The old world of work, the world of offices and desks has vanished. In its place, we find the world of remote work. Few would have predicted such a transformation, at least not in the span of a single year. Yet, following the global pandemic, the working world has undergone a revolution. Many are still scrambling to adapt.
However, the struggle isn’t just confined to the workers, but businesses too. Chief amongst the challenges the face is the question of equipment. How do you equip workers for remote work? What do they need? And, most importantly, how do you pay for it?
In this article, we’ll explore these questions, proposing strategies and solutions.
When undertaking such a monumental task, it’s vital to be thorough and meticulous. First, there are two primary questions to resolve:
- What equipment does your staff already possess?
- What equipment does your staff need to thrive?
Answering these two questions will contribute significantly to solving your dilemma. The first will cut down costs. Logically, there is no reason to procure equipment if your staff already own the item. Instead, propose reimbursing staff for their equipment use, particularly for the use of ink.
The second point allows you to identify needs. Certain roles will require specific equipment. If a person works in accounts, handling confidential or sensitive information, then a lockable filing cabinet is a must. For graphic designers or programmers, high-quality monitors will significantly increase their productivity and work quality.
There are, of course, essentials everyone will need. The most obvious is a laptop, alongside monitors, keyboards, and mice. However, an aspect people often fail to consider is software.
Generally speaking, there are two software packages you will need to purchase: video conferencing and cloud storage.
Video conferencing will be the central hub of communication. It will allow the free flow of information within a company. However, it will also enable your employees to schedule meetings with clients, an essential function for maintaining good relations.
One concern many companies have is the state of their employee’s homes. Many will look presentable; however, for younger employees, this may not be the case. Therefore, invest in virtual backgrounds. Zoom backgrounds such as Hello Backgrounds will replace any backdrop with a digital alternative. There are hundreds of different HD photos and videos from which to choose. However, setting the same company wide background can give an extremely professional image.
Meanwhile, cloud storage enables the rapid and easy sharing of files. Suppose you need to send a document or have it freely available within a department or companywide. In that case, cloud storage is the way to go. Plus, it will back up all your data so that you won’t risk one of your most valuable assets.
The cost: Who pays?
The big question on every company’s mind. How do you pay for this large-scale investment? Broadly, there are three primary payment models.
- The employee buys everything.
- The employer buys everything.
- The employer buys only the basics.
Option 1 is likely to lead to resentment. Many workers are stretched financially at present. An employer could make the point that working from home leads to savings in commuting and more. However, there are significant savings for the employer, in regards to office space. Additionally, workers who have invested in their equipment have less incentive to stay. Freelance working is increasingly popular, or they might get snatched by another company. Plus, new equipment can help attract new talent.
Option 3 is likely to be the most popular. However, the dividing line on the basics will differ. Some companies, due to financial constraints, will only be able to afford a laptop and a few other pieces. Others will classify the basics more comprehensively. The important thing is to establish clear rules and codify them in company policy. That way, anyone who joins will know what to expect.
Regarding option 2, there are two different versions. Tech companies like Twitter and Google have opted to provide employees with a lump sum to set up a home office. With the money, people can buy desks, chairs, as well as other equipment. The flexibility is pretty useful, as some people are still working from their kitchen tables. However, you’re not likely to get any bulk discounts.
Conversely, an employer may decide to buy everything in bulk and then distribute them to their employees. There is no right or wrong method. Either one may suit a company’s situation.