Ultimate remote worker office setup checklist

Mike Butts profile image May 31, 2024 | 10 min read

The past few years have seen a major surge in remote work, accelerated by technological advancements, more awareness of the benefits of a good work-life balance and unforeseen events like the global pandemic.

As a result, businesses worldwide are embracing remote work as an important option to sustain productivity and ensure employee well-being. After all, remote workers are reportedly 35 to 40 percent more productive than their in-office counterparts, with 80 percent of remote workers believing that having the option to work from home is a sign that their employer cares.

This shift means that businesses are increasingly responsible for equipping their remote workforce. That’s why we’ve created an office setup checklist for remote workers. This guide will help you ensure your remote employees have everything they need to succeed in their roles, no matter where they’re working.

From essential equipment to nice-to-haves, our checklist covers all bases. But first, let’s get into the most common ways companies support their remote employees.

How is work-from-home equipment provided?

When it comes to setting remote workers up for success, companies have a variety of approaches they can take.

One approach is to provide essential work-from-home equipment directly to employees. This could include basics like a laptop, monitor, keyboard and mouse. Some companies even offer ergonomic chairs and desks to ensure their remote team members have a comfortable space to do productive work at home.

Another approach is to offer stipends or allowances for remote workers to purchase their own equipment and supplies. This gives employees the flexibility to choose equipment that best suits their needs and preferences. Plus, it eliminates the hassle of managing inventory and shipping supplies to different locations.

Reimbursing employees for work-related expenses is another popular choice. This could include reimbursing for internet service, software subscriptions and other necessary work-from-home tools. This shows an openness to supporting remote workers in a way that doesn’t require significant upfront expenses.

Ultimately, the approach that’s best for your company will depend on your budget, company culture and the needs of your remote workers. Whether you opt for providing equipment directly, offering a stipend or reimbursing expenses, the key is to ensure that your remote team members have the tools they need to be successful in their roles.

The remote worker office setup checklist is divided into six categories. To create your company’s checklist, click on the checkboxes before the items you want to offer your employees and print.

Essential remote work tools and hardware

Creating the perfect remote work environment starts with the right hardware essentials. Here’s a list to ensure your team has everything they need for a productive work-at-home setup:

As the primary workhorse of any remote office, a dependable work-from-home laptop is a must-have. Look for models with sufficient RAM, processing power and battery life to handle your team’s workload.

Pricing: $$$ to $$$$

Monitors are quickly becoming an essential part of many remote setups, as having an additional monitor or two can significantly help employees multitask and improve workflow.

Pricing: $$ to $$$

Basic keyboards and mice will work well for most people. If you want to treat your team, ergonomic ones can prevent strain during long work hours while wireless options provide flexibility and freedom of movement.

Pricing: $$

A stable internet connection is crucial for remote work. Ensure your employee has a high-speed internet plan with reliable service. As the employer, you may consider providing stipends or assistance for internet expenses to support remote workers.

Pricing: $$-$$$ per month

A surge protector or an uninterruptible power supply can safeguard your employee’s devices from power surges and outages. A UPS offers short-term power during an outage, allowing them to save their work and shut down their equipment safely.

Pricing: $$

Security measures

Working remotely offers flexibility and convenience but it also comes with unique security challenges that shouldn’t be overlooked. Protecting your employees’ digital workspace is crucial to guard sensitive information and maintain productivity without interruptions.

Here’s a rundown of security measures to help you fortify your team’s remote office:

Invest in reputable antivirus software to shield devices from malicious software, viruses and cyber threats. Regularly update the software to ensure it’s equipped with the latest security patches and definitions.

Pricing: Yearly subscriptions range from $20 to $100.

When employees connect to public or even private Wi-Fi® networks, they’re potentially exposing sensitive data to prying eyes. A VPN encrypts their internet connection, creating a secure tunnel between the device and the internet. This adds an extra layer of protection, especially when accessing confidential company resources or communicating sensitive information.

Pricing: Approximately $10 to $13 per month, depending on the provider and the contract length

Secure password managers generate complex, unique passwords for each account and securely stores them in an encrypted vault. This not only enhances security but also streamlines access to multiple accounts.

Pricing: Between $1 and $8 a month.

If an employee’s role involves accessing company networks or handling sensitive data, establishing strict security protocols is non-negotiable. This may include multifactor authentication, regular password updates, training and adherence to company policies regarding data handling and storage.

Communication tools

Without in-person interactions, working remote teams heavily rely on communication tools to stay connected, collaborate efficiently and maintain productivity. Here are some tools your team may need to telecommute:

A reliable smartphone is indispensable for staying connected on the go. Whether it’s answering emails, participating in conference calls or accessing important documents, a smartphone keeps a remote team connected no matter where they are.

Pricing: $$ to $$$$ for phone; monthly service is extra

Investing in a good headset can greatly improve the remote communication experience. A quality headset reduces background noise, ensures crystal-clear audio and helps workers stay focused as they telecommute.

