No one expected COVID-19 to derail daily life and work to the degree that it has. As the federal government and businesses look to planning in-office management, one of their biggest challenges will be keeping staff safe while staging a return strategy. What does implementation look like? Will there be split shifts with workers half in the office, and telecommuting half time? How will staffing be affected, and how will they be supported?
COVID-19 protocols will be in place for the foreseeable future. With return to work in flux, agencies need IT support solutions that allow workers to do their jobs within the constraints of social distancing and Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Think about this; you are one of the few people who are working on site and you need immediate PC support. You could call the help desk, but you think you might be having a hardware problem. You look for your deskside support technicians but find that they are still working remotely.
Contactless kiosks provide agency staff with direct, zero-touch access to a live technician to get immediate, comprehensive support for laptops, mobile phones and tablets. If there is a hardware problem, remote technician kiosks and smart storage locker technology responds to numerous essential administrative and operational concerns:
Safety – A zero-touch remote technician kiosk ensures safe and encrypted video-based communication and troubleshooting. Whether you are 6 feet or 600 miles away from your technician, customers have ready access to badged helpdesk technicians at agency campuses, headquarters and regional offices. This contactless customer support provides a safe solution for social distancing guidelines in an agency environment, and innovative technology keeps interactions secure and private.
Expediency – Combined with smart storage locker technology, zero-touch remote technician kiosks cut downtime by having loaner and replacement devices on-site and ready for you to use. Instead of having to wait for a device to be shipped to you (after a PC refresh or to address a non-working device), customers can access devices on-site without any wait time. If new equipment needs to be ordered, customers will be able to access loaner PCs from the smart storage locker immediately, getting them back to work faster. Interior connections allow technicians offsite to remote into the device, to handle larger-scale repairs or updates.
Enhanced tracking – Having replacements and loaners on-site controls the risk of loss by using precise RFID device tracking technology and arranging an exchange at the office, rather than sending devices home or between facilities. An on-site smart storage locker is centrally managed and software controlled, with connection/charging facilities within the bays. Devices are allocated to a specific user, who can use a PIN code for individual access to only their device.
Cost Efficiency – Delivering laptops and devices poses not only a risk of loss of inventory, data or loss of time in an urgent situation, but it also can become a needlessly expensive process. By having replacements on hand, customers’ needs are handled without processing delays, delivery costs or staff keeping multiple devices. Remote accessibility means technicians can work on computers anywhere within the agency’s network so entire departmental refreshes can happen through locker connections. The devices are either with the customer or securely in the organization’s confines, thereby managing assets with greater efficiency.
Streamlining – Zero-touch remote technician kiosks reduce the number of staff members needed in an office space. IT support is available at any time of day, and smart storage lockers allow a designated staffer to handle large agency needs, but still adhere to COVID-19 safety measures. Streamlining staff and maximizing their capabilities will result in savings and better customer experience.
The repercussions from COVID-19 have changed the way people work in office environments and there will be more changes to come as we learn how to live and work with the virus. Federal agencies can maximize efficiency and social distancing by using contactless kiosks. Smart storage locker technology provides inventory control, asset management and cost cutting by centralizing IT services; all while protecting staff and promoting distancing protocols.
Rick Hill, senior vice president of HumanTouch, LLC. is a senior executive, consultant and engineer with over 30 years in the industry. He has worked with federal civilian and military agencies, a PMP, engineer and holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.