26 Apr The bold, the creative, the mobile – SMBs and the PC-led future work experience
The pandemic caused a shift in the way we work, amounting to an increased reliance on PCs; this has been experienced by most industries and business of all sizes.
According to global research by HP Inc. during the first Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020, there has been an increase in the use of both personal and work computers. Personal computers have been used 23% more than before Covid, whilst work computer use has seen an 18% increase. For both work and play, the PC has come to the fore as users are spending more time at home, prefer bigger screens (versus a smartphone) and are relying on them for a wider range of use cases.
On the whole, people have adapted. Whether it’s been for work or play, we’ve had no alternative but to adapt to the sudden change in working and living situations. It hasn’t always been ideal, though. Less than three in 10 people (29%) had an office space at home where they can shut the door to avoid disruptions. Some worked from their bedrooms, their kitchens – even their garages. The important point is that employees and businesses continued working, overcoming new challenges and found approaches that helped them to flourish at work.
It’s at times like this, particularly for small businesses who have had to keep up momentum at all costs, that we realise the value of PCs. Computing should be an enabler. Although people have had mixed experiences while working from home, workers want to do everything in their power to make the tech work for them.
Let creatives create
Take creatives for instance. It’s been encouraging to see the way creatives have worked in different ways and been productive during the pandemic. Whether they’re one-person operations, or working as part of a small team, businesses in this space have used PCs to thrive. Creatives in particular have used their desktop and laptop devices more since the start of lockdown in order to replicate collaborative working styles, even when they aren’t physically with their colleagues.
This class of creative worker is broader than you might think. There’s the traditional fields, as well as the technical ones – all of which need access to the right tools to work in a changing world. This includes those working in media, marketing and technology start-ups. Outside of ‘work’, expressing yourself creatively has been one of the hallmarks of the pandemic, as people looked for outlets to turn their inspiration into some form of output.
For freelancers and smaller businesses doing this professionally, there is a lot riding on the equipment they use and the approaches they take. As such, it’s vital that freelancers and in-house professionals alike have access to equipment that will help them from a technical standpoint. Whether it’s the ability to create and edit in 3D or VR, or make and process content in 4 or 8K, this needs to be offered in a laptop that offers power and smooth multitasking. But just as important in the future will be the ways that teams collaborate. Workers will need to ensure they are catered for in this area too as work changes and moves towards increased online collaboration.
The flexible future
We’re entering the age of hybrid work, where although the nature of the work will be largely the same, the place in which it’s done will be fluid.
Flexible work will call for flexible computers. Half of Gen Z (48%) are considering an expansion of their freelance business in the future, which would require enhanced collaboration and micro-mobility features. Meanwhile, SMBs need a device that adapts to what they do throughout the day, offers multiple modes, instantly activates as soon as you pull it out, and has always-on connectivity with long video playback. Devices will need to enable high calibre collaboration whether their colleagues are in the same room behind a mask or on the other side of the world behind a screen. And for the companies making the devices, it means listening closely to the users and how they expect to work in the future.
While the PC is more essential than ever, what’s most important of all is people. That’s why, from HP’s perspective, it’s vital to look beyond the device people use and more towards the things that will enhance their experience. It isn’t about having a ‘one size fits all’ approach because everyone works differently, according to their own preferences. Indeed, personal computers will need to be more personal than ever. And it will include the hardware, software and other accompanying tools to optimise the user experience.
Moving with users
Things are different now in the world of work. As a society, we’ve woken up to a class of worker that is highly mobile, highly connected and highly collaborative. They might spend 40-60% of their time away from their desk but will still need continuous access to the tools that make them productive. They may be senior leaders, entrepreneurs or work in customer facing roles – all of which have had the way they work turned on their heads in the past year.
HP is evolving its product line-up to be perfectly suited to workers who are emerging into the era of flexibility. For example, the HP Elite X2 G8 has premium audio features based on AI to suppress background noise and make collaboration a pleasant experience. It features the optional HP Rechargeable Active Pen for intuitive note-taking and design, and Tile integration to make sure you know exactly where it is at all times. This is in addition to high-end performance driven by the latest 11th generation Intel processor.
The PC is essential for keeping people and businesses connected and helping teams to continue working securely and productively. And as the technology evolves, workers no longer need to feel limited by their computer or their work environment. They can feel confident while working creatively, both in and out of the office. And as they aspire to grow their businesses, they can expect their PC to grow and flex with them.