits of ECO Safe Charge:

  • Reduces the possibility of blowing a circuit when a Cart or Station filled with devices is plugged into a single outlet.
  • The ECO-TIMER™ functions can reduce your energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, extend the life of device batteries and reduce your power bills.

Don’t neglect the importance of reading the product specs when purchasing charging solutions to ensure that you’re charging at the correct rate for the devices you’re using. If the spec sheet doesn’t show the charging current for the device you wish to charge, be sure to ask the manufacturer.

If secure and efficient charging is important to you, check out our FUYL Tower smart lockers. All compartments contain a power outlet and a 2.4 amp USB port so you can securely charge almost any device, including iPads, tablets, laptops, mobile phones, Chromebooks and more!

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