HR Tech Vendors Tailor Solutions to Remote Workers

By Nicole Lewis April 29, 2021
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​New solutions are on the market for employers looking to support employees who are working from home—wherever home may be.

Companies like The Ford Motor Co., Facebook, Salesforce and British Airways have announced that thousands of their workers can work from home permanently, even after the pandemic ends.

Computers, monitors, mobile devices, collaboration tools, security software and enough bandwidth are some of the necessities for a home office.

There are other considerations, too, especially when employees say they want to work in a different state or country.

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Equus Software, a Denver-based company that provides global workforce management solutions, recently launched PinPoint Remote Work, a centralized system that evaluates employees' relocation requests and compiles information on compliance risks that companies and workers could face if employees work in a different state or country from their employer.

Those risks can include personal tax exposure, payroll withholding from an employee's gross pay or immigration requirements if the worker requests that they work overseas.

Alan Bell, senior vice president of solutions consulting at Equus, said the company's clients were tracking employees' e-mailed requests manually in Excel spreadsheets. 

"The PinPoint Remote Work solution is an assessment tool that can screen the actual request from the employee, identify where the risks may lie for an organization from a compliance perspective, and put in place a system to support the company's policy and approach to how they want to deploy remote workers on an ongoing basis," Bell said.

On the hardware front, HP recently introduced HP Remote Work Solutions, which includes touch-free printing, enabling workers to release a print job with their phone. Work-from-home employees are also offered instant ink, a subscription-based service that automatically detects when customers run low on ink and mails new cartridges to the user.

Dell Technologies unveiled Dell Hybrid Client, a centrally managed client software solution that delivers mobile and desktop devices quickly to at-home employees.

Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America recently launched remote-work technology bundles, including a Dynabook laptop, docking station, a Sharp monochrome laser printer and a three-year Synappx Go License for mobile print capabilities. Cost depends on how much computing power customers want to lease for three years. Security and remote monitoring can be added to the bundle.

"Although many workers are still remote, we believe that eventually many organizations will embrace a hybrid model, where workers are in the office some of the time and remote some of the time," said Shane Coffey, vice president of product management at Sharp.

Coffey said the bundles are being targeted to smaller companies. He added that it's important for companies to have remote employees operating on the same software and hardware, which allows IT managers to better manage security and support.

A lack of interoperability between IT systems can frustrate employees, said J. P. Gownder, vice president and principal analyst on the Future of Work team at Forrester Research, a research and advisory firm in Cambridge, Mass.

He urged HR managers to gain a better understanding of what vendors are offering as they identify what is technologically possible, what technology can be used effectively for the long term and what is going to be the most useful approach to building out a technology infrastructure that includes home offices in the future.  

"When you get into the details of IT, you can find that there are so many little incompatibilities that can pop up," Gownder said. "HR and IT managers need to understand what IT employees have today, what gaps exist, what would make them more productive and what fits well with the company's IT infrastructure. If you can answer all of those questions, you will have a better chance of succeeding with a remote workforce."

Nicole Lewis is a freelance journalist based in Miami. 

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