How to Equip Your Team to Work Remotely

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How to Equip Your Team to Work Remotely: Businesses have had a rough year. Lockdown has created a bottleneck on commerce, reducing demand. Meaning many companies are struggling to get by, as the societal shutdown lingers on. On top of this, quarantine has meant the closing of offices. In their place, workers are now expected to work from home. However, this raises a whole myriad of concerns for employers. Chief amongst which is how best to equip their team for this new normal.

With many workers expressing a desire to continue working from home, at least on a part-time basis, equipping them cannot be a quick fix. Instead, a carefully considered plan is required.

To help out, we’ve put together this guide, describing what equipment your team will need and the various funding models available.

Start with the basics: hardware

Naturally, with the money available for procurement slim on the ground, companies will need to start slow and build up. Expensive bulk orders are unlikely to be possible. Therefore, think smartly. Start by asking employees to list the equipment they already have at home. It can include items such as printers, desks, filing cabinets and more.

If your employees already have some equipment, then this can be used, saving you money. However, you will need to pay for any resources used by your employees, such as printer ink or stationery.

Next, consider the essentials. Most employees will need laptops and accompanying equipment: mouse, keyboard, monitor. Some will also need tables and chairs. In a rush at the start of lockdown, people were forced to cobble together home offices with the equipment available. They found themselves hunched over kitchen counters or in their children’s bedrooms. Purchasing ergonomic equipment, like chairs, will reduce the incidence of back pain, which can lead to a decline in productivity and an increase in sick days. Such equipment pays for itself.

Start with the basics: software

After you’ve got the hardware sorted, move onto the software. It isn’t the first consideration that comes to mind. However, having the right programs is equally as crucial as the right equipment. There are two primary software packages upon which you will rely: cloud storage and video conferencing.

Cloud storage is a method for storing data on servers elsewhere. All your employees will have access to this information. For all companies, the free flow of information is essential to everyday business. Documents will need to be exchanged. Files saved for all to access. Therefore, it is critical to get a reliable storage system in place.

Video conferencing is fast becoming the preferred method of communication. Via the internet, employees anywhere in the world can communicate with each other or with clients. They can share ideas, discuss projects, and host meetings. When working from home, video conferencing is essential.

In addition to standard video conferencing platforms, there are several extras to consider. Many employers worry about their employee’s backdrops when on a video call. They want to present a professional face to the business. Therefore, consider a virtual background. Head over to Hello Backgrounds to start your Zoom virtual background download. They have hundreds of HD photos and video from which to choose. You can pick from swanky offices to stylish boardrooms. Ensuring your employees always display a professional and slick background.

The extras

Once you’ve got the basics, move onto the extras. Go through your employees’ job descriptions, working out what extras they will need to enhance their productivity. For a graphic designer, multiple high-quality monitors are necessary. For secretarial work, filing cabinets and printers are essential, especially when handling sensitive company information.

You will need to tailor your purchases to the needs of your employees. Create a clear guide of what is required for each job and use it for future reference. It will help you keep track of the equipment purchased, as well as providing a template for new starters.

The funding

Finally, the aspect of procurement that gets the company exec’s heart racing. How do you pay for the equipment?

Several funding models are being developed. Here are the three most prominent: the employees pay for everything themselves (1), the company buys the essentials and leaves the rest to the employee (2), or the company purchases everything.

The first option is likely to annoy staff, reducing morale. Though employees will see a reduction in expenditure due to remote work (commuting costs, etc.), they may still be under financial strain. Additionally, workers who own their equipment are more likely to leave, as freelance work no longer has an expensive start-up cost.

Many employees will understand having to buy certain extras; however, they can be a perk that attracts the best talent. Furthermore, if you do decide to purchase all the equipment, you must decide on the best method. Some companies are choosing to give each employee a set amount to purchase their equipment. However, buying in bulk does reduce the costs, but requires distribution. 

How you decide to approach the problem will depend upon your unique circumstances.

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