Financial Considerations for Remote Employee Devices and Tech
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Whether your company was considering a transition to remote work or not, the COVID-19 pandemic likely tipped your hand. Today, most companies have some experience with remote employees and many are trying to find the right balance between requiring their people to be at the office versus allowing them to be completely remote.
If your company is in the process of making this exact determination, there are a lot of things to consider. Do your employees work well from home or does the type of work you do require that they be physically present in the office? And what are the costs and savings that the company is experiencing with this transition?
One thing that many companies are considering is the cost to outfit their remote employees with the technology they need to successfully work from home. For some companies, it is simple; just a personal computer and an internet connection will do. But for others, it can get complicated fast. Determining what technology your employees need in order to be successful remote workers can be an important component in determining your company’s overall teleworking policy.
Remote Work Status Quo
To start, it can be valuable to gain an understanding of what the norm is. What are other companies doing to provide tech to their remote employees and what are the conditions that led them to make these decisions? Larger companies such as Facebook or Google may have more resources that make it easier to supply employees with the equipment they need to do everything from home. Your company’s budget may be smaller, so some concessions may need to be made.
Fortunately, that isn’t all that uncommon either. In fact, there are multiple levels of company-provided supplies for employees who telework such as:
- BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – employees are responsible for providing their own equipment and tech support to complete their work. This can be a great option for contract workers or employees who are not handling sensitive or complicated information and tech needs are minimal.
- CYOD – Choose Your Own Device – companies require that employees use a certain type of device that connects to business software. Typically, employees pay for the equipment and tech support may or may not be provided by the company. This is a good option for companies that utilize some basic software and need employees to be on the same page.
- COPE – Company Owned/Personally Enabled – companies may provide the tech equipment and IT support, but employees still have a bit of flexibility with personal use of the equipment. This may be a good option for companies that provide employees with work phones or have tech that requires some cybersecurity protection and synchronized software.
- COBO – Company Owned/Business Only – the company will provide whatever equipment and tech support is needed to complete the job remotely, but there is a strict policy that the tech can only be used for work purposes. This option is a good choice for companies that need a higher level of security or need employees to keep personal and work things wholly separated.
Each choice of personal equipment responsibility has its pros and cons. For instance, making employees responsible for their own tech may drive down equipment costs for the company but it can also hurt productivity and retention if employees are struggling to pay for expensive software just to do the work.
What Tech Do Your Employees Actually Need
Regardless of who is responsible for the equipment, it is also essential to determine exactly what remote employees will need to get their jobs done effectively. For some, it will literally be as simple as a computer and an internet connection. For others, you will need to weigh the costs of determining whether thousands of dollars for each employee is worth it.
An employee who is highly involved in creative or digital marketing may need things like a drawing board and software subscriptions to upload and modify designs online. Some employees may need access to equipment like printers, copiers, or shredders to dispose of hard copies after they have been saved on the cloud software the company provides. While others may just need a work phone covered on a company plan.
Still, some employers may be interested in providing additional, non-essential tech to support other programs. Things like company-provided smartwatches can be used to motivate employees to stay active during the day and achieve wellness goals. Many businesses see active, healthy employees as an asset that saves the company money and increases production, and are happy to contribute to that effort.
Putting Ideas into Policy
Once your company has a solid idea of the equipment your remote employees will need to do their jobs and a strategy for getting them that equipment, the next step is to put it into company policies. As the company pulls together this policy, take the time to evaluate the IT and cybersecurity components that will impact remote employees as these can be critical aspects to remaining successful.
Finally, start to make a long-term plan for how your policies will work in the future. If you are marketing using social media, how will that look in the next year? What about 5 years? What are the anticipated needs of your remote employees who are going to be doing this marketing? Setting clear goals, metrics of success, and marketing needs are important aspects.
Considering the implications of and developing a plan to support the tech and equipment needs of your remote employees is an important component of overall success. Take time to really assess the types of tech and equipment employees might need while working from home and whether or not the company is going to be able to reasonably provide it. After a solid plan has been drafted, work towards putting it into company policy and developing long-term goals to help keep the company, and its remote employees, moving forward.
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