Accidents happen. Spilled coffee on a keyboard. A forgotten laptop at a hotel. A computer that won’t boot up. Whatever the reason, a computer-less employee zaps productivity. That’s where Grab and Go loaners come into play and save the day.
What's Wrong with Traditional Loaner Computers?
Traditional loaner programs often involve hefty IT time and effort, reducing overall productivity gains from the loaner units. The process involves multiple steps…
- The employee needs a device.
- IT configures a loaner device for the employee.
- The employee uses the loaner with lower productivity because of lack of access to some files on their hard drive.
- The employee returns the loaner device now full of new data.
- IT checks the loaner back into the system and wipes all of the most recent user’s data by re-imaging the machine.
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
What is Grab and Go?
Google has rolled out a solution to this time-consuming process. Its new Chromebook Grab and Go program encourages organizations to launch a self-service program for Chrome OS workplace collaboration devices sharing. Googlers know firsthand that this program works because they’ve been testing it themselves since 2017.
Whether an employee is short a computer due to necessary repairs, a team member wants a smaller, reliable device to take on the road or a guest needs a way to check email, a loaner Chromebook program quickly gets each back online and back to work.
How? They simply walk up to a shelf (typically located in easy-to-access, high-traffic areas), select a device, sign in and start working. All they need is a Google username and password. If someone can sign into Gmail, they can sign into a Grab and Go Chromebook. It’s that easy.
Speaking of Gmail, a Grab and Go program delivers the perfect solution for organizations using G Suite workplace cloud collaboration tools. All G Suite elements, from email to calendar to bookmarks and more are synced to provide a seamless transition.
And when the user returns the device, they simply put it back on the shelf or leave it at another company office, and it’s immediately ready for the next user. No IT involvement is necessary.
Since the middle of 2017, Google has installed Grab and Go stations in all of its offices. During this time, more than 30,000 unique users have “racked up” more than 100,000 Chromebook loans.
As Google notes, “a self-service program that works at that scale is only possible with devices that don’t need to be reset or configured after each loan.” Chromebooks are the perfect device for this, especially the durable, enterprise-grade models. To date, they are the only devices that provide this advantage.
What Makes a Chromebook Grab and Go Program So Great?
Here are some best practices from our partner Google that can help you build your own successful Grab and Go initiative.
Make the process self-service.
Allow workers to take and return the laptops at their convenience without tying up IT resources. A self-service program, according to Google, “is only possible with devices that don’t need to be reset or configured with each loan.” Hence, Chromebooks. Google recommends a set-up with shelves or lockers — and also managing Chromebooks with Chrome Enterprise. Devices can go directly from one user to another without IT getting involved with re-formatting and wiping hard drives for the next user. Don’t worry; it’s secure. Read on to learn why.
Rely on G Suite Admin Console.
This valuable tool relies on built-in Chrome OS features that keep your corporate applications secure across many users. Thanks to Sign-In Restriction and disabled “guest” mode, only users in the specified domain can log in and use the Chromebooks. With Forced Re-Enrollment, even if a user performs a factory reset, they can log in again until IT re-enrolls the device in the corporate domain. What’s more, data doesn’t remain on the Chromebook. User data stored or cached is encrypted by default; one user’s data isn’t accessible to the next. Chromebooks also update automatically with regular system updates.
Manage the fleet with a dedicated app.
Your IT team can manage the fleet using an app hosted on Google App Engine that allows them to look up individual Chromebooks or users and see a dashboard of inventory. The app can track when a user has started a loan the minute they sign in. It also knows a loan has ended by detecting when a different user signs into the same Chromebook. You also can use the app to enroll devices in and out of the fleet — and manage other features.
Set up email reminders for users.
Email reminders are a handy way to keep users aware of the Grab and Go requirements. For example, when Googlers sign into a device for the first time, for example, they receive an email reminding them of the return date, how to extend the loan — and how to return the Chromebook when they are finished using it. You can manage these emails through the dedicated app in Google App Engine.
Remember, simpler is better.
As Google learned, you don’t need the latest, fastest or priciest Chromebooks for a Grab and Go program. In fact, devices loaned through the company’s initial pilot were previously used and weren’t planned for reissue to anyone, making these units the perfect solution for the pilot program.
In Google’s pilot program, roughly 50 percent of all loans were for the original use case — a productivity-blocking reason. But, the remaining 50 percent were for convenience, such as for workers who bike to work and didn’t want to carry their device back and forth.
Regardless of the use case, Googlers leading the pilot have noted that a Chromebook-loaner program injects a huge productivity boost into an organization’s culture, at a low cost — and with notable positive results company-wide.