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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7 Surprising Lessons We Learned During the Pandemic

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What a year it’s been. At the start of the pandemic, we scrambled to find the time to navigate a work from home world. We filled our days with setting up remote offices and the seamlessly unending homeschooling challenges while trying our best to keep our families fed and our kids entertained. After shifting gears and getting ourselves headed in the right direction, we have more time on our hands. We’ve gotten the hang of this whole Zoom thing, and we’re making good use of the hours we used to sit in traffic.

We won’t deny that we were a bit overwhelmed at first. But now that we’ve caught our breath, we can step back and reflect on the many positives that came out of the chaos. With some perspective, we understand that the hectic times helped us boil down what’s important and take risks we may never have taken otherwise. Most of all, we’ve realized how grateful we are for our personal and professional connections. Despite the physical distance, we’ve struggled and innovated, scrambled and prioritized, and cried and laughed—together. Now more than ever, we know our strength lies in our community.

Our team recently got together to review what we’ve learned over the past twelve months. We want to share with you a few of the surprising lessons that emerged from our discussion.

1. Nothing Can Replace a Face-to-Face Visit

In other words, we sure do miss you! In “normal” times, our schedules are packed with tradeshows and customer visits. The pandemic has taught us that every frenzied second spent planning these events and traveling around the world is well worth it.

While we’ve adapted with online meetings, video demos and instructional webinars, we’ve discovered that something is missing. And that something is the spectacular spontaneous collaboration that happens when we’re face-to-face with friends, customers and partners.

There’s no replacement for chilling and charging with thousands of imaginative educators at ISTE or healthcare heroes at HETT. In-person interactions at shows like these are where we’ve gotten many of our big ideas. At one past BETT show, customers told us how our Joey Cart could be enhanced. Based on their comments, we completely remodeled this multi-device charging station was with the end-user in mind. When we met with our long-time customer and partner, Putnam City Schools, we came away with their idea for the perfect product on the back of a napkin! 

2. Educators and Schools are Invaluable

While we knew this long before COVID, this past year has reinforced that teachers, faculty and support staff are invaluable. Educators worldwide stepped up to teach us that “school” isn’t a building. Many of us experienced first-hand what it’s like to be a teacher. We’ll let our kids tell you just how that went.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Let’s just say the #SchoolofLock made us even more thankful for superstar educators around the world!

3. Digital Transformation Went From Planning for the Future to RIGHT NOW

97% of executives say COVID-19 sped up digital transformation making it the digital accelerant of the decade. Check out these excellent examples of how both schools and organizations have risen to the occasion, innovating and making lemonade out of lemons.

To meet the exponential increase in traffic at drive-throughs caused by indoor dining closures, many fast-food and fast-casual restaurants have deployed hand-held devices to speed up the ordering process. One LocknCharge customer now moves 200 cars through their drive-through per hour when they equipped their employees with iPads charged and secured with Putnam Charging Stations.

At the start of the pandemic, the San Francisco USD Department of Technology quickly developed a plan for the safe and successful deployment of devices to nearly 5,000 educators. As part of this plan, SFUSD strategically placed four LocknCharge FUYL Tower Smart Lockers at the district’s centrally-located main office, where they could be accessed beyond regular office hours and even on weekends. Each bay is equipped with one ready-to-go device, which simplified the process of distributing and maintaining devices to three easy steps without the need for any face-to-face interaction or Help Desk interruption.

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4.  Who You Buy from Matters as Much as What You Buy

The 9-5 workday is obsolete. If an emergency happens, or you need support outside of what were once regular business hours, customer service and tech support must be available. The past year has highlighted the importance of partners over vendors who stand by you through tough times. Great partners commit to keeping projects on track and go above and beyond to provide the best outcome.

With tight budgets only getting tighter, great partners also ensure that your investment will be a good one for many years to come, offering future-proof products backed with a lifetime warranty.

5. The Use of Technology Kept Our Relationships Going

While nothing can substitute face-to-face meetings and human touch, the reality is that many of those interactions aren’t possible during a pandemic. Thankfully, technology has served as a vital link connecting teachers with students, doctors with patients and coworkers with each other. The frontline healthcare workers at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine also found that technology helps ease hospitalized patients’ discomfort.

After witnessing patients struggling while separated from loved ones, the resident physicians and medical students asked for donations of tablets to facilitate video conferences with family and friends. Through the #ConnectingThroughCovid initiative, countless expressions of love and prayers have been shared, easing loneliness and positively affecting lives.

6. Preparation Coupled with Flexibility is Key

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past year, it’s that there’s no way to predict the future. However, you can pivot more quickly and smoothly with the right preparation and a willingness to adapt.

With a district-wide commitment to technology and a future-proofed tech plan, Chicago’s Arbor Park School District was well positioned with the sudden shift to remote learning.

In the past two years, Arbor Park made a complete shift from shared desktop computers and mobile devices to a 1:1 program. After rigorous research and setting up a forward-thinking infrastructure, they moved quickly, which has helped acclimate students and staff at an even pace with little pushback. According to David Termunde, the Chief Technology Officer, “the extensive teacher training and professional development on new devices and platforms has certainly paid off during COVID-19.”

In just minutes, they also tweaked their smart locker workflow to enable a no-contact pickup location for replacement devices. Just like an Amazon locker, a FUYL Tower was relocated to a publicly-accessible location within the school. Parents place orders from the district’s ecommerce site. The school then fulfills the order by placing it in a FUYL Tower compartment. Parents follow simple email instructions to unlock and pick up their requests from their assigned FUYL Tower locker number.

7. Hand AND Device Hygiene is Critical to our Well-Being

We’ve known for a while that you can help yourself and those around you stay healthy by washing your hands often. With the hoarding of cleaning supplies at the start of the pandemic, it became abundantly clear that another critical step towards good hand hygiene is routinely cleaning and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces. Proper sanitization methods of doorknobs, desks, and last but not least, our devices can reduce the risk of spreading germs.

Healthy hand hygiene and device hygiene go hand-in-hand. While it may seem logical to disinfect devices overnight, disinfecting once per day may not be enough to stop the spread of viruses. As germs are spread by users touching devices multiple times a day, sanitizing them more often can prevent cross-contamination. With that in mind, the launch of our latest innovative product in mid-2020 couldn’t have been timelier. UVone UV-C disinfection for mobile devices works in just 30 seconds, making sanitization six times quicker than traditional wipes. Also, UV-C light disinfects in a consistent manner, making it more reliable and efficient than wipes—plus, it does not degrade the integrity of devices over time. We’re proud to do our small part to help mitigate the spread of viral bacteria anywhere devices are being used or shared.

What did you learn over the past year? We want to hear your stories! Share your joys and challenges, and let us know what we can do to support you best. We’re here to listen and help strengthen our community.

 

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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.

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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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FSTEC Community 2020

FSTEC provides the restaurant industry with foodservice technology solutions and education. Check out LocknCharge’s breakout session from the 2020 FSTEC Community presented by Kevin Kuluvar and Josh Davis.

iPads in Restaurants: Reducing Costs and Creating Efficient Workflows

The food service industry is based on speed, efficiency and quality to delight their customers. With the growing use of iPads for mobile POS and curbside customer engagement, making sure they are available and charged is becoming a critical part of day-to-day restaurant operations. LocknCharge creates solutions to quickly deploy devices into the hands of those that need them, and efficiently manage the devices when not in use. Our products reduce the burden of managing iPads or other mobile devices, and allow restaurants to focus on serving their customers. 

Learn more about how LocknCharge helps restaurants deploy mobile technology on our dedicated restaurant page. 

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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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