For hybrid working, one size does not fit all

Man working on laptop by a window
(Image credit: Getty)

Ever since the mass shift to remote work, how we define a modern business has fundamentally changed. Nowhere is this more evident than in the relationship between an employee and their technology.

The pandemic forced many companies to become more flexible in their approach to technology and supporting employees, in some cases beyond what was perhaps comfortable. Whether that was rolling out a patchwork of ill-suited laptop types, deploying make-shift IT support, or simply dealing with the reality that most teams were now outside the company firewall, the urgent need to equip employees with the right hardware, and do so securely, inevitably pushed businesses to their limits.

This short term, disruptive arrangement has evolved into what can be considered a new age of working, one in which technology use is dictated by the employee, rather than the business. This bottom up approach sees employees having a greater sense of control over the technology they use. They not only want a device that allows them to become a more productive, more collaborative employee, but also one that is designed to make their job easier. After all, a frontline retail worker will have entirely different needs to that of an office-based salesperson, and to assign both the same type of hardware would be to ignore their specific requirements.

This rebalanced relationship with technology has become critical for gauging an employee’s overall satisfaction. Recent research, sponsored by Lenovo and Intel, revealed most employees (77%) now consider PCs and laptops to be critical to their daily work and collaborating with co-workers. The research also found that, following a greater emphasis on tailoring technology to user needs, a majority of ITDMs (60%) reported more than 10% increase in employee experience scores.

Hardware fit for a new age

It’s clear that when an employee is given a device that is reliable, is powerful enough to handle enterprise software, and is designed to fit their needs, overall employee wellbeing improves.

Tailoring this approach can be a challenging adjustment for businesses, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Every employee will use their device differently; some will be using sophisticated creative software suites or running large databases, while others will be using mostly word processing apps and browsers. Some will require laptops that are ultra-lightweight and small enough to fit in a bag or be used on a plane’s tray table, while others will need a wide selection of ports and utilities, like bluetooth and network connectivity.

Once you begin to profile your employees and understand how they like to use their machines, the more you will find that a single laptop type just won’t do. Fortunately, hardware vendors are starting to take a lead in this area.

Lenovo has partnered with Intel to create a fleet of business-grade laptops that provide tailored solutions to a variety of employee archetypes. With Intel vPro®, An Intel® Evo™ Design, these laptops offer lightning-fast performance, smooth multitasking, seamless use of enterprise applications, and a host of accessories that can be tweaked to fit the needs of different teams across an organization.

The confidence to work from anywhere

Lenovo’s X Series is its smallest line of laptops, built for a workforce that is constantly on the move and may be required to pick up work at a moment’s notice.

For any employees that spend more time traveling than sitting at a desk, the ThinkPad X13 Yoga Gen 3 is the way to go. The 13.3in 2-in-1 marvel proves that smaller laptops no longer need to compromise on performance or utility, offering blistering speeds, over 12 hours of battery life, rapid charging, and support for the latest networking technology. That longevity is particularly critical, as it provides much-needed confidence to those employees who are unable to access a power source on a regular basis. The 2-in-1 form factor also means a tablet mode is available when required, which is especially useful for those employees who prefer to take notes using a stylus.

That said, if an employee generally favors tablets more than laptops, the ThinkPad X12 Detachable is the perfect package of laptop-grade performance in a tablet form factor. At 12.3in, and just 840g without the keyboard, the X12 has been designed to be just that bit easier to carry around, while also capable of being transformed into a traditional laptop as and when required.

Power at your fingertips

Not every employee places flexibility above all else, especially when they find themselves working at a desk most of the time, either at home or in the office. In these cases, having a smaller screen is not as critical, and they are less likely to need features such as 2-in-1 functionality. In fact, when it comes to resource-heavy tasks like data analysis or computer-aided design, top-end performance is far more important.

Lenovo’s P Series, with Intel vPro®, An Intel® Evo™ Design, is the company’s most powerful range, featuring the unbeatable performance of a business-class workstation, while still providing the portability of a laptop. These machines are built using cutting-edge technology, designed to handle anything that an employee may throw at them. Each one is ISV certified for all major software suites – meaning they are designed from the ground up to more than meet the needs of a wide array of applications.

P Series laptops are particularly well suited for those in the creative industries, whether that’s video production or graphic design. These types of users prefer to sacrifice portability in favor of pure graphic power, and so the P Series instead features screens up to 17in in size, a choice of high-end graphics options, and a host of extra utilities like touchscreens and numeric keypads.

Multi-tools for an active workforce

Lenovo’s X and P Series laptops, in their catering to agility and performance respectively, arguably represent two extremes. It’s likely that many employees in your organization fall somewhere between the two, and so require a degree of versatility in their machines.

Lenovo’s T series represents this middle ground, a flagship range that’s the result of 25 years of design innovation. It combines a host of productivity-rich features that will cater for the majority of everyday tasks. This includes superb utility in the form of USB-C Thunderbolt® ports, side docking options that let you quickly connect external speakers or monitors, and the longest battery life of the bunch. The T Series also boasts one of the widest selections of laptops, each configured slightly differently to meet the additional needs of a varied workforce. For example, those involved in more creative tasks may be better suited to the ThinkPad T15g Gen 2, which features a slightly larger than average screen at 15in, but also a variety of graphics tools for tweaking the display. Likewise, those that may favor just a little extra portability will feel right at home with the ThinkPad T14s Gen 3, which is not only one of the lightest in the range at 1.2kg, but it also supports 5G connectivity.

Simply put, the T Series is likely to be the best option for most employees.

Businesses no longer need to compromise

As mentioned earlier, underpinning each Lenovo Series is the Intel vPro®, An Intel® Evo™ Design platform, which helps create a combination of top-end performance and design flexibility in each laptop. 

However, perhaps the most important component of this platform, at least from a business perspective, is Intel®'s Active Management Technology. This tool addresses one of the biggest challenges many businesses encounter when attempting to overhaul their device policy – namely the effort of keeping track of what is rolled out.

Traditionally, businesses have tended to limit the variety of devices deployed to employees, largely because this makes it easier to provide centralized tech support, but also because it keeps things simple from a security perspective. This makes sense from a business standpoint, but it comes at the cost of the employee experience.

Intel®'s Active Management Technology redefines this approach, allowing a business to monitor each laptop on Intel vPro®, An Intel® Evo™ Design from a centralized location, and providing a way for IT teams to seamlessly diagnose, update, and repair each device. 

Businesses no longer need to choose between lowering operating costs or improving employee experience – the Intel vPro®, An Intel® Evo™ Design platform has created a world where both are one in the same.

Intel technologies may require enabled hardware, software or service activation.

No product or component can be absolutely secure.

Your costs and results may vary.

@Intel Corp. Intel, the Intel logo, Intel vPro® and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.