Fully Equipped and Ready to Go: How to Manage Equipment with Your Remote Workforce

laptop on a table

So, your company made the decision to engage a remote workforce. Now what? It’s time to look at the basics that make up the foundation of a successful team such as communication, workflow, task delegation and performance measurement. All of these fundamentals are expected by your remote team and usually take up a considerable amount of planning and resources.

Companies are sometimes caught off guard by the need to make upfront investments in technology and equipment for a remote workforce, yet these investments are crucial for empowering workers and building a successful team.

Here is a checklist to help you determine what your remote team may need in terms of equipment and technology. 

  • Regulatory compliance: Did you know more governments are rolling out legislation to regulate how companies engage digital nomads and manage remote workers? Many times, these policies contain provisions for equipment and technology. Therefore, to start, it is important to research and determine if there are any policies in place that may legally impact how you provide equipment and technology to remote workers.
  • Heed caution with independent contractors: In most countries, independent contractors (or freelancers) must provide their own equipment. Even if your company wishes to provide them with equipment, doing so can put you at risk for permanent establishment and misclassification violations. 
  • Make a list: Create a standard, comprehensive list of all office equipment, devices and programs a team member may need. Once this list is created, you should determine what your company will provide. Examples include:
    • Laptop or computer
    • Additional monitor
    • Mouse
    • Keyboard
    • USB sticks
    • Phone/mobile
    • Docking station
    • Webcam/backlight
    • Headset
    • HDMI cable
    • Printer
    • Office furniture
    • White-noise machines (very helpful for those who work in noisy environments!)
    • Stationery
  • Budgeting is key: Determine how equipment and technology will be paid for. Some companies choose to provide everything while others may only provide the basics, such as a laptop. Companies may provide an additional technology stipend to cover a worker’s discretionary or extra expenses.
  • Grant access: Identify all the tools and credentials your remote worker will need in order to access your company infrastructure, such as: 
    • Company email suite, such as Gmail or Outlook
    • Remote access software
    • Project Management systems such as Basecamp, Asana, ClickUp, etc.
    • Messaging programs, such as Teams or Slack
    • Content Management systems such as WordPress, Shopify, WordPress, Wix, etc
    • Company social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, TikTok
    • External communication tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, TrueConf
    • Cloud storage sites such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
    • Payroll software
  • Technology onboarding is a must: Your remote workers will have varying technology prowess and familiarity with the programs your company uses. By providing a formal onboarding, you can help set team members up for success from the start.
  • Cybersecurity is a chief concern: As teams increasingly work remotely, company data is spread across devices and clouds that are sometimes not even owned by the company. In a global and remote workplace, maintaining cybersecurity becomes even more challenging. Be sure to consult with IT specialists to understand your risks and how to best administer equipment and technology.
  • Protect worker data: When you employ a workforce, you acquire a great deal of personal data from each worker. It is your responsibility to protect this data from bad actors. Sometimes there are formal regulations in place for managing such data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. 
  • Intellectual property is mission-critical: Consider how team members will access your company’s proprietary data, making sure your intellectual property is protected as much as possible.
  • Future-proof the team: It is important for remote companies to continuously provide resources such as regular training and workshops on technology applications, cybersecurity and data privacy.
  • Share the responsibility: It is recommended that companies draft and have workers sign a data privacy and equipment agreement, which can help outline priorities and responsibilities. 
  • Listen to your workforce: It is helpful if you annually survey or ask team members about their experience with equipment and technology. This can help determine if there are expenses that may not be necessary or if there are other investments that should be made. 
  • Localize the worker experience: Remote teams may be employing workers from markets around the world. When it comes to payroll, it is helpful if your workers have access to support in their native language and in their timezone. 
  • Don’t forget about offboarding: Apart from onboarding, a formal process should exist for when workers leave your company, whether on good or bad terms. This will include items such as:
    • Disabling company email and suite access
    • Setting up proper email forwarding (so as not to miss any emails that may come through)
    • Revoking access to any external programs or websites (with password changes when appropriate)
    • Retrieving pieces of equipment assigned by your company
    • Storing or distributing the pieces of retrieved equipment
    • Communicating staff change to colleagues, partners and clients
  • Consider engaging an Employer of Record: There are a lot of compliance and administration responsibilities when it comes to managing equipment and technology for a remote workforce. Engaging an Employer of Record (EOR) partner can help mitigate many of the corporate risks associated with managing a remote workforce. They can advise you on the technology and equipment needs your remote team may have. 

Download our ‘What is an EOR?’ guide or contact us to talk with an international HR expert about how an EOR solution can help you compliantly and efficiently administer equipment and technology to a remote workforce.