Will COVID-19 finally bring about the end of the desktop?

Prophecies and predictions about the end of the desktop are a common trend in the tech world. It’s certainly true that using a traditional desktop as a personal computer has been in decline in favour of integrated products like laptops, smartphones and tablets. There has also been a general trend towards cloud products, virtualisation, and even towards new computing methods like voice and augmented reality.

But, recent developments such as the rise of remote and home working due to the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated these trends. In a short space of time, a massive percentage of the world’s workforce were forced to adapt to these changing circumstances. Companies have had to quickly set up home offices and move to remote solutions, all while ensuring no interruption to the business. This quickly brought about a big shift in the relevance of the traditional desktop computing model in the office, traditionally one of the places where the desktop still held sway.

Remote working: the end of the desktop?

One of the biggest changes brought about by COVID-19 has been a massive shift towards laptops. Designed to enable employees to quickly set up home offices, the demand for laptops has quickly outpaced supply, with the pandemic causing supply chain issues. Here at MFG, we have also experienced a huge demand for laptops and related peripherals like docking stations, which peaked in March 2020 but has remained high since.

The move to laptops for business

Many businesses are now seeing this change as an opportunity to shift working practices towards an inclusive remote working system. This means offering a range of solutions, including laptops and other technologies such as remote desktops, cloud software and collaboration programs. This approach is often centred on the laptop as the primary device, and many businesses are seeing desktops as no longer practical, given the increased need for flexibility and mobility.

With laptops, employees can quickly set up their own home-working solutions. When coupled with docking stations and other peripherals, laptops offer true freedom to work whenever is convenient, with the option of adding dual monitor setups and other peripherals as a “base station” where required, and then simply moving the laptop to other locations when needed.

A modern hybrid system: the way forward?

With the benefit of a few months of an adjustment period, what many businesses are now turning to is a modern workplace system, integrating home and remote working into their IT provisions with new cloud software and hardware offerings, like laptops, smartphones and tablets. While for some employees and use cases, the desktop will still be a necessary part of their workflow, this system offers flexibility as well as enhanced connectivity and communications.

To achieve this system, many businesses are turning to Microsoft’s suite of cloud products to enable collaborative remote working. The modern workplace solutions on offer include Microsoft 365, which provides cloud-based versions of Office products designed to enable easy and intuitive remote collaboration. Microsoft Teams is an extremely powerful hub for communication, file sharing and project management, and forms the basis for many remote working systems.

Success using this modern system relies upon giving your employees the right tools to succeed in these changing times. By enabling remote working and seamless collaboration regardless of the device being used, these systems free companies from the rigid desktop-only model, and, perhaps, will begin to hasten the true end of the desktop.

Is your business ready for change? Contact MFG to discuss your IT Infrastructure and perform an audit of your systems to determine your organisation’s ability to adapt to the modern workplace.

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