It seems like a good idea – and the decision to do it was made with the best intentions.
You want your team to have the tools and equipment they need to do great work at home.
So you give them a stipend that lets them purchase a few pieces of kit they choose and need. A chair, another monitor, maybe even a desk. It's easy. It's quick. A job well done.
The danger here is that workers do not buy the right equipment. The outcome is incredibly simple: injuries, lower productivity, and a terrible experience.
Purchasing a substandard chair which leads to back or neck problems is the likely outcome. Not having a monitor at the right height is going to cause massive problems for workers and companies.
Those who don't provide the right equipment will be held liable for the injuries caused. Already, in conversations I have, 40%+ of their workers are reporting back pain. The cost could be as high as $40,000 per back injury.
The foundation for doing great work remotely is having the right equipment to work on top of. You need to ensure your team is as safe, comfortable, and productive at home as they would be in an office.
Allowing your team to operate from the kitchen table is a recipe for disaster. A physical space that is psychologically a workspace at home is crucial to enabling concentration and prolonged periods of deep focussed work.
Workers are used to a great experience in the office. Companies provide everything from free coffee, so laundry services, and specialty restaurants. The standard of care for remote teams has to increase.
Ongoing culture and experience is a massive opportunity for companies to differentiate. Just offering remote work won't be enough, companies that provide better experiences will retain and attract the most talented people.
By redistributing office space to worker's homes, companies save $20,000-$50,000 a year per worker who is no longer working from an office full time. For companies with 1,000 workers that equates to a reduction of real estate expense by $20m-$50m a year.
Firstbase is the Physical OS for remote teams.
Our platform lets companies supply, finance, and manage all the physical equipment remote workers need to do great work at home.
We handle everything; from IT installation, deployment of goods, maintenance, ongoing culture and perks, collections when a worker leaves through to upgrades at the end of the product lifecycle.