Chrome OS Is Paving The Way For Return To Office At Google

The pandemic continues to deeply affect our lives around the globe. In some places, new cases are surging and returning to work is the last thing on people’s minds. In other areas, conditions are improving and companies are starting to think about transitioning their workforce back to the office. 

Exactly when and how to do this remains complex and varies by country, industry, and company.  What’s certain is that hybrid work will become an essential part of the business world moving forward. And finding solutions that bridge the gap between “in-person” and “somewhere else” are crucial.  

At Google, we’ve been focused on what the hybrid transformation means for us. To prepare for hybrid work, using modern solutions is a key enabler.

Chrome OS: Supporting Google’s return to office strategy 

At Google, we’ll move to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend approximately three days in the office and two days wherever they work best. It’s no surprise that as the modern, secure, cloud-first platform, Chrome OS is playing a key role in our transition to a hybrid work model. Because Chrome OS devices can easily be shared, more flexible working models and spaces are now possible. And with user profiles stored in the cloud and collaboration solutions like Google Workspace, employees can log in to any Chrome OS device, access what they need and pick up where they left off.

Here are just a few ways we are using Chrome OS and its tools to support the return to the office:

  • In select office locations, Googlers can reserve desks through an internal booking tool set up with a high-performance Chromebox, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Employees can log in to the Chromebox which syncs their cloud profile, and start working with the same environment they have on all their Chrome OS devices.
  • We’re announcing new docking stations that are designed for Chrome OS devices and allow employees to bring in their Chromebook from home, connect to the dock with one USB-C cable, and use a monitor, keyboard, and mouse for a full desktop experience. 
  • Every Chrome OS device enables a zero-trust security working model with BeyondCorp Enterprise providing our workforce with simple and secure access to applications while providing additional security controls for IT.
  • We’ve deployed the new Chrome OS Readiness Tool to our extended workforce to identify employees that are able to switch to Chrome OS. This allows us to expand the latest security, deployment, and manageability benefits to more of the workforce.

Additional ways Chrome OS is helping organizations with return to office

We aren’t the only ones supporting our return to office and hybrid work strategy with Chrome OS. We’ve heard more ways our customers are using Chrome OS to make the transition as smooth as possible. These include:

  • Streamlining deployment and management of Chrome OS devices using zero-touch enrollment which allows devices to automatically enroll into a corporate domain without IT configuration.
    Grab & Go Chromebooks being used for frontline and hybrid information workers, allowing employees to grab a Chromebook from a cart and get to work right away.
  • Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS being deployed to allow employees to access Windows or legacy apps locally on their Chrome OS devices.
  • Existing Windows and Mac devices being modernized and repurposed to run a Chrome OS experience using CloudReady. (Google is currently offering a CloudReady promotion. Learn more here.)

While the Chrome OS team has been working towards making remote working as seamless as possible for IT, we’ve also made advancements in supporting traditional technology that’s required in the office.

  • In October, we announced Chrome Enterprise Recommended: a collection of identity, printing, productivity, communications, and virtualization solutions that are verified to run great on Chrome OS.
  • With the increased usage of video conferencing on Chrome OS devices, we’ve made improvements to Google Meet and Zoom performance including camera and video improvements to reduce any unnecessary processing and features that intelligently adapt to your device, your network, and what you are working on.
  • For improved access to Windows and legacy apps, VMware Horizon introduced multi-monitor support and USB redirection and Citrix Workspace released a tech preview with webcam enhancements and Microsoft Teams optimizations. 
  • We integrated with the Okta Workflows platform, so IT administrators can include Chrome OS in it’s access logic and deploy quickly without code. Recently, we’ve added the ability to require users to reauthenticate on their Chrome OS device once Okta has detected that the user has changed their password. Try out this new capability by signing up for our Trusted Tester program.
  • We’ve increased our support for direct IP printing with additional printer models since the beginning of 2020. In addition, we have made improvements to management features, including support for multiple print servers and launched policy APIs to provide a better IT admin experience. 

Join us for a digital event with Modern Computing Alliance and its newest member HP 

Last year we announced the launch of the Modern Computing Alliance—a collaboration of industry leaders including Box, Chrome Enterprise, Citrix, Dell, Google Workspace, Imprivata, Intel, Okta, RingCentral, Slack, VMware, and Zoom aim to create the pioneering solutions that businesses need. We are thrilled to introduce HP, who brings their innovative hardware and enterprise hardware expertise to the Modern Computing Alliance and has been working closely with the alliance to ensure true silicon-to-cloud innovation.

As an alliance, we’ve been deeply engaged in the hybrid work shift. We invite you to join us for a digital event where we discuss questions about returning to work. Like how product design can encourage participation and collaboration regardless of where employees are, important security issues to keep in mind, and what factors businesses should consider to support a safe, working environment.

Home. Heading back. Hybrid.
Hear from the experts on hybrid work and return to office.
Date: May 20th, 2021

Register here

If you are ready to try Chrome OS today, it’s easy to get started. You can contact us to get connected to a partner, sign up for a free 30-day trial of Chrome Enterprise Upgrade to start managing Chrome OS devices, or deploy the Chrome OS Readiness Tool to identify employees that are ready to switch to Chrome OS.

By: John Solomon (VP, Chrome OS)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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