Remote Worker Checklist: Tools for a More Productive Offsite Team

Keeping remote employees equipped with the right supplies pays off in productivity. Here are tools to consider.

With the COVID-19 shutdown, the remote work arrangement is likely to stay and to become more common. You can help ensure that remote teams have the right work setup to stay just as productive as their peers in the office.

The ideas below can make it easier for remote employees to do their best work.

A Fixed Workstation

An essential piece of a good remote work space is a designated desk. Remote employees should not have to set up their work area each morning and break it down every night. Coming to a desk that’s only for work can free employees from distractions and help them shift into productivity mode.

Make comfort a priority when choosing a desk for your remote teams. Most come with keyboard trays to support good ergonomics, but you can also tack these onto an existing desk. Adjustable desks that allow for standing can keep workers’ energy levels up — research from Texas A&M University points to a 45 percent boost in productivity for employees who use standing desks.

A Chair and Mat for Good Ergonomics

Combat offsite employees’ urge to grab a seat from their dining room or kitchen by providing a comfortable office chair that will keep their focus on work.

Office chairs should be highly adjustable to accommodate different shapes, sizes and preferences. The list of chair adjustment options is expansive, but consider armrest height, seat depth and width, a reclining function and lumbar support to find the right fit for remote teams.

A remote workspace should also have a chair mat to protect flooring and, more importantly, make it easier for chairs to roll. Improved ease of movement offers ergonomic support, helping to reduce back and leg strain.

A Computer and Monitor for Multitasking

Having more than one computer screen has been shown to boost work output. According to a study by Jon Peddie Research, having two screens drove a 42 percent rise in productivity.

Outfit your remote team members with either a desktop computer or laptop, along with a computer monitor that can serve as a second screen. Provide them with a few options to figure out what setup best fits their needs.

A Phone Headset for Better Focus

Many remote workers spend a lot of time on the phone, so provide them with phone headsets to stay connected and comfortable. The right headset can improve sound quality, reduce background noise — a common issue in some home offices — and help prevent neck strain.

Talk with your remote employees about the features they’d find helpful. Do they prefer a wireless or wired setup? Do they need the option to answer or mute calls directly through the headset? Some workers might also prefer models that cover both ears to help limit distractions.

Office Supplies for Support

In-office staffers can easily grab supplies whenever they need them. When you give remote workers the same easy access, you reinforce that they’re part of the team.

Consider providing your remote teams with office supply kits that include writing utensils, paper products, filing materials and other tools. Devices such as a scanner can help with effective document management. A pre-paid card can be used for remote employees to make their own supply purchases from approved vendors.

Being an office administrator has taken on new meaning in light of evolved working arrangements. By making the effort to provide resources for remote employees, you help ensure that they remain productive members of the team.