Aug 10 2021

Workplace Flexibility: How Portable Monitors Support Hybrid Working Environments

As workers solidify their priorities ahead of a possible return to the office, the right equipment can ensure the continued flexibility they desire.

Few among us can say we’re still working in the same way or at the same locations where we were working at the beginning of 2020. Circumstances have relocated our offices to kitchen tables, coffee shops, home offices and a variety of makeshift workstations.

While those changes have presented significant challenges, they haven’t been without some benefits. Surveys show that employees have enjoyed the flexibility of working remotely, and many are expecting that flexibility to continue as employers contemplate a potential return to the office.

According to a recent Gartner study, “as organizations decide when and how to return employees to physical workplaces, some still favor a ‘hard return’ — a mandatory return to an onsite location for most of the work week. For many, health and safety has been the initial priority, but executive leaders must also consider the potential risks to retention, performance, and diversity, equity and inclusion.”

“Forcing employees back into nonflexible work arrangements could leave organizations vulnerable to talent being actively poached by employers that offer the kind of flexibility employees have come to expect during the pandemic. Employees have proved they can be productive when remote and are now challenging employers to articulate why they should return,” says Brian Kropp, Gartner’s chief of HR research.

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Technology Is Playing a Crucial Role in Retaining Talent

Andrew Hicinbothem, product marketing manager for collaboration monitors at Dell Technologies, echoes the need to use technology to attract and retain talent. He cites a study by PWC about millennials at work, which noted that more than 50 percent of the global workforce will be millennials by 2020, and a full 66 percent said state‑of‑the‑art technology was important when considering an employer.   

Hicinbothem says the PWC observations are “further confirmed by a Future Workforce study conducted by Dell and Intel, in which 82 percent of millennials believed that workplace technology would influence them when deciding to take a new job. In a more recent study on Gen Z, 95 percent of those surveyed said that the technology offered by an employer would be a factor in choosing among similar job offers, and 80 percent want to work with cutting-edge technology. It is clear that the right technology is extremely important in the current climate to recruit and retain the best talent.”

Portable Monitors Add Flexibility in Hybrid Working Environments

According to Stefan Engel, vice president and general manager of visuals business for the Intelligent Devices Group at Lenovo, “Lenovo research has found that improving the employee experience, or an employee’s full journey in an organization, is more than previously anticipated. Both IT departments and employees agree that satisfaction with their work technology has a direct impact on improving employee satisfaction. With remote and flexible work options solidifying as a must-have benefit across nearly all industries, small to medium-sized businesses need to adapt to retain staff, foster positive employee and customer experiences and drive productivity, all while advancing their business priorities.”

“The next-gen workforce, who has grown up with always-on technology, is driving faster adoption in business environments and wants smarter devices that are secure and enhance their productivity in a remote world,” Engle continues. “Businesses small and large that prepare for change by leveraging the right technology, solutions and services will be well positioned to recruit and retain talent, ensuring their business thrives.”

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“This new-found freedom to work anywhere and from a space of any size has underlined a gap in the market for monitor technology. Lenovo envisions ultraslim and light mobile monitors with smarter ports as the smarter solution for working from the road and switching between devices and locations for work and play,” he says.

The Advantages of Portable Monitors Are Employee-Friendly

Hicinbothem touts the use of portable monitors, especially during a time of remote and hybrid work. “Portable monitors deliver dual-screen productivity to work. This allows you to present and collaborate anywhere, whether you’re at the office, at home or on the go. Portable monitors are ideal for people who have a lack of physical space for a monitor, especially in high-density cities. This is also ideal for those who prefer to work in various spots in the home and still have an extended screen. On-the-go professionals can use portable monitors for their on-the-road client presentations and work with an extended screen anywhere.”

Engel agrees, calling portable monitors the perfect tool for setting up workers in remote and hybrid environments. “It’s a portable screen that can be easily tucked away in any work bag and that fits on the corner of any tabletop surface when needed. Lightweight monitors come equipped with two identical USB-C ports to support power pass-through (up to 65 watts) to charge your laptop or smartphone while also powering the monitor simultaneously, for an elegant and simple one-cable solution. For easy use on the go, the mobile monitor is powered by the connected laptop through a shared battery,” he explains.

“Whether adding a convenient second display for comfortably sharing content in hybrid meeting spaces or from a worker’s home office to be easily stowed away later, Lenovo’s mobile monitors allow for easy and flexible extended use, thanks to an ergonomic stand capable of height adjustments,” he adds.

Ergonomics Are Key When Considering Portable Monitors

When asked what key components to look for in a portable monitor, both Hicinbothem and Engel note the need for ergonomic elements, as well as technology to protect users’ eyes.

“There are several key features to consider when looking for a portable monitor. Most important is the size and weight of the monitor, followed by other features such as the ease of connectivity and ergonomic features. Some examples of ergonomic features are tilt angle adjustability and low blue light reduction capability,” Hicinbothem says. 

Engel agrees, noting Lenovo’s mobile monitors feature technologies such as Eyesafe and TÜV Rheinland–certified low blue light technology to reduce eyestrain. “With employees often spending long hours in front of their screens for virtual meetings and remote collaboration, making sure mobile monitors incorporate natural low blue light technology is critical to reducing harmful blue light to protect the user’s eye health while eliminating color distortion, maintaining picture quality, and ensuring ease of use for all users,” he says.

“Obviously, weight is a key factor for a monitor’s portability,” he adds. “To ensure employees’ comfort, it must not be too heavy in their shoulder bag.”

In addition, Engel cites a need for flexibility. “If the mobile monitor has two USB-C ports, users can place connected devices on the left or right, based on their preferences; the employee also benefits from the ability to adjust the monitor’s height to match the display position and angle of different PCs, to prevent potential neck strain.”

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Portable Monitors Offer Benefits Across Multiple Industries

Hicinbothem points to the adaptability of portable monitors for multiple industry sectors. “Most features developed will benefit any industry. Anyone who needs a second monitor in a small, portable footprint would benefit from using portable monitors. From cranking out an Excel spreadsheet while referencing other documents to giving a presentation on the go, portable monitors can help.”

Engel concurs, adding, “We believe mobile monitors can serve diverse worker needs across industries. A large desktop monitor may not be an ideal solution when space is limited — not everyone has the luxury of working from a spacious living room or coming back to an assigned desk in an office. Ready-to-go mobile monitors featuring USB-C connectors and multitouch options are simple to use and store.”

Engel offers a specific example for the healthcare industry: “The ThinkVision M14t portable monitor offers touch functionality and comes with a pen, so it can be used as an input device or to add touch functionality to a standard non-touch monitor. Several healthcare use cases rely on the ThinkVision M14t as an input device because an essential worker can type by touching the screen or using the pen, which can be easily disinfected after rounds. Keep in mind, depending on the cable length, the ThinkVision M14t works well even at a distance, so it can be installed on a rolling hospital cart or act as a compact monitor for a centralized PC on a busy medical floor.”

Engel says that the capabilities are wide-ranging, from content creation to education. In the hospitality industry, Engel says, “mobile touch monitors are often used at hotels so guests can easily sign in at the front desk while connected to the clerk’s PC just a few feet away.”

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