Work, they say, is no longer a location—it’s an activity. That means the IT department has a major role to play in making sure work can be done from anywhere, including if the employee never leaves home. Even if you don’t want to dictate what employees use in terms of technology, it’s still a good idea to provide advice.
Your hardware or mine?
If your employees don’t have work laptops they can take home, it’s worth detailing the minimum specifications for a home computer.
Don’t assume your employee will automatically buy a computer equivalent to or better than their work machine. Few employees would be able to tell you (or a salesman) the specifications of their work computer.
Employees aren’t going to be productive at home if they’re working on an under-powered machine.
The right monitor
An external monitor will boost productivity and doesn’t have to be expensive, so having some recommendations here is a good idea as well.
Video conferencing is becoming the norm for keeping in touch with a team. Solutions from Cisco and Microsoft can have these options baked into their software.
At whose expense?
The employee is going to need software. If you’re not providing a laptop loaded with the applications your company provides, who’s going to pay for it? You might have a two-tier system where you expect the employees to pay for software they might need for personal reasons as well—like Microsoft Office—but provide enterprise software they wouldn’t otherwise use.
What applications are minimum requirements? This is an especially important question if you aren’t willing to pay for them all. Software costs could add considerably to an employee’s expense setting up a home office.
This isn’t negotiable. You should have policies requiring minimum standards and installing updates regardless of who owns the machine.
Employees are going to need to access information from your servers and the cloud while collaborating with their colleagues. A good Internet connection is essential. Are there recommendations you can make or is there a deal you can strike with your preferred ISP?
The done-for-you home office
Employees working from home is the way of the future, but it raises understandable concerns with IT professionals.
One potential solution is to come to an arrangement with your IT vendor to provide equipment and service to employees similar to what they receive in the office. A recent survey of 8,600 workers by global recruitment firm Hays found that more than half were prepared to drop their pay up to 20 percent to be allowed to work from home. If you’re willing to take a pay cut to work from home, it shouldn’t be a big leap to invest in a company-approved home office setup instead.
Your bargaining power with your vendor can be used to negotiate a price that makes this attractive to employees while you have the comfort of knowing they’re using suitable tools. It’s a win-win.
If you’re interested in learning more about setting up a home office for your employees, let’s chat.