Top 3 Tips for Onboarding Employees Remotely with BYO PCs
Many companies, including VMware, are onboarding new employees who cannot go through the in-person IT onboarding processes due to work from home policies. With delays in computer parts and delayed shipments of just about everything, new work laptops aren’t expected to arrive in many weeks or even months for many of our customers. Not to mention, remote job postings are surging. New employees must start at their new roles from their home office. In this situation, the newly hired are not receiving a corporate-owned computer or even a loaner computer anytime soon.
How do we get those new employees started despite these delays? New employees still need to be onboarded and start to be productive as soon as possible regardless of their location. Here, we can apply a BYO (Bring Your Own) personal computer policy.
Windows 10 was initially released almost five years ago and Windows systems represent about 70% of the OS platforms in personal computers and desktops in the U.S. As such, if you have a BYO laptop policy or need to onboard new employees with their personal devices, you can expect a lot of employees to onboard with Windows 10 PCs.
I recently started at VMware and because of the shelter-in-place orders, I was onboarded and knew I’d be working with a Windows 10 Home PC for the foreseeable future. I didn’t know what to expect (and I was not alone). My previous experiences with onboarding with corporate PCs were often frustrating. I was apprehensive about using my personal BYO laptop as my work computer even for a finite period.
Several questions ran through my mind. What personal data and information would I be allowing my new employer to have access to? What would I have to download and install? What permissions would I be required to agree to in order to make any software function as it should? There were many concerns and I had no idea what to expect.
I’m happy to say that three weeks into my new role at VMware and I have been able to access all the apps I’ve needed on the job via VMware Workspace ONE through its web portal. Onboarding and working from home on my Windows 10 PC have been a much better experience than I ever would have expected. Here are the top three aspects of our BYO laptop policy that resulted in a positive experience and how you can provide the same level of employee experience.
How to Provide a Positive Employee Experience with BYO Windows 10 PCs WFH Policies
Ensure Privacy & Security
At previous companies, work applications often required permissions that included the ability to wipe the device and all its data at any time. The fact that I was (knowingly) allowing a company to wipe my personal photos, files, etc. never felt right. I don’t believe companies would wipe a personal device maliciously and without reason, but accidents happen. I wouldn’t put myself in that position voluntarily. And these sorts of requirements did not build my trust and confidence in the company asking for these requirements either. As such, I avoided using my personal devices for anything work-related.
Workspace ONE separates personal information from work information. During onboarding, I was never prompted by the Workspace ONE app to allow full wipes of my personal apps and data.
As might be apparent, I care about my privacy and what data is collected. VMware defines BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as “the process of providing secure access to corporate data, apps, and content on an employee-owned device without invading employee privacy to their personal data, apps or content.” The second part around privacy is not always included or stipulated in every company’s BYOD programs.
During my first week at VMware, IT showed us what device data is collected by and viewable on Workspace ONE. I immediately felt encouraged. The information collected included basics like the type of OS and device, but not device location or use history. I also didn’t have to download any intrusive apps for Workspace ONE to work properly.
Provide Lightweight Solution with No Unnecessary Software Installations
Personally, I like having as few software programs installed on my PC as possible. I only want the essentials. When a new PC arrives, I spend the first few hours removing every piece of software that is either bloatware or unnecessary to me. The average user may be less biased about the number of installed applications on their PC, but there are a significant number of laptop users who are moving toward this way of thinking.
In my personal use, I tend to utilize smaller, free software programs or browser-based applications over the bigger, more expensive options. If I had a choice at my new role, I did not want to download and install applications to my personal computer. As an experiment, I decided to see how far along in my onboarding process I could get without having to download anything. Well, several weeks after my start day and I can say, my test was a resounding success.
I was able to access Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub and almost all the apps I needed within my preferred browser without the need for a VPN. In the rare situation that I needed to access an app requiring VPN, I used a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) via VMware Horizon. VMware Horizon allowed me to get into apps that required a VPN or to work with apps that had different or preferred functionality on a desktop instead of a browser.
Make it Simple & Painless
To get started on my first day, no imaging was required. IT didn’t need to take control of my computer with remote access (although Workspace ONE does have that capability). I set up my authentication manager and used the resulting token code to sign-in to Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub.
With Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub, I have access to all the apps I needed in a single, unified app catalog in my favorite browser. I can search for a specific application or look through categories of apps in Marketing, Sales, HR, etc. to find the app that I need. In situations where I needed access granted before I could open an app or see specific datasets within these apps, it was as simple as a request and a click of a button from someone who could approve it.
In my previous role, I would have to type my username and password for every application and account I accessed in a single day. Workspace ONE single sign-on (SSO) capabilities ensure I have secure access to these sensitive corporate apps even on my personal device. SSO has helped immensely to streamline access to the multitude of apps I might access in a single day.
A successful and enjoyable onboarding process is critical for new employees. The old saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” holds true for employee onboarding. The feeling a fresh employee has on the first days and weeks with their new employer has lasting ramifications on their overall happiness and productivity in that company.
BYO laptop situations may not be ideal, but sometimes it is the only option. Employees want to trust their companies’ security and compliance measures – especially when it pertains to their personal computers. A company should be building a relationship around trust when a new hire starts, even in the most difficult situations. This relationship begins with providing the best possible solutions, like Workspace ONE, to make their employees’ technology and day-to-day experiences less stressful when so many other aspects of this uncertain environment can be.
Where to Next?
If you’d like to see what the end-user experience of Workspace ONE looks like, check out this feature walk-through video. The first half is a good representation of my experience on a Windows laptop. For a more technical but quick guide around utilizing BYO everything in onboarding and a remote workplace overall, Brian Madden recently posted a blog around important considerations and possible methodologies for BYOD. (If you would like to try it out yourself, VMware has extended their trial offerings).