For decades, we all shuttled into our offices, sat at our desk, and set about work. We never thought about the facilities and resources at our fingertips. Yet, this was precisely the purpose of an office: to connect employees with the tools they need to succeed.
Then the pandemic erupted.
For office workers, their home has become their new place of work, and will likely remain so into the future. Even once the pandemic passes, many workers have expressed an interest in remote work, at least on a part-time basis.
For businesses, this presents significant challenges. Equipping employees during a gradual evolution into remote work is one thing, equipping an entire office’s worth of people is an entirely different matter. Therefore, employers need to consider their plan of action carefully. Few have the funds available to splash cash, particularly with the global economy at a standstill.
To help, we’ve put together this handy guide, with some tips and hints to consider when equipping remote workers during the pandemic.
The Basics: What Do People Have?
First things first: what do people have? There’s no point purchasing excess equipment that people already possess. If someone has a printer at home, don’t send them a new one: reimburse them for ink.
Therefore, start the procurement process by getting your employees to list the equipment they already have and the equipment they need. Knowing the basics will help you save money and get your employees working again, as soon as possible.
Some obvious candidates stand out: laptops, mice, keyboards. In some professions, such as coding or graphic design, multiple monitors are also essential.
Additionally, consider any software requirements. Devoid of in-person interaction, you will need a video conferencing platform for your employees to be able to communicate and share ideas. This will be where all your meetings and conferences take place, so invest in a worthwhile and reliable system.
One concern many employers express is the state of their employee’s homes when on a video call. After all, not every employee in their twenties can afford a high-quality apartment or house. Therefore, consider investing in virtual backgrounds. At Hello Backgrounds, they have a virtual background zoom that will be compatible with, as well as other conferencing apps. They have hundreds of different HD photos and videos from which to choose. Also, consider assigning the same virtual background to all staff, to give your business a distinctive and professional image.
Special Requirements: What Do People Need?
After you’ve sorted out the basics, you can start considering any unique requirements people need. These are items that won’t apply to everyone but are essential for some jobs.
If a person’s role requires the receipt and distribution of confidential files and information, consider purchasing them a lockable filing cabinet. Therefore, guaranteeing the protection of company information. Whereas, if they are required to send documents, they need a printer.
For people with specific medical issues, like back pain, purchasing an ergonomic chair can reduce the frequency of the problems. It might seem like an added expense, but you’ll gain the money back in increased productivity and reduce sick days.
Specific software packages are another useful consideration. Graphic packages like photoshop are helpful for designers. At the same time, basics like Adobe Acrobat Pro can speed up people’s work rate and improve their efficiency.
Explore the different options available and keep an open mind about requirements. Things that initially might not seem like a sound investment may prove to help your staff significantly.
The Funding Model
Finally, the big question: how do you fund procurement?
There are broadly three different funding models:
- The company buys everything.
- The company buys the basics and expects the employee to buy the rest.
- The employee is expected to buy everything.
Point 1 can also be broken down into two further options:
(a) the company purchases everything in bulk, and (b) the company provides a set amount of money for the employee to go out and buy everything. The first will likely come with a discount due to the size of the purchases; however, it will require distribution to the employees’ homes. In contrast, the latter option requires the employer to trust the employee to spend the money wisely.
The funding model you decide upon should be the one you stick with into the future. Future remote workers will want a reliable and understandable system; now is the time to decide. Naturally, the choice will depend upon the funds available. However, consider the financial implications for your employees if asked to foot the bill. Instead of making it a one-sided decision, discuss it with your employees, and attempt to come to an equitable arrangement.