How to Manage Remote Workers and IT Assets in a Post-Pandemic World
It has now been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused many organizations to frantically and hastily send employees home to work with monitors, mice, keyboards, and even office furniture, sometimes even before they had a comprehensive remote work plan. And although many employees are starting to return to the workplace, they may be returning to a new normal.
For example, many companies are keeping a hybrid work from home model and redesigning their office spaces to accommodate shared offices and equipment. Other companies, such as Twitter, Square, and Dropbox, are shutting down or downsizing their offices and fully transitioning to a work from home model.
Remote work, in one form or another, appears to be here to stay. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025, 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least one workweek per month. As the number of remote workers increases, organizations are faced with new challenges when managing their assets.
Do You Know Where Your Assets Are?
The first challenge that many organizations will face is the need to play catch up and take an accounting of all of their assets. Have you been tracking everything that your employees have been taking home? A basic work from home kit for an employee could include a computer, keyboard, mouse, docking station, headphone or headset, and necessary cables. What have you been tracking and what should you be tracking? For example, are you tracking keyboards, headsets, mice and monitors? Do you need to? Decisions need to be made about what needs to be tracked.
After you decide which assets need to be tracked, you will need a plan for how you will go about discovering and inventorying those assets. An important tool to help you do this is asset tracking software such as Assetbots, which offers free and affordable options.
Not tracking assets puts your organization at risk of losing money. A work from home kit for an employee can easily cost $1,000 USD or more. If you have 30 employees, that’s $30,000 USD worth of assets potentially at risk.
Who Pays for Remote Work Expenses?
Remote working is expensive in terms of costs for managing software and hardware. Remote workers require the use of broadband and mobile phones to enable them to work. So who should pay for that? Do you need to reimburse employees for some of their remote work expenses? Are you letting employees use their personal equipment to do their work? Some laws such as the FLSA may limit how much you can ask employees to cover with regard to their remote work expenses and equipment. Other laws may require employers to cover all remote work expenses. Your organization should be aware of its legal responsibilities when dealing with the issue of how to manage the expenses associated with remote workers.
Then there is the issue of employees using company-owned licenses on personal devices. Could that impact an organization’s obligations under its software licenses? All software licenses should be reviewed to minimize the risk of violating their terms.
What Shape is Your Equipment In?
Part of asset management is managing the lifecycle of your equipment. Equipment like laptops have shorter lifespans than desktops and are less repairable. For example, a laptop’s average lifespan is only 3 to 5 years. How will your organization handle updating a fleet of laptops when they may be spread out among hundreds of remote locations? What if the organization has shut down or doesn’t have a headquarters or physical location? Mass department-level refreshes may no longer be possible considering the logistical challenges of equipment being dispersed among the employees’ households.
The same concerns apply when a remote worker’s equipment needs to be repaired or replaced. How do you minimize the time they are without the proper equipment needed to do their jobs so that their productivity is not affected? When it comes time for a hardware refresh or equipment repairs, organizations will have to consider new plans of action to cover the added logistical challenges of a remote workforce.
Finally, for any IT equipment that has reached the end of its lifecycle, organizations need to have a plan in place to ensure that equipment is properly disposed of to minimize the risk of violating electronic waste (e-waste) disposal laws and ensure that all sensitive and confidential data is protected. Managing the disposal of equipment that is not housed in one central location can be challenging and requires added attention.
What Happens When Remote Workers Leave?
A recent survey has revealed that 1 in 4 workers plan to leave their jobs after the pandemic has ended. How do you get your IT equipment back from remote employees who quit or are terminated? Will the organization let them purchase and keep the equipment? If so, how will you ensure sensitive data is completely wiped off the equipment? If you require the remote employee to return the equipment, how do you get it back so that you can reassign it to a new employee? Some asset tracking software options like Assetbots are integrated with UPS and FedEx to allow organizations to seamlessly collect equipment from remote worksites with minimal effort from the employer and employee. Finally, what if there is no longer a central office to handle the returned equipment? Organizations need to consider the logistical and practical challenges that can arise with a departing remote worker.
Assetbots Can Help Solve Your Remote Worker Headaches
Managing assets doesn’t have to be that difficult. Assetbots is unique cloud-based asset tracking software that allows you to easily manage the practical and logistical challenges that come with keeping track of your assets and managing equipment issued to remote workers. Assetbots can be accessed and used from any location or device.
Among other things, Assetbots allows you to easily and effectively:
- Know exactly where your equipment is and who is using it at all times.
- Store all equipment-related documentation such as lease agreements, warranties and instruction manuals in one place.
- Track equipment as it moves from one location to another (i.e. from a remote work location to a central office).
- Reserve and check-in/check-out equipment at any location without the need for a special scanner.
- Manage the lifecycle of your IT assets.
- Run reports on depreciation and other important aspects of your assets.
Assetbots is currently offering a limited number of free subscriptions. Go to www.assetbots.com to reserve your free subscription and start minimizing your organization’s asset losses.
Get started for free
We're inviting a limited number of organizations to join our beta program and enjoy free, unlimited access to Assetbots for the first year, plus reduced pricing forever.