Buying business hardware is no longer as simple as purchasing a desktop PC. Options are growing, with laptops, all-in-ones and tablets forming just a few of the choices available.

At the same time, business needs are changing, with an increasing number of employees working remotely or out on the field. This is resulting in an increase in the take-up of cloud, as users take advantage of the mobility offered by more flexible devices.

When selecting hardware, businesses need to consider devices that will take them from the office, to remote working scenarios and beyond. With so much to choose from, how do companies navigate the options?

Windows 8.1

A flexible operating system is integral. By selecting devices running Microsoft Windows 8, businesses are able to take advantage of multiple hardware platforms depending on the preferences or business needs of each employee.

As a result, Windows 8.1 gives control to the business. For example, the operating system allows IT to control the layout of the 'start' screen on company-issued devices to ensure key apps are easily accessible. IT can also prevent users from customising their start screen to ensure consistency across individual workgroups.

Desktop and all-in-ones

The desktop is a fail-safe and, despite some predictions, it is certainly not dead yet. As well as being optimised for touchscreen, Windows 8.1 is perfect for PCs with a mouse and keyboard.

Desktops and all-in-ones also have a large screen for in-office use, plus power and memory to act as storage for big projects.

Laptop

Another trusted business device, laptops are useful both in the office and out. A laptop allows users to take on big projects on a portable workstation built to handle even the most powerful and demanding programs.

Laptops contain PC-like functionality and multiple ports to connect external hard drives, peripherals, Ethernet, and HDMI cables. Some employees prefer laptops to PCs: just add a separate keyboard and mouse and users can work from anywhere.

And Dell's Windows 8 light and portable laptops offer performance, style and security features to enhance users' productivity whatever their location.

Tablet

Tablets are increasingly useful for working on the move, right from sales people out at client meetings, to employees sending late night work emails. Using Windows 8, there is no need to turn on your PC: it is possible to log in to any office machines running Windows 8 with your Microsoft account. Users will see their own background, display preferences and settings as well as any files and documents available.

Tablets can easily be taken to a meeting, or to a co-worker's desk. They can also be used to display work; give a one-to-one presentation; collaborate; and make changes on the fly.

Workstation

Depending on the nature of your business, a workstation could be the best choice for some of your employees. Dell's mobile workstations such as the Dell Precision M3800 offer certified performance for advanced analysis, engineering, manufacturing and design applications to professionals on the move.

2-in-1

A tablet that transforms into a laptop, the flexible 2-in-1 offers both portability and productivity. Users can take advantage of tablet mode to read a presentation on the commute to work, then snap a keyboard in place and get to work on a project when they arrive at the office. Smaller than an average laptop, the 2-in-1 also comes into its own for business use while travelling to events.

The verdict

With each device offering its own unique benefits, the choice is yours. For most businesses, it will make sense to select a more powerful device such as workstation, desktop or laptop in the office, choosing mobile devices to assist workers on the field.

And as the workforce becomes increasingly mobile, your choice of devices will be key to employee productivity. The more users can work on the move, the more time will be available for work to get done. And by choosing Dell devices running Windows 8.1, your business doesn't have to compromise on user experience.