Prior to the pandemic, some companies already adopted remote work as a common practice. However, not all businesses were receptive to this model, but many had to embrace it to survive.
The shift to remote work has brought about a new work culture where employers trust their employees to work from home. But it seems remote work is here to stay as employees have adjusted their lifestyle to accommodate an office setup in their homes.
For companies with permanent remote or hybrid workforces, it’s essential to reevaluate workplace policies and provide the necessary equipment and training to ensure productivity and security. This guide will cover essential factors to consider when providing equipment for remote workers.
Why invest in remote office equipment for virtual employees?
The pandemic has highlighted the impact large-scale events can have on a company’s office operations. Nonetheless, it remains imperative for businesses to sustain their daily operations to stay afloat, and remote work has emerged as a key survival strategy.
According to a survey by FlexJobs, 65% of the 2,100 respondents who work remotely now opt for fully remote work. Furthermore, 24% of the respondents already have a dedicated home office, while 34% have established a workspace at home.
A survey conducted by CraftJac showed, 71% of American remote workers are forced to create makeshift workspaces, which may negatively affect performance due to a lack of structure and increased uncertainty. The health implications of remote work must also be considered, as many workers reduce their physical activity by 50% or more when they switch to remote work. This can have long-term effects on productivity and harm the business as a result. To combat this, companies should supply and install the necessary equipment, ensuring that it conforms to company standards and policies. Tighter control of network security will be possible through this method while ensuring that each employee has the necessary tools for productivity.
Setting up an ideal home office for the remote worker
Every worker’s needs should be considered when designing their workstation. While providing the same equipment for all employees may seem more convenient, it is not the optimal approach.
It’s best to consider individual employee requirements when selecting office furniture and equipment such as chairs, desks, mice, keyboards, and computers. Employers should conduct surveys to identify their permanent staff’s home office needs to ensure their comfort and productivity. However, this doesn’t apply to freelancers and contractors working part-time or short-term gigs.
Nevertheless, companies must still plan for their employees’ physical needs, including any disabilities or impairments they may have, regardless of whether they are visible or not. For example, while some workers may prefer standing desks, it may not be feasible for those who rely on wheelchairs.
Providing network equipment and software security for telecommuting employees
The security of network equipment and software is imperative for employees who work remotely. Before setting up the infrastructure, employers should consider the employees’ health and physical factors. The setup process includes selecting the appropriate internet service provider and installing hardware like modems and routers
It is imperative to verify that employees’ internet speeds are adequate, especially for those who frequently participate in video conferencing meetings. Once the connection method is set, ensuring equipment and network connections are secure is important. Installing proper software and implementing network security policies are vital. Additionally, all business software used for remote work must be thoroughly evaluated for safety purposes.
Acquiring the right remote working equipment
Buying the appropriate remote working equipment for your home office is critical to the success of your job. These remote working equipment purchases are worth the investment for your virtual team employees:
Desktops and Laptops
When it comes to equipping employees, organizations have two options: laptops or desktop computers. Laptops are the preferred choice due to their mobility, which provides employees with greater flexibility. On the other hand, desktop computers are more scalable.
Furthermore, ergonomic peripheral devices such as mice and keyboards are vital for employee comfort and safety. Since people have varying physical needs, it’s important for businesses to survey their staff and provide suitable peripherals to prevent injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is advised to review the specifications before purchasing a laptop. For tasks such as research, browsing, and word processing – such as those carried out by writers, social media managers, and marketers – a notebook is an ideal choice.
On the other hand, individuals in software development, web development, and graphic design will benefit from a high-processing laptop or a buildable desktop.
A separate monitor from a laptop or a dual desktop monitor can be helpful especially if you require multiple tasks from your virtual assistant. Widescreen LED monitors, at least 24 inches are ideal to enable more content display without being too harsh on the eyes. Choose ones with different outputs such as USB-C, VGA, DVI, or HDMI for easy plug-and-play.
Noise Cancelling Headset
Virtual assistants who interact with customers via telephonic communications should have provisions for good quality headsets and microphones with noise-canceling features. More importantly, this should fit them comfortably.
While most laptops do come with built-in webcams, there are times some models do not perform well to meet work requirements. Some may be laggy, too grainy, and have low resolution. If your VA needs to participate in frequent video conference calls, this would require webcams with at least 720p up to 1080p.
Reliable High-speed Internet Connectivity
Virtual employees rely heavily on a stable internet connection to do their job efficiently. Ensuring your VA has a reliable internet service provider and network equipment could mean having to provide a monthly technical stipend to pay for a good subscription deal or include them into one account. The ideal download speed is 10mbps and an upload speed of 1mbps. Routers, modems, and Lan cables should also be ascertained.
Remote work may offer a load of convenience by doing away with the hustle and stress of daily commutes to work. However, working from home has proven to be quite detrimental to the health of virtual employees due to long hours of confinement to a chair and a work desk. Such excessive hours of seating can lead to some health cardiovascular issues along with nerve, muscle, and bone pains as well as eventual degeneration.
A standing desk has proven to reduce the risks of health issues inherent in the sedentary lifestyle of virtual employees. Studies show that working this type of desk encourages remote workers to stand up while working thereby reducing time spent sitting to 80 minutes a day.
Even with a standing desk, remote workers still need an ergonomic office chair. The need for this is basic and should not be underestimated because every employee is shaped differently.
It is nearly impossible to supply one type of chair for every remote worker and expect the same chair to conform to their level of comfortability. Funding a purchase for each virtual team member can allow them to shop individually at their nearest office furniture store where they can sit and try out the chair for themselves.
Although landlines have become virtually obsolete, many businesses require VoIP to make and receive calls. Some are not comfortable using the internet for voice calls, hence having a backup dedicated phone line can be an essential telecommuting tool for remote workers.
Most general administrative virtual assistants work with a lot of documents and will greatly benefit from using scanners to upload certain paper files into a database. Funding a purchase for a hand-held scanner or better yet, a printer, scanner, fax, and photocopying machine would be the best money-saving investment for remote employees.
Key Take Aways
While many businesses were unprepared to meet the challenges of the great virtual shift in work, adapting to new technologies was a surprising caveat for both employers and employees, forcing both to embrace the change and unlearn the old ways of working, Nonetheless, we are now at the forefront of revolutionizing the workplace with new business models and strategies for productivity. Elite Virtual Staff is proud to be part of this revolution. We understand where the future of work is headed and we’re here to guide you on how to get started armed with the right knowledge and tools. Connect with us today and let us help you and your business get to where you need to be in the future.