Pricing: $$ to $$$

While most laptops come with a camera, a high-definition webcam can enhance the visual quality of your team’s virtual meetings and works with external monitors, making it one of the top video call tips for a professional appearance.

Pricing: $$ to $$$

A reliable communications platform is essential for ensuring seamless collaboration among remote teams. Popular options include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Slack, with each offering unique features like videoconferencing, email and messaging to suit different needs.

Pricing: Ranges from free for basic plans to up to $30 per user per month for premium plans.

Consider providing your remote worker with their own IP business phone for at-home use. For example, if your business has an Ooma Office phone system, you could provide your employees with an Ooma IP business phone that works as if they are in the office. Needing only an internet connection for phone service, the phone line comes with advanced features like virtual receptionist, extension dialing, virtual fax and music on hold for a polished and professional experience for everyone involved.

Pricing: $$ for phone, monthly business phone service is extra

Productivity tools

As remote employees span different locations, time zones and schedules, it’s important to have remote work tools that help your team collaborate, manage projects and communicate effectively, regardless of physical distance.

Here are some tools that can help increase your team’s WFH productivity:

Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are two of the most popular providers in this space.

A timeless classic, Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that offers an array of software including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. With its familiar interface and robust features, it’s used for document creation, data analysis, presentations and email management.

Formerly known as G Suite, Google Workspace provides a suite of cloud-based productivity tools such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar, Sheets and Meet. Its real-time collaboration features allow for seamless teamwork, allowing multiple users to edit documents simultaneously.

Pricing: Microsoft 365 plans and Google Workspace plans both start at $6 per user per month.

For effective project coordination and task management, platforms like Asana and Trello can be a huge help. These tools allow teams to manage tasks, set deadlines and collaborate in real time.

Pricing: Basic plans are free while more advanced plans start at $132 per user per year for Asana and $60 per user per year for Trello.

Cloud-based solutions like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive provide secure, centralized storage for documents, presentations and other essential files. By storing data in the cloud, remote workers can access information from any device with an internet connection, ensuring continuity and flexibility as they work.

Pricing: Prices vary based on storage capacity and other features, from free for limited storage plans to more than $100 per year for premium plans.

Office supplies

Ensuring your remote team has the right office supplies on hand is important for creating a productive work environment. Here’s a list of essential office supplies your employees may need:

A good old-fashioned pen and pencil are essential for jotting down notes, brainstorming ideas or marking up documents.

Pricing: $

Whether it’s for taking meeting notes, making to-do lists or sketching out concepts, having a selection of notepads or notebooks can be a refreshing break from screens and is handy for jotting ideas on the fly.

Pricing: $

Organizing documents into file folders or binders not only keeps a worker’s desk space neat and tidy but also makes it easier to find important documents when they need them.

Pricing: $

Perfect for quick reminders, marking important pages or leaving messages, sticky notes are a must-have for any home office.

Pricing: $

A desk organizer helps workers keep their supplies tidy and within reach. It can be a simple tray or a multi-compartment organizer to store pens, sticky notes and other small items.

Pricing: $ to $$

For a professional touch, consider providing branded company stationery, such as letterheads, envelopes and business cards. It reinforces their affiliation with your company and can leave a lasting impression on clients or colleagues.

Pricing: $ to $$

While digital documents are common, having a printer may still be useful for those in a paper-heavy industry. If frequently printing documents or reports is expected, make sure they have plenty of printer paper and ink on hand to avoid running out at the last minute.

Pricing: $ to $$

Ergonomic furniture

While more of a “nice-to-have,” ergonomic furniture can be a valuable add to any remote work setup. These pieces are designed with the human body in mind, offering support and comfort during long work hours. By promoting proper posture and reducing strain on muscles and joints, ergonomic setups can help prevent issues like back pain, neck stiffness and wrist discomfort.

Any remote worker would benefit from a chair that offers plenty of lumbar support, adjustable armrests and customizable height settings. Options with breathable mesh material can also enhance comfort during long work hours.

Pricing: $$ to $$$$

These desks allow workers to alternate between sitting and standing positions, promoting better circulation and reducing the risk of sedentary-related health issues.

Pricing: $$ to $$$$

Elevating one’s monitor to eye level with a riser can help maintain proper neck and shoulder alignment and reduce strain and fatigue. Opt for adjustable risers to customize the height according to one’s preference.

Pricing: $$ to $$$

Investing in affordable ergonomic accessories such as lumbar pillows or ergonomic mouse pads can be a great way to enhance comfort without having to break the bank on big-ticket items.

Pricing: $ to $$

Supporting productive work at home

With remote work likely here to stay, companies that prioritize the needs of their remote staff will be better positioned for the future. A comfortable and efficient workspace leads to happier, more engaged employees who are better equipped to meet their goals. By providing the right remote work tools, equipment and resources, businesses can empower their remote workforce to thrive in their roles, ultimately leading to long-term success for all.

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