When business leaders made their predictions for the year ahead, none saw the pandemic coming. Yet, there can be little doubt it has defined the year; setting in motion trends that will change the business landscape for good. Amongst the most significant changes has been the move towards remote work. Prior to the present year, it had been a growing and persistent trend. Yet, from the advent of the lockdown, the change was set to revolutionize the business landscape.
One significant problem, however, was the rapid nature of the transformation. Prior trends gave businesses time to adapt to new methods of work. The computer didn’t erupt onto the scene overnight. Rather decades of slow and gradual change led to the modern world of work. Today, businesses are being forced to adapt in a matter of months. It is forcing companies to equip their employees as quickly as the pandemic progresses.
Such a monumental challenge raises significant issues. Many companies lack the funds to conduct a large-scale overhaul of their equipment. But, with working from home set to stay, workers will need at least the bare essentials to maintain their productivity.
Here are some tips to consider.
What do they need?
The need should drive your procurement strategy. Begin by following two steps:
- Enquire what equipment the company and employees already possess.
- Identify the specific needs of different roles and accompanying equipment.
If your employees already have a laptop as standard, then you won’t need to purchase anymore. However, if you have formerly relied upon a desktop setup, then laptops are an essential item. You may also consider buying keyboards, mice, and monitors. Working on a small laptop can significantly slow workers down. It might seem like an added expense. However, increased efficiency and productivity will pay dividends.
Moreover, other items, such as printers, fax machines, and filing cabinets which employees have at home, can be put to use. Naturally, you will need to reimburse employees for expenses, such as ink.
Next, by identifying the roles, you can allocate more specialist equipment on a need basis. Multiple HD monitors aren’t necessary for a job in accounts. Yet, for coders or graphic designers, it can be essential. Furthermore, for people dealing with confidential company information, safe storage is a must. You don’t want to have a significant data breach.
Software: The forgotten essential
When acquiring equipment, people focus on stuff. Desks, laptops, and printers. Rarely do they consider software? Yet, it is equally as important as any other equipment. In fact, the software can make or break the success of a company.
There are two primary pieces of software for remote work success: cloud storage and virtual conferencing.
The former handles the transmission of files and data. Emails are useful for sending short messages. You can even attach the odd document. However, as a means of centralised data storage, it is inadequate. Your remote employees need to be able to access files continually; doing so, anytime and anywhere. Cloud storage allows the instantaneous and reliable sharing of information. There is no competition.
Second, virtual conferencing provides the communication medium. It is the hub for meetings, both internally and with clients. Many platforms also host chat messengers for quick conversations. In the modern-day, no remote work is complete without it.
Plus, virtual conferencing also hosts a range of extras: virtual whiteboards, screen-sharing, and recording meetings. These bonuses give them a leg up on the traditional meeting. However, there is an additional piece of accompanying software: the virtual background. If you are concerned about employees’ messy homes, virtual backgrounds are the essential fix. Hello, Background’s zoom virtual background video and photos, replace your employee’s backdrops with any from their selection. With hundreds to choose from, it’s the ultimate way to give a professional image.
Footing the bill
Naturally, such expense comes with a question: who pays? There are three payment methods:
- The company purchases everything.
- The company purchases the essentials. The employee buys the rest.
- The employee purchases everything.
In the first, there are two further options. Either the company provides a lump sum, from which all equipment is purchased, or they buy the kit then send it to the employees. The former costs more, but you don’t have to worry about distributing the equipment. It does, however, provide a set price for procurement: handy for the finance department.
For some companies, they’ll only be able to afford the essentials. However, if you decide to put the onus on the employee, consider the consequences. Many will resent the financial impact. It might even lead to problems with retention. After all, if you own the means of work, what’s to stop you jumping ship or going freelance?