Prior to joining Atlas Cloud in November 2018 I hadn’t even heard of hosted desktops let alone consider how life-changing they could be. With Atlas’ primary product being hosted desktops it’s only right that they should practice what they preach and use exclusively hosted desktops for all their employees. Having worked at companies where remote access to the internal network was considered a privilege, it was immensely refreshing to find that, at Atlas Cloud, remote access is what they’re all about.
It seems like a logical step for any modern workplace to enable their employees to access their desktop from anywhere. Such has been the impact on my life that I feel moved to pay homage through the medium of blog. So without further ado, here are my top 5 reasons why I love hosted desktops:
1. A LIFE-WORK BALANCE TRUMPS A WORK-LIFE BALANCE
One of the huge benefits of a hosted desktop is that a work-life balance is far easier to achieve. For instance, last Christmas I was able to attend my son’s Nativity play without it having any impact on my workday. I worked from home prior to the performance, starting work as soon as I was ready and saving around an hour on the commute etc. Once the Nativity was over – he rocked by the way, apart from refusing to wear his wise man outfit – I had the option to work the rest of the day from home or head in to the office. I decided to work from home because I could then fit my normal number of working hours in before 5pm.
With a traditional desktop set up I would have had to make up time later that day, or soon after, as I wouldn’t be able to fit in my normal working hours before 5pm. Being able to start work early and cut out the commute made all the difference. Being able to catch my son’s performance meant a lot, not only to me but also to my son who was desperate for me to be there. It could even be said that with a hosted desktop it becomes possible to fit work around your life, introducing the concept of a life-work balance as opposed to the old-fashioned notion of a work-life balance. The switch in emphasis is on putting life and family before work – when suitable and acceptable to your employer of course – rather than squeezing your life and family in simply when you can, say on weekends and evenings if they’re lucky. As long as you work your hours and produce quality work then who cares exactly when you do it?
2. STAGGERING PRODUCTIVITY GAINS: JUST DO THE MATH
When running applications, even resource hungry applications, the hosted desktop experience is super-speedy. My 10ZiG has very limited graphics processing power, but it’s simply not necessary as the processing power of the cloud turns my extremely low-spec thin client into a high-powered beast. Of course, it’s not the actual thin client that provides the power, rather the server in the data centre I’m connecting to. The thin client is just a conduit to hosted desktop greatness. In the past I’ve had machines that took 5 minutes to load my favourite graphics package, and even then the display driver would often crash. With the power of hosted desktop my favourite graphics package now loads in around 10 seconds. There’s also zero lag while editing my images, something that I found excruciatingly painful when using a traditional desktop PC in my previous role. Now, making a simple image edit takes less than a minute, as opposed to nearer to ten.
In addition to the super-speedy boot-up I’m also able to shut down my hosted desktop session in next to no time. As someone who likes to have several (thousand) browser tabs open at a time (yes I’m that guy), not to mention multiple documents in numerous applications such as Outlook, Excel and Word, this has been a massive time saver for me. With a hosted desktop you have several options when it comes to finishing up your work. My favourite feature is the disconnect button. This will close your hosted desktop session down but preserve it for later use. So, for example, I could log in the next day and continue where I left off, or I could even log in when I get home if there was something I didn’t have time to finish before leaving the office.
If I don’t need to preserve my hosted desktop session, then I can shut my applications down as per a traditional set up. However, thanks to the faster processing power of the cloud, this takes seconds rather than the several minutes I have experienced with traditional desktop set ups. Often resource-hungry applications can take an age to close, and they can frequently crash in the process.
All-in-all I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m now saving around 30 – 45 minutes a day. I’m no longer waiting for my computer or an application to load or shut down or indeed waiting for an application to do its thing once it finally does open. Not only am I more productive to the tune of circa 2.5 to 3.75 hours a week, but my sanity is also maintained. That works out at a minimum of 115 hours saved annually (if you work on the basis of 230 working days in the year). And that’s equal to approximately 3 working weeks. Multiply that by 50 – 100 employees and you soon see what a hero a hosted desktop solution could be.