The upfront costs in office tech and equipment for remote work, though necessary, have the ability to catch some organizations by surprise.
Your organization has decided to hire remote workers. The next thing is to figure out how to handle all the issues of the new situation. There are obvious needs such as communication, task assignment, and performance evaluation to be considered.
All of this is to be expected. However, it usually results in a lot of thought and planning. Furthermore, the upfront expenditure on technology and office equipment is often quite daunting.
It’s up to each company to decide how much to offer telecommuters. In addition, they must decide how much the workers must furnish for themselves. Freelancers, on the other hand, are normally required to provide all of their own equipment.
Here are some of the alternatives for providing office equipment. In addition, we’ve included some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Option 1: Provide all essential office tech and equipment, such as a laptop computer, phone, printer, and chair.
For a remote worker, this would be dubbed “the Cadillac plan.” According to this method, her company gives her a laptop, computer monitors, and a cell phone. In addition, they provide a printer and fax machine if the job demands it. After that, they possibly even provide office furniture such as a chair and a lockable filing cabinet.
Taking this strategy has a number of benefits. For starters, you have complete control over the equipment that your remote employee uses. That makes ensuring compatibility with your office’s technology much easier. In addition, information security and tech support flow nicely from this setup.
Additionally, this strategy puts the remote worker on an equal footing with her coworkers in the home office. This boosts morale and, in turn, productivity.
The pricing of this plan is the biggest disadvantage. It might be costly to buy all of this office tech and equipment. In addition, having it delivered to and set up at an employee’s home office only adds to the expense. As a result, if or when the employee leaves the company, you have to decide whether to sell it to her or return it to the company.
Option 2: Provide only a laptop.
For many businesses, this is a popular alternative. It provides some of the same security and support benefits as buying everything. However, it is a much less expensive option.
Some goodwill is perhaps lost with your remote workers with this method. If you expect them to provide all of their other office tech and equipment, it might cause some difficulty. Suppose you say they need two displays to go with that laptop. However, if they can only afford one, you might have an issue on your hands.
You also risk making your telecommuters feel bad. They might feel like second-class citizens in comparison to their office-bound counterparts. If you get comments like these, simply explain that it’s the cost of working from home. In addition, remind them that they do not have to commute, and so on. While this is true logically, it may not be a powerful motivation.
Despite these disadvantages, this may be the best option for smaller businesses or startups. Some companies use this method when they don’t have a lot of capital but need to swiftly expand their employees.