In years to come, when businesses look back on 2020, one clear trend will stand out: working from home. Prior to the pandemic, remote work was the province of a few, with many companies being mistrustful of the concept. However, with lockdowns forcing employees to work from home to keep their business going, the entire idea has gone from the drawing board to a full-on reality in a matter of months.
As such, many employers have struggled to keep up with the requirements of their employees. With little to no prep time, workers cobbled together a home office from the bits and pieces lying around the house. However, the key to remote work is having the right equipment. Without the tools of the trade, employees are limited in the capacity of what they can achieve.
Therefore, it is vital companies are aware of any tools and tips that can help equip their remote employees. Read on to find out more.
Computers and Software
First and foremost, your employees will need the absolute basics. Computers are essential, usually taking the form of a laptop. There are few jobs left that can be done without them. You might even add in a monitor or two and a keyboard. Working on a small laptop can decrease productivity and efficiency, frustrating employees.
In addition to a laptop, they will need adequate software to enable remote work. Virtual conferencing systems are a vital tool for modern communication. They allow workers to send quick messages to their colleagues, set-up essential meetings with customers or host a collaborative session with internal teams. Without such software, you may as well give up.
You may also consider investing in extras that improve the standing of your company. When presenting to clients from home, many people will have a cluttered or messy backdrop. Clients may find themselves judging your company based upon your employee’s homes. Instead, invest in specialised virtual backgrounds from Hello Backgrounds. Using green-screen technology, they hide the real background with an HD image or video, ranging from offices to board rooms or even a natural vista.
Furniture and Equipment
There are a number of additional items that won’t be necessary for everyone, but can be essential for some. A lockable filing cabinet is vital for staff handling sensitive documents or mail. Meanwhile, an ergonomic chair can stop back injuries being created or worsened. Such injuries can lead to time off work and decreased productivity.
Create a list of employee’s requirements, identifying where workers already own equipment, for example, printers. In some cases, responsibilities will need to be changed to reflect the equipment available.
Some employers leave it at that. However, with remote work likely to become a regular feature of the business landscape, such employees may feel there are better offers elsewhere. Plus, if forced to purchase their own equipment, shifting companies will never have been more natural.
Many workers will not even own a desk, struggling to get by on kitchen counters or their sofa. Others will require phones to make calls, or need other office fixtures. A programmer or graphic designer will not be able to get by without decent quality monitors (and many of them). Such extras, while not absolutely essential, are a requirement for specific jobs to function adequately.
One solution might be to give employees an allowance to purchase their necessary equipment. Many companies have already allocated $1,000 per employee to set-up their home office. At a minimum, companies should ensure employees have the right level of internet access to work from home. So employers can find benefit in supporting employees in finding internet providers for my address for the best options available on an individual basis. However, with the economy struggling, for many businesses, such expense is the difference between sinking and floating. In these cases, other answers will need to be found.
However, employers should not consider remote work to be a disaster. It can be an excellent way for your employees to live a more balanced life, and thus be healthier and happier in their job. By investing in the right equipment, you give them the tools to succeed. You may even find your productivity rises as a result.