What office equipment should you provide your remote workers?

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In spite of remote work being commonplace today, many business owners are still skeptical of it because of the considerable risks that come with minimal supervision and numerous distractions. They may be surprised to know that employees are actually more productive when working from home, according to a study by Airtasker.

On average, employees working remotely spend 1.4 more days working in a month (16.8 more days in a year) compared to those working in an office.

As a business owner, you can further boost your remote workforce’s productivity by providing them with the right equipment. Deciding what to provide remote workers with depends on several factors, including your budget, business goals, and staff’s tasks and responsibilities. Here are four options to consider when allocating office equipment to your staff:

#1 Provide all necessary equipment for a home office setup

This entails recreating a conducive work environment by providing them with all the devices, including a computer, phone, printer, scanner, office furniture, and the like. You can even provide them with furniture, like a chair and desk, which they’d otherwise have in the office.

Many remote workers consider this the perfect option because they won’t have to worry about procuring their own equipment. All they’ll have to do is find a place to set all these up.

Choosing this approach offers several advantages. You’d have greater control over the tools and devices they use to work, and it’d be easier to ensure compatibility with the equipment in your office. This would also make information security and tech support simpler.

What’s more, this places your remote workers on an equal footing, which could boost morale and, ultimately, lead to higher productivity.

The downside of this option is that it’s costly. You’d have to shoulder the expenses associated with purchasing and delivering the equipment to an employee’s home. And in the event that they leave the company, you’d have to face the prospect of taking these back or selling it to them.

#2 Provide only a laptop and peripherals

This is a popular choice among businesses, as this yields almost the same security and support benefits as the all-out approach, but at a lower cost. It’s a great solution for small businesses and startups that have limited resources and need to quickly expand their workforce.

A potential drawback is that your remote workers might feel like you’re skimping on their equipment, especially if the work they do requires better or more tools and devices. For instance, graphics tablets are necessary tools for digital artists and illustrators. If you can’t provide your employees with these, then you might lose some goodwill with them.

#3 Provide a technology stipend

The key advantage of this option is flexibility. Your employees could acquire their own equipment using the allowance given to them. Just remember to specify clear tech requirements, and make sure that whatever they get is compatible with your equipment at the office.

Instead of procuring the equipment yourself, you could just set a reasonable stipend for devices (e.g., a laptop and monitors) and maybe even furniture (e.g., a computer table). You could let them spend more, out of their own pocket, if they prefer a different option.

One downside of this approach is that providing support could be challenging. If your employee has a computer problem and they’re the only one with that particular model or brand, they might have to get it fixed on their own. This could lead to downtime and frustration.

#4 Let them use their own devices

This is the best option if you wish to avoid the hefty price tag and administrative burden. You could simply set minimum standards or tech requirements for the devices they’ll be using, and leave it up to them to come up with a system that works.

You could also provide a list of tools and applications to keep their devices secure, as well as to communicate and collaborate with other employees. But because you’ll have no control over the equipment your employees are using, you won’t be able to ensure compatibility nor timely security and support services.

Although you could explore solutions to overcome remote work security, another drawback of this approach is that you’re forfeiting a “loyalty” benefit. Because your employees are using their own equipment, it would be easy for them to leave the company should a better offer come along.

Whichever option you choose for your remote workers, it’s important that you formalize this policy and use it across the board. Don’t play favorites and offer every employee the same level of support.

To help maximize productivity wherever your employees may be, work with a managed IT services provider like Integrated Technology Services. Want to know what else we can do for your business? Call us now.

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