What is the Best Way to Equip a New Remote Employee?
The mobile workforce trend and supporting technology have been fantastic for businesses who know how to use it. Especially companies that are comfortable hiring remote employees. The War for Talent is far less vicious when you can reach out and hire employees from all over the country (or all over the world) and not even require them to relocate to your home city.
A remote employee is just as capable of logging into work every day, taking calls, participating in group efforts, and submitting their computer-based work as someone sitting inside your office or telecommuting from a few miles away.
Equipping Remote Employees with the Best Kit Possible
The only question is how you should go about equipping them. Employees in the office sit at workstations, and you can outright ask them what they need for mobile or home office work that they might do. But what about remote employees? How do you put together an enticing, useful, and all-bases-covered package of equipment to send over that will keep your remote employees on-task and in-the-loop? We have your answers.
Every mobile equipment kit starts with a laptop computer. Whether your company trends toward ephemeral MacBooks, sturdy Lenovos, or something in between, make sure your remote employees are working with equipment similar to what others are using.
If you don't have a strong laptop preference for your teams, ask your remote employees what kind of laptop they work best with to optimize their workflow based on past experience.
Wireless Hotspot with Unlimited Data Plan
Wireless hotspots are something every employee outside the office should be equipped with. For employees who travel or work outside the home in coffee shops or with clients, a wireless hotspot ensures that they never fall victim to the "Free wifi network" honeypot trap of hackers. And that they can always connect anywhere with strong cell-signal.
For remote employees, it's best to assume that you have no idea where they'll be working and that providing a hotspot is just a good best-practice. If you can score a bulk deal on unlimited data hotspots for employees, this can also ensure that working for you does not over-tax a remote employee's metered internet at home.
There's no need to require an employee to provide their cell number (or even to have a cellphone) when your company runs on VOIP. Cloud phones are ideal for remote employees who will already be connecting via high-speed internet and from any possible location or device.
They can be halfway across the world and on the same communication network as their coworkers at the same time. A VOIP number also enables remote employees to stay connected and to check in even in emergency situations where normal devices or work locations are unavailable, for whatever reason.
Company Email Address
The tradition of offering a company email address is falling out of fashion as everyone gets mobile and BYOD spreads to other aspects of business life. While it's true that you can and should know a remote employee's normal email address, you may also want to provide a secured company email address with greater data security and hacker protections than the commercial-grade email your new remote hires likely have for personal use.
Project Collaboration Platform
Hand-in-Hand with company email and VOIP number is access to your project collaboration platform. You may have a specific site, cloud service, or shared software that you prefer to use for this, or you may have integrated your VOIP cloud communications platform for the purpose.
Either way, your remote employees need a way to share documents, participate in team project efforts, and to stay in constant live-chat conversations with their team members. The more interactive and feature-rich your collaboration platform, the better.
Most laptops come with a webcam and microphone that can be used for VOIP and video calls. But you can't always guarantee that a remote employee will be somewhere quiet when they need to communicate. Or somewhere they can openly play sound.
A quality headset with good headphones and a background-noise-filtering microphone is the best way to ensure remote employees can always take and make calls with clean audio.
Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
Some remote employees are comfortable using a touch-pad and laptop keyboard for their work, but some work and work-styles are done with independent control devices. One way to really show your remote employees that you care and encourage their work style is to send over a high-quality wireless mouse and keyboard just in case they need refined control or want to kick back and type with their feet on the desk.
Portable Charging Battery
A portable battery charger should go in any remote or mobile employee kit. A battery that can charge up USB devices away from any available outlet is priceless in the moments when it is truly needed. If you already have these available for employees who work out of the office or take business trips, toss one into your remote employee care package as well to help them work more capably from absolutely anywhere.
Magnetic USB Cables
As a final creative touch, consider including a pack of magnetic break-away cables and a packet of versatile USB nubbins. These cables are cutting-edge and extremely useful for managing a small fleet of devices. Plus they will make an incredible impression on remote employees who have never had such a convenient USB charging solution before.
Equipping remote employees is a fantastic way to get them on-board, make sure that jobs are not BYOD-dependent, and make an incredible first impression on new remote hires. For more insights into business communication technology from every possible angle, contact us today or check out more articles in the blog!