Effective international equipment distribution can help remote and distributed teams thrive in their new work environments.
International equipment distribution encompasses the process of procuring, shipping, and delivering equipment compliantly to remote team members across different countries and time zones. By strategically managing this process, organizations can foster productivity, collaboration, and seamless operations.
In this article, we’ll cover 7 tips for equipment distribution for international remote teams, offering insights to help organizations optimize their distribution processes while ensuring legal compliance.
Providing equipment to your remote team plays a vital role in enabling productivity, encouraging collaboration, and ensuring a seamless work experience. In fact, many countries require employers to provide their remote workers with equipment, including:
Moreover, equipping remote teams with reliable and up-to-date equipment demonstrates a commitment to their success and well-being, boosting overall morale and job satisfaction. When team members have access to the right equipment, they can collaborate and communicate effectively.
The equipment that you’ll need to provide your employees depends on their specific role. You may want to take a survey to consider what the employee already has and what they expect from their employer in terms of equipment. Make sure that this exploration of needs covers employees with disabilities.
Common equipment for employers to provide their remote employees include:
Computer/laptop: A reliable computer or laptop is typically the core tool for remote work. It should meet the technical specifications necessary to handle the tasks and software used in the job. Make sure each laptop you provide includes a webcam.
Internet connection: A stable and high-speed internet connection is crucial for remote work, enabling employees to access online resources, communicate, and collaborate effectively.
Communication tools: Remote employees should have access to communication tools such as email, instant messaging platforms like Slack, and video conferencing software to stay connected with colleagues and participate in virtual meetings.
Collaboration tools: Providing remote employees with collaboration tools such as project management platforms, document sharing platforms, and online team spaces helps facilitate seamless teamwork and information sharing.
Headset or headphones: Good-quality headsets or headphones with a microphone can enhance audio quality during virtual meetings and improve concentration by minimizing background noise.
Security measures: Remote employees should have access to security measures such as virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, and antivirus software to protect sensitive data and maintain a secure work environment.
Ergonomic equipment: Although not required, some employers provide ergonomic equipment such as an adjustable chair, ergonomic keyboard, mouse, and monitor to support remote employees' physical well-being and reduce the risk of strain or injuries.
Backup and data storage: Encourage remote employees to regularly back up their work and provide guidance on suitable backup solutions or cloud storage options to ensure data security and minimize the risk of data loss.
Before you decide how you’ll provide international equipment to your remote team (either internally or with a third-party provider), consider these 7 tips when constructing your plan to make informed decisions.
Employers are always required to ensure that their employees are safe while working at the office (through OSHA regulations) or at-home (through Home and Safety, or H&S). For example, employers in the UK are required to provide employees with monitors that can tilt and adjust to help with ergonomic issues.
This is why it may not be the best solution to provide employees with a stipend and the freedom to purchase their own equipment. Working with a local EOR provider like Via ensures that the equipment being provided is compliant with the local H&S requirements.
Familiarize yourself with relevant laws and regulations.
Research and understand the laws and regulations related to equipment distribution in the countries where your remote teams are located. This includes customs laws, import/export regulations, data protection laws, and any industry-specific regulations that may apply.
Develop a comprehensive compliance program that outlines your organization's policies, procedures, and guidelines for equipment distribution. This program should address legal requirements, ethical considerations, and internal controls to mitigate compliance risks.
Perform regular assessments to identify potential compliance risks associated with equipment distribution. Assess factors such as data security, intellectual property protection, export controls, and any industry-specific compliance requirements. This helps you proactively identify areas of non-compliance and take appropriate corrective actions.
Maintain thorough and accurate records of all equipment distribution activities. This includes purchase orders, invoices, shipping documents, customs forms, and any other relevant documentation. Proper record-keeping is crucial for demonstrating compliance and facilitating audits or investigations, if necessary
Before you even send your employees equipment, you might need to find a way to inspect their workspace to make sure that it fits the criteria for a safe work environment. In the Ukraine, for instance, you’re required to regularly check your employees home office.
Throughout the EU, employers are required to provide Display Screen Equipment Assessments to inspect remote employees' work environments. This is generally required when workers spend at least an hour behind the compute each day. Employers can find remote-work specific assessments that are catered towards the home-office.
In order to follow H&S protocols, you need to regularly check your employees' equipment to ensure that it’s working properly.
Encourage remote employees to conduct periodic equipment inspections themselves. Provide them with guidelines or checklists to help identify any visible signs of wear and tear, damage, or performance issues. This can include checking cables, connectors, monitors, keyboards, and other hardware components.
If any problems arise, however, the employer will likely be at-fault for the cost and have to send someone out from their own IT department to fix or switch out equipment. That’s why for international remote teams, it may be a better option to rent equipment and outsource this labor to the rental company.
Provide regular training and education to employees who work remotely about how to protect their equipment. This includes training on relevant laws and regulations, ethical considerations, data protection, and any industry-specific compliance standards.
Another tip to keep in mind is to avoid providing your contractors with equipment. It may be tempting to send equipment to contractors to make sure that they have everything they need to complete projects/tasks. However, this could lead to further compliance problems with classification.
Misclassifying contractors or treating them like employees comes with penalties, such as back payments of benefits. Try to have a meeting with your contractors before you hire them about the equipment they’ll use and if it’s sufficient for them to complete their projects accordingly.
Via makes hiring talent around the world and building your global team seamless by helping you onboard workers in as little as 2-3 business days. With our easy-to-use platform, Via helps you manage local HR processes for direct employment such as work visas & permits, employee data privacy compliance, benefits, global payroll, background checks, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts provide 24-hour local support and ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record/entity abroad, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team.