Today,  remote and hybrid work has become ubiquitous. With this shift,  IT teams are being challenged more now than ever with shipping out more laptops to remote employees, contractors and offshore workers. The practice of preparing laptops to send out to new employees and retrieve them after they leave the company  is time consuming, tedious and costly.  

To ensure the laptops are secure, IT preconfigures and preloads them with approved corporate software and locks them down to restrict and monitor what the employee does with them. While the strategy may have worked well while in the office, it is proving to be less effective and efficient for remote workers.IT teams are spending more time supporting remote workers on an ongoing basis and chasing them down when they leave to get the laptop back.  

While shipping laptops to remote workers seems like a solution to the security challenges of remote work, most companies don’t understand the true costs of what it takes. And the costs can vary from company to company based on many factors. 

Get Our Latest Blogs Straight to Your Inbox

In this blog, we’ll dive into the different costs associated with securing remote work on company owned and managed laptops in order to better understand the true costs of shipping laptops to remote and offshore employees

The Negative Impacts of Shipping Laptops

Monetary Costs

Shipping devices to remote employees can be extremely expensive for an organization. Some of the costs that a company can incur include:

IT Costs 

Beyond the hard costs, shipping out and preparing devices for new remote employees or offshore workers can be a time consuming and tedious process. 

For when a company has a large amount of new remote employees at the same time, this can be difficult to manage. The pressure to get them set up and delivered  on time for new hire start dates can cause IT to put in overtime or pause other projects in order to meet the deadline. 

Impact on Productivity

Shipping laptops can also negatively impact employee productivity. After the company hires a new employee, they won’t be able to start work until their device arrives. If a current employee’s device breaks, then their current work and projects are stalled until a replacement can be procured and shipped to them.

Companies can mitigate these delays by sourcing an employee’s new device locally and having a robust IT support system in place to configure and install corporate software on the device. However, this approach may increase the cost of the devices — depending on prices in the local market — and the complexity of ensuring that devices are properly configured before they are delivered to workers.

Employee Satisfaction and Retention

Shipping devices to employees can create delays if the employee is forced to use a company issued laptop. If laptops are delayed and employees need to wait for them to be delivered — or get an inferior device due to availability or cost — this can negatively impact new hire satisfaction and employee morale. It may also lead to employee churn if workers are frustrated about the inability to do their jobs and begin looking for alternative employment.

Environmental Considerations

Shipping devices to employees also has environmental impacts, including the fuel used by vehicles transporting the devices and the packaging that is used to protect them — which is often discarded afterward. Forcing employees to use company-owned devices also contributes to the growth of e-waste since these devices may only be used during the employee’s tenure with the company and may then be discarded.

Many companies have a renewed focus on their responsibility to minimize their carbon footprints.  This is especially true with the introduction of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in the EU, which requires companies to report on and reduce their climate footprints.

For a distributed or remote-first company, shipping devices to employees and off-shore contractors may comprise a significant portion of the organization’s carbon footprint and is an easily eliminated source of emissions. In fact, end-user devices are bigger carbon emitters than data centers, and reducing or eliminating new devices purchased for employees can reduce related carbon emissions by an estimated 50-60%.

Strategies for Cost Management

Since shipping devices is expensive and has the potential to introduce various risks to the organization, it would make sense for companies to look at a number of possible alternatives:

Next Steps for IT

Companies have several options for managing the security risks of remote work. In most situations, shipping laptops to remote workers is not the best fit for the company. With remote work growing more common, IT teams should consider how best to support and secure their remote workforces. And often, a more modern, technical solution can decrease both cost and risk to the company in the long term.

Calculate your ROI

Interested in calculating how much you spend on shipping laptops? Check out our ROI calculator.

Heather Howland

Heather Howland

SVP Marketing

Responsible for championing the Venn brand, building awareness, and accelerating growth. With 20+ years of marketing experience and various marketing leadership roles, I'm passionate about bringing new technologies to market.