Though many employers have been forced to invest in a remote workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many reasons why this may become a long-term arrangement. According to the U.S. Census of 2017, about 5.2% of the workforce worked from home. Though this may seem minor, this figure amounted to 8 million people. It’s projected that by the end of this decade, roughly 73% of all employers will have remote employees.

It’s not merely because of the pandemic that employers and employees are embracing this system. Remote work often allows employees to be more comfortable, happier, and ultimately more productive. Furthermore, employers are able to cut costs by removing the costs associated with renting and maintaining an office space.

However, cutting office costs does not mean that employers can eliminate those costs entirely. Employers still need to invest in their employees’ virtual offices and provide them with necessary hardware. But the question for many can be how to maintain that hardware and ensure that employees are properly supported despite working remotely. Below are some of the hardware management issues that should be considered when employers invest in hardware for their remote workforce.

1. Consider a Checkout System

Not all remote employees are going to be fully remote. Some may circulate in and out of the office, which would mean that they may need to use laptops at certain points and desktops at others. The problem this presents is that it can be difficult to keep track of hardware without a good check-in and check-out system. In that case, hardware like laptops, microphones, and headsets would be logged by one employee whenever others took them out of the office. In a more tech-capable setting, it may actually be a good idea to invest in a software system that would attach a scannable barcode to every item. Therefore, much like a library book, the equipment could be checked in and out of the office — making it would be easy for employers to ascertain who had what piece of equipment and for how long. This minimizes the risk of theft and furthermore dissuades carelessness that could cause damage in the long term.

2. Provide Equipment For Long-Term Remote Employees

The reality is that many employees will need to work remotely for the long term. This means that they need to have hardware that they can rely upon. Even if employees have technology that they can work with at home, they should not be forced to rely upon their own computers and printers. Employees should minimally be provided with laptops and basic laptop accessories, as well as headsets, microphones, and printers along with all associated software. This will not only make life easier for them, but it will also increase security for their employers. Hardware management systems will make it possible for employers to track where pieces of equipment are, as well as how they are being used.

3. Utilize Professional IT Services

IT services are regular components of a typical office. However, they become even more important when employees are working remotely and are particularly crucial for hardware management purposes. When employees run into technological issues in the office, they can easily turn to technicians to have those issues resolved. It isn’t quite as simple when employees work remotely. But IT professionals can still service hardware from remote locations. Technological advancements even allow IT professionals to access devices remotely, which means that they can make remote repairs. Ultimately, this ensures that employees are able to use their equipment the way that they need to and work without interruption.

4. Invest In Updated Equipment

To ease the transition to a remote workforce for employees, it may be a good idea for companies to invest in updated equipment. While some companies balk at the idea of allowing employees brand new computers and other types of hardware, this suggests a certain level of trust and furthermore makes it easier for employees to work efficiently. The most important thing is making remote work easier.

Providing hardware management for employees transitioning to remote work can be tricky at first. However, it’s crucial to accommodate employees, ensure that they have the resources they need, and promote an efficient work environment.