A few years ago, the desktop PC seemed to fall more and more behind notebooks. The mobility of notebooks was an advantage. Today, however, this advantage is becoming more and more irrelevant and other features of an office PC, such as silence or compactness, are coming to the fore. The cloud is responsible for this. More and more applications are cloud- or web-based. This means that access to programs and data is independent of the device you are working with. Desktop PCs at work and a smartphone for out-of-home use are the ideal combination for most of us. A notebook is only needed by those who actually have to work with a full-fledged computer on the road.
How we work without notebooks
At Prime Computer, we already have a notebook-less office. As a manufacturer of desktop PCs, that’s probably not a surprise. However, we don’t have to compromise. With our current structure and way of working, notebooks no longer make sense to us.
Each desk has a PrimeMini and two screens. At the start of work, each employee logs in with his Prime Computer Microsoft account. The individual Windows settings as well as the desktop, e-mail accounts etc. can be easily synchronized across several computers. All data and documents are stored in the cloud on Microsoft OneDrive anyway. The administrator can determine which employee or which Microsoft account can access which data in OneDrive. Microsoft Office and Adobe CC applications are installed locally on the mini-PCs. For example, Adobe CC does not require a license to be purchased for each workplace. The license only limits how many users can access the programs at the same time.
Other daily used programs like Pipedrive for CRM and pipelines, Asana for task management or WordPress for website management are anyway web-based applications that are accessed via the browser. All programs that are useful to have on the go, such as Pipedrive, Asana or the communication tool Microsoft Teams, now have sophisticated mobile apps. This makes it possible to access and manage the CRM database or upcoming tasks via the smartphone without any problems.
Optimal use of resources
Another advantage of the cloud-based approach is that resources can be shared. Especially when there are several employees working part-time or when a salesperson is rarely actually in the office, desks can be shared. All you have to do is log in with your account and you have your individual “workplace”. One computer per workplace is sufficient, not every employee needs his own notebook, which he then connects to the bigger screens.
At Prime Computer, everyone has their own desk, but resources are still shared. For 95% of our uses, a normal, inexpensive office PC, such as the PrimeMini with i3 processor, is sufficient. But if we edit a video with Adobe Premiere or create a complex graphic in Adobe Illustrator, then more performance is desirable. Two of our workplaces are equipped with more powerful PrimeMini with Intel i7 processor. Whoever needs the additional power can use one of this PCs at the days where he needs it. The company does not have to spend an excessive amount of money to equip all workplaces with more expensive hardware, when it is not needed 95% of the time anyway.
A danger that is often underestimated can also be eliminated by working without notebooks. Notebooks that are taken home can be stolen or forgotten. In practice, it is safer to store data in the protected cloud than directly on employees’ notebooks.
At Prime Computer, we don’t need notebooks for meetings either. A huge touch screen monitor is set up in the meeting room. A PrimeMini was mounted on the back and connected to the screen. You get a fully-fledged PC for presentations and can access all cloud applications, such as CRM or the task management tool, at the same time. Entries are made via the touch screen or a wireless mouse and keyboard.
If we have someone from another company with us who presents something, they usually bring a notebook with them and instinctively want to connect it to the screen for their presentation. That wouldn’t be a problem, of course. But most of them have saved their presentation and whatever else they want to show online and can access it directly via our meeting room PC and its browser. So the notebook almost always stays in their bags.
At team meetings we keep the minutes in the task management tool Asana. All employees can access this tool online and add points they would like to discuss. Only little is recorded in the log: Questions, results, and the directly assigned tasks or further steps. You have to agree on a result, which is then recorded in a binding and verifiable way.
Studies show that notebooks, but also smartphones as a connection to the “outside world” are always a potential source of distraction during a meeting, which negatively affects the quality of meetings. If one person uses a computer in a meeting, that is enough. It is also important that only people who are relevant to the meeting and for whom the meeting is relevant take part in the meeting. This means that no participant in a meeting has “dead time”, which he or she can or must bridge by working on his or her notebook.
To be able to manage meetings much more efficiently in this sense, conveet, for example, is an extremely helpful cloud-based tool. The steps that we at Prime Computer still do with several individual programs are here clearly summarized and structured in one program. conveet also offers many other functions. The product owner of conveet, Christian Luger, addressed the “notebookless” meeting in a LinkedIn post. The numerous comments on the post show that the topic is very interesting for many.