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International Equipment Distribution: 7 Tips

Effective international equipment distribution can help remote teams thrive in their new work environments. In this article, we’ll cover seven tips for equipment distribution for international remote teams, offering insights to help organizations optimize their distribution processes while ensuring legal compliance.

Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Feb 20, 20245 minutes
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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International equipment distribution encompasses the process of procuring, shipping, and delivering equipment compliantly to distributed team members across different countries and time zones. By strategically managing this process, organizations can foster productivity, collaboration, and seamless operations. 

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Why is providing equipment to your remote team important? 

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: 

  • Mexico

  • Portugal

  • Chile

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. 

What equipment is essential for your international remote team? 

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: 

  1. Desktop/laptop: A reliable desktop 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 for meetings.

  2. Internet connection: A stable and high-speed internet connection is crucial for remote work, enabling employees to access online resources, communicate, and collaborate effectively. Some companies choose to partially or fully cover the cost of internet service for remote employees.

  3. Communication tools: Remote employees should have access to communication tools such as email, instant messaging platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, and video conferencing software to stay connected with colleagues and participate in virtual meetings.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

7 tips for providing international equipment to remote teams

Before you decide how you’ll provide international equipment to your remote team (either internally or with a third-party provider), consider these seven tips when constructing your plan to make informed decisions. 

1. Always consider “Home and Safety” requirements

Employers are always required to ensure that their employees are safe while working at the office (through OSHA regulations) or at-home. 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 hyper-local EOR like Justworks ensures that the equipment being provided is compliant with the local health and safety regulations.

2. Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations

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 policies, procedures, and guidelines for equipment distribution. This program should address legal requirements, ethical considerations, and internal controls to mitigate compliance risks.

3. Conduct regular risk assessments 

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 can help to  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

4. Regularly inspect and assess your employees’ workspace

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 prior to agreeing upon remote work. 

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 computer each day. Employers can find remote-work specific assessments that are catered towards the home-office. 

5. Maintain equipment for your remote workers

In order to follow health and safety 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 problems arise, however, the employer will likely be at-fault for the cost and have 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 a  rental company. 

6. Offer regular training

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.

7. Avoid providing contractors with equipment

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 their projects. However, this could lead to further compliance problems with classification. 

Misclassifying contractors (or treating them like full-time employees) comes with penalties, such as back payments of benefits and fines. 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. 

How Justworks Provides International EOR Services for Small Business

Through Justworks, you can now expand the boundaries of your talent search without setting up a local entity. Focus on building your team, and leave worrying about the nitty-gritty of HR and international compliance to us. 

Our team of local labor lawyers and experts ensure that your small business always remains compliant while expanding internationally. We handle the responsibility side of things so you can focus on what matters: managing your team. 

Learn more about how you can expand your international business through Justworks, and get started today.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Janelle Watson
Janelle Watson
Feb 20, 20245 minutes

Janelle Watson provides content marketing for the international team at Justworks. With a background in higher education and journalism, Janelle helps tell stories that make international expansion and EOR accessible.

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