Agile workers, remote workforce, telecommuters - whatever term your organization chooses to describe its work-from-home employees, this increasingly common work situation provides countless benefits. For employees, flexible arrangements allow for increased productivity and easier work-life balance. Employers also benefit from more productive workers and realize significant savings.
More efficient workers and lower overhead result in an estimated average savings of $10,000 per remote employee.Most of these savings come from reduced real estate and other overhead expenses. Realizing the savings, of course, requires downsizing office space and utility use to coincide with fewer workers in the office.
Since your company saves money when employees work remotely, treat them to the ultimate work-from-home experience. When your remote employees have the tools necessary for their job, productivity soars, further increasing the cost reduction benefit of remote work.
Think of a remote worker as the same as a worker in your office. You'd equip them with a comfortable chair, workspace, and other conveniences such as coffee, a break room, and others. Here are some pieces of equipment that you can buy for your remote workers so you can experience a near-immediate return on your investment.
Many have heard about the benefits of a standing desk. Sitting for eight hours a day is beneficial to no one. For those who have to sit all day, frequent breaks are often recommended. Rather than sit all day, you should set an alert and get up to stand or take a quick walk. This, of course, takes away from productivity. Remote employees tend to sit for longer periods because there is less in-person interaction with co-workers and clients.
Discourage long sedentary periods by buying a standing desk. These desks help alleviate and avoid back pain and can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, none of which are good for productivity or well-being.
You don't have to bust the bank, either. The Varidesk 49900 is a topper for an existing desk, converting your employee's home desk into a healthy workstation.
While you are adding ergonomic features to your remote employees' workstations, consider the benefits of a standing desk floor mat. These provide a soft footing, reducing stress on the back, shoulders, and knees from standing for long periods. It may seem counterintuitive; you ask your employees to stand more, then have to buy products to reduce their discomfort from standing.
However, the benefits of not sitting far outweigh the potential discomfort. Plus, a standing desk mat, such as the Imprint CumulusPro is inexpensive and effective at eliminating the trouble of prolonged standing.
While remote workers can be highly productive, many find that concentration and focus can be difficult when working from home. Although there may not be the distraction of other employees, home life can step in and interfere, be it in the form of noises in the neighborhood or from kids making a ruckus after getting off the school bus. Noise-canceling headphones are useful in dialing focus into one's day.
As a bonus, many noise-canceling headphones, such as the Bose QuietComfort 25, have integrated controls for accessing Siri through a separate Apple device. Noise cancellation occurs with an easy-to-reach switch, so your employees can use these as regular headphones if they need to be on the alert.
Your remote employees will need to check in from time to time. Rather than having calls into the office seem disjointed and distant, bring your entire remote team into the fold in an interactive and immersive experience. TheMeeting Owl is an innovative device that replicates an in-person multi-participant meeting.
The product is easy to use and requires nothing more than USB connectivity. It works with all of the major video conferencing applications and platforms. With eight omnidirectional cameras, your remote workers can move around - they'll, of course, be on their feet showing off their new standing desk - and they won't have to worry about repositioning a webcam.
Your remote employees will be doing the lion's share of their work on their computers. While laptops have made great strides in touchscreen and touchpad technology, a good mouse is essential for productivity. Don't skimp out on this vital office feature.
A great option is the Logitech MX Master, which features fast response and full customization for the best feel and user experience. The mouse works on almost any surface including glass, and its wireless technology allows for using multiple devices simultaneously.
When working with remote employees, it can be challenging to stay connected. Collaboration tools like Slack, Gmail, Google Docs, Asana, etc. make it easier for your team to work together regardless of their location.
Not only can they be used to discuss aspects of a project or plan the details of a meeting, but they can also be used for team building. For example, you can create interest-based Slack channels where employees can connect with one another and discuss their common interests. This is a great way to break the ice and help employees build stronger working relationships, even though they don't meet face-to-face everyday.
Make meetings more productive by using a reliable video conferencing software. There are variety of free and paid options to choose from (e.g., Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, etc.). With a video connection, remote employees can see what's happening in the meeting room and participate in discussions as if they were in the room.
Tools like Zoom even allow you to record the meetings making it easier to share with those who can't attend due to time zone differences. Find the right video conferencing software that allows you to hold meetings with remote workers, run virtual training sessions, and more.
Communication tools are key to keeping your remote team connected. Increase productivity by making them comfortable, healthy, happy, and part of your team, no matter where they may be. With these remote work tools, you can optimize your remote workforce.
Looking for more? Check out this video conference camera comparison guide next.