Technology Advice for Small Businesses

Help your staff learn the gear they need for remote work

While being able to let your staff work from home is a distinct advantage, you still need to execute your remote strategy properly. A big part of this is the hardware your staff has at home. In addition to the primary items like computers and smartphones, these are the items your employees need to have.

A reliable keyboard and mouse

PC users obviously need external keyboards to operate their machines and work on files, but there are laptop users who splurge on external keyboards because they prefer how these feel or love to customize some or all of the keys.

Some aspects you want your staff to consider when choosing a keyboard are:

  • Interface – Is it wired or wireless? They won’t have to worry about a power source with wired boards, though battery-powered ones can easily last a year. Choosing a wireless one will mostly depend on whether or not they like to move around and still type away as normal.
  • Comfort and ergonomics – How do the keys feel on their fingertips? There’s now a wide variety of key types to suit their fancy. And if they’re worried about carpal tunnel syndrome, there are now keyboards with keys laid out like a very wide V so that users can hold their wrists at more natural angles.
  • Extras – Does it come with a number keypad and/or a trackpad? Does typing fill the room with sound, or is it muffled and silent? Make sure that the keyboard they choose has at least the things that would help them do their job, and at most make them happy whenever they have to work.

When picking a mouse, they’ll want to think about interface, comfort, and ergonomics, too. And while some are satisfied with a trackball or trackpad, the majority might prefer the ease of use a mouse offers. They’ll most likely have to work for hours on end, so it all boils down to what they’re most comfortable with.

A computer monitor (or two)

PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones all have their own screens, though most prefer screens they can easily read from and use. If your employees are among the lucky ones who work on a file with one screen while using another one to display their references, then they might find it difficult to go back to a single-monitor setup. Thankfully, replicating a dual-monitor setup is just a matter of getting another monitor, connecting it to their computer, and adjusting their display settings.

Of course, setting up dual monitors is their prerogative. If they’re buying monitors, screen aspects to consider are size, aspect ratio (i.e., the proportions of its width and height, resolution (i.e., image quality), and interface (although ports mismatching video cables is a problem that’s easily fixed with adaptors).

However, they don’t even have to buy a new screen if they have a smart TV or a TV they’ve connected to a Chromecast or other similar device. Laptops running on Windows can detect such internet-connected devices, and all they have to do is go to Settings > System > Display > Multiple displays, then adjust their settings as they like.

Webcam and headset

If an employee’s computer doesn’t come with a web camera, they’ll most likely have to purchase one separately, especially if you regularly keep in touch with your team via video conferencing. They’ll need to primarily consider video resolution and sound quality, plus other features such as noise cancellation and autofocus. To reduce external distractions, they might want to use a headset, though isolating themselves in a room and hanging a “Do not disturb” sign might work just as well.

Letting your staff work at home can be a big boon for your company — provided that employees set their devices up properly and that you have a good remote work policy in place. If you’re interested in taking full advantage of remote work but don’t know where to start, talk to our experts. We’re more than happy to help.