Creating a truly agile workforce is where those employees included, can effectively work from anywhere at any time. It allows for optimum productivity and efficiency, where the ability to react quickly and concisely to requests, either internally or externally, is essential.
If you are planning for an agile workforce, we’ve put together a quick guide on the technology you should be considering as a company in supplying to key personnel. Also available to download here or by clicking on the image below.
If you are planning to base employees from home on a permanent basis, then they will need a device. Their choice will normally be either a desktop or laptop. Desktops are clearly not as mobile as a laptop, but they are typically cheaper, they can be upgraded easily and cheaply, and they often tend to age better than their fellow laptop.
Due to laptops becoming more affordable, this can be a great tool for the agile workforce. The two main downsides for an employer when it comes to laptops.
- Poor ergonomics – meaning employees are potentially hunching to work on them leading to medical issues around the neck, back, shoulders and wrists.
- Additional costs – as a result of the above, an employer has a responsibility to mitigate this by providing other accessories such as keyboards, a mouse, wrist supports and a bigger monitor.
Mainly only required if you are providing laptops. Office workers to a greater extent these days are working from either two or three screens or working with much bigger screens than before. Such as in the pandemic scenario, where the time period of working from home is unknown, the ability for employees to access the screens they would normally use is paramount to avoid any reductions in productivity.
Keyboards will normally come with a mouse too when purchasing. They can be wired or wireless and can vary heavily in price. The natural move is to buy the cheapest for employees but just remember who is using the device for what. If this is for a contact centre operative, who is working from home, they will work faster and with less likelihood of wrist strain if they have a good keyboard.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
For the home environment, over-ear headphones are best, allowing the employee to cut out some of the home noise distractions, making it a better experience not only for them but also for any clients/stakeholders on the other end as well.
Particularly important for agile sales personnel and customer relationship personnel. This allows the face-to-face relationship to continue, even if on a virtual basis. Webcams are also very useful in helping keep employees engaged with each other. They get to see their colleagues whilst speaking to them which helps with maintaining that team feel.
If you have an IT department, then your laptops and desktops should already be preloaded with the correct VPN and Antivirus software. If you don’t have an IT department, then this software is still easily available online to be downloaded to your work and home PC or laptop, allowing secure access to your company network. For VPN Software, you could be considering something like Chrome Remote Desktop, and for Antivirus, you could consider Norton Antivirus.
A further consideration on software is the tools you will require to be able to work with no reduction in productivity. So, things like Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets or Apple’s Pages will all be essential, or their equivalents in Word or PowerPoint packages. For communication, video conferencing software will be essential and could include the following: Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Duo or Zoom.
Employees will in the norm have broadband at home. However, will it stand up to increased working from home, whilst the rest of the household uses it for normal activities such as streaming, browsing, smart appliances, etc? As part of your agile workforce plans it is useful to ask key personnel what their current broadband performance is. This is not just about download speeds, as work video conferencing, file transfers, etc. can be demanding on the often significantly slower upload speeds. Also finding out where in the home the employee is working compared to where their Wi-Fi hub is useful, in order to potentially provide additional home working setup advice.
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