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Hardware Warranties in the Age of Remote Work

Depending on the IT person you ask, hardware warranties are either a giant scam or an essential purchase — and both camps feel their argument is valid. But how should warranties be considered in the era of remote working? 

With the purchase of a hardware warranty on devices used by end-users, businesses can protect themselves from unexpected costs due to hardware failure or accidental damage, depending on the policy. On the other hand, buying hardware warranties for every single device can add 10 to 15% to a purchase or lease agreement when damage rates might only be 2 to 3%. With the move to remote and hybrid work environments, however, hardware warranties may take on greater significance for IT departments.

Keep employees working and prevent disruption

For more than 20 years now, knowledge workers have relied on technology to function in their workplaces. Laptops, desktops, and smartphones are the tools of the trade and were a reality long before the shift to remote/hybrid work. In those earlier days, if a laptop was broken, most organizations had a physical help desk where employees could seek assistance with hardware and software issues. 

Fast forward to today. Take accounting work for example: Employees work on computers in various accounting software platforms for most of the day. Imagine also working from home, perhaps in a different city from your company. What happens if your computer won’t charge and the battery is dead? What do you do? How long does it take to get a working device? For a regular consumer, going three or four business days without a computer is frustrating, but not devastating. For a business user, however, this downtime is critical.

Rethink hardware warranties for remote work

In the age of remote work, the pros and cons of hardware warranties require a reevaluation. Keeping employees secure and productive is the essential job for IT in 2022, and hardware warranties should be a key part of that discussion. 

When working with a vendor to lease or purchase computers, inquire about options for drop-ship replacements or spare laptops that can be overnighted to remote employees. While this consideration will add cost to a purchase or lease price, it can significantly reduce downtime for key employees who have lingering hardware issues. Preventing employee disruption is likely worth the additional upfront costs.

Some teams also keep older devices available to use as spares. Thanks to flash storage and improvements in hardware, laptops have never been more reliable and long-lasting. In fact, the hardware most likely to fail first is the battery. Because of this, some companies allow employees to keep older laptops in their homes after they’re wiped using the company’s device management solution. Once the device is cleaned, it’s free of company data — but still usable in case of a hardware emergency if employees lack access to an overnight spare. If the organization has a zero-touch enrollment configuration, reactivating an older company machine will re-enroll it into the mobile device management system and reapply all the prescribed security configurations. 

There’s a lot to consider with hardware warranties in general, and the remote worker dynamic has added new layers to the discussion. InfoSystems can help your team develop solutions to ensure employees have functioning technology 24/7/365.

If your team is navigating hardware warranties for remote or hybrid employees, contact InfoSystems to get the conversation started.

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