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The complete guide for providing laptops to employees working remotely

Flexibility in work arrangements has become the norm in 2024, with 82% of Fortune 500 companies offering a flexible work environment and only 18% requiring employees to be full-time at the office. Companies have adapted to the new hybrid reality by providing employees with corporate machines that they can use to work outside the office instead of the traditional desktop computer.

Giving employees the tools they need to perform their job tasks helps companies maintain control over their devices and makes it easier to deploy updates, secure access, software patches, and monitor device health. However, it can also come with additional expenses and risks for the business.

Providing and setting up the equipment that your employees need requires a little planning to get everything right. We've created this guide to walk you through everything you need to know when providing company property to employees, including the pros and cons, how to minimize risks, and the basics of an effective company laptop policy.

home office equipment

What are the main laptop provisioning models?

Let's start by outlining the most common ways to provide equipment to employees. In general, there are two main approaches to using equipment for flexible or remote work: employees either use company-owned devices (COD) or their personal laptops (BYOD). Each approach has its own benefits and considerations.

Company-Owned Laptops

When providing an employee with a company-owned device (COD), you can choose between two major formats: COPE (Company-Owned, Personally Enabled) and COBO (Company-Owned, Business Only).

  • COPE (Company-Owned, Personally Enabled): In the COPE format, the employee uses the laptop primarily for work tasks but can also use it for personal purposes. This includes sending and receiving personal emails, browsing non-work-related websites, downloading files, and using personal applications. 

  • COBO (Company-Owned, Business Only): COBO is a stricter format that prohibits employees from using their work laptops for any personal purposes. While it reduces security risks, it is less convenient for employees, especially when they have to carry both personal and work devices. 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Another approach is BYOD, where employees use their personal computers, cell phones, and tablets for work purposes. The main advantage of BYOD is that the company does not have to purchase equipment. Employees also feel more at ease using their personal devices. However, this model has a higher risk of security breaches. Additionally, it places the burden of tech support, maintenance, and replacement on the employee.

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Other practices for equipping remote workers

  1. Home office stipend: Employers may offer employees a sum of money to purchase essential office supplies and technology. Work-from-home stipends are typically issued at the start of employment or after a set period.

  2. Reimbursement: In the reimbursement model, employees purchase the necessary equipment first and then submit receipts to their employer for compensation. The company reimburses the expenses up to a specified limit.

  3. Computer only: Some employers provide only the main computer to remote employees. This approach strikes a balance in remote work setups, simplifying collaboration and IT support. Accessing a company’s intranet or secure networks is often more straightforward and secure on a company-provided device. Check out our recommendations for the best laptops for remote work.

  4. Entire office setup: Employers providing a complete home office setup equip remote employees with everything needed to perform their jobs, from computers to smartphones. Such setups usually have specific boundaries, with company-provided equipment only intended for work-related use.


Should you provide a company laptop to your remote workers?

Knowing that there are different methods of providing equipment for employees and that employees can use their personal devices for work, you might wonder if it's worth providing company-owned equipment for remote work. Although the answer depends on your specific needs, we highly recommend giving your remote employees a corporate device.

One of the main reasons for this approach is security. With remote work, there's less oversight of how employees use their devices. By giving employees company-owned laptops, your organization can maintain access to the machines, allowing your IT team to remotely manage and troubleshoot any issues that arise. This level of control is necessary for maintaining the integrity and security of your company's network and data.

When employees use their personal laptops, IT support becomes significantly more complicated. For example, if an employee has trouble connecting to the company's wireless network, IT staff might struggle to resolve the issue without knowing the specifics of the hardware, software, and security settings on the employee's personal device. Standardizing the equipment ensures that all devices are uniformly configured and secure, simplifying IT support and reducing potential downtime.

Additionally, when employees leave your organization, you can retrieve the device and redeploy it for a new user. This can help your company make the most of the equipment throughout its useful life and even save costs in procurement. You can also make sure that your data stays safe by remotely wiping the device when the employee leaves or in case there are issues with the retrieval.

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Benefits of providing company laptops

Here's a short list of the benefits of providing equipment for remote workers:

  • Improved productivity: Employees can work more efficiently, reducing the time spent dealing with technical issues and ensuring they have the right tools for their tasks.

  • Security: Company laptops can be pre-configured with robust security measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption.

  • Simplified IT management: The IT department can more easily manage software updates, troubleshoot problems, enforce security policies, and keep track of equipment inventory.

  • Control over computers: Having control over the devices allows the company to install the necessary software, monitor usage, and ensure that all laptops comply with company policies and industry regulations.

  • Job satisfaction for employees: Providing a company laptop can be seen as a valuable perk, enhancing job satisfaction and potentially attracting top talent.

Providing company laptops to distributed workers is a wise investment. It ensures better control, security, and productivity while enhancing job satisfaction and simplifying IT management.

What are the implications of providing company laptops to employees? 

Providing company laptops to employees comes with both cost implications and potential security risks that your organizations must carefully consider. The initial investment in purchasing high-quality laptops can be substantial, especially for large teams. This expense includes the hardware and the necessary software licenses, maintenance, and eventual replacements. Additionally, deploying company-owned laptops introduces security concerns, such as the risk of data breaches or loss of devices.

Security concerns not only put your devices at risk, it can also leave you with significant financial losses. According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2023 was USD 4.45 million, and that figure will only keep increasing as it has over the years. With this scenario in mind, here are a few things to consider when providing equipment for employees.

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What to consider when providing corporate laptops

  • Initial investment vs. long-term benefits: The upfront cost of purchasing company laptops can be pretty steep. Companies must allocate a considerable budget for purchasing reliable and durable devices. However, this initial investment can be justified by the long-term benefits, such as increased productivity, improved security, and reduced downtime due to standardized equipment.

  • Security risks: Employees using laptops outside the office environment are more susceptible to cyber threats, physical theft, or loss of devices. To mitigate these risks, companies must implement security measures, such as encryption, firewalls, antivirus software, and regular security updates. Additionally, educating employees on cybersecurity best practices is crucial to prevent human errors that could compromise data security.

  • Maintenance and support costs: In addition to the initial purchase cost, companies must also budget for ongoing maintenance and support. This includes regular software updates, hardware repairs, and technical support to ensure that laptops remain functional and secure. These costs can add up over time, making it essential for companies to have a dedicated IT support team or service provider to manage these tasks efficiently.

  • Device lifecycle management: Managing the lifecycle of corporate laptops involves tracking the devices from purchase to retirement. This includes regular performance assessments, upgrades, and eventual replacements as devices become obsolete or worn out. Proper lifecycle management ensures that employees always have reliable and up-to-date equipment, but it also requires a well-organized system for tracking and managing inventory.

How to minimize risks when providing company laptops to employees?

One of the biggest challenges for companies and their IT teams is keeping the equipment secure once it goes out to the employee. However, remote work has taught us many ways to safeguard company equipment and maintain their operational integrity.

Implementing a laptop policy, constantly training employees, and implementing tools and processes to ensure security are three surefire ways to keep devices safe.


security features

  • Implement a laptop policy: Your policy should outline best practices for maintaining security, such as mandatory software updates, password protocols, and guidelines for safe internet usage. Establish clear rules on the use of company devices for personal activities and the steps to take if a laptop is lost or stolen.

  • Cybersecurity training: Regularly conduct cybersecurity training for all employees. This training should cover recognizing phishing attempts, avoiding suspicious downloads, and understanding the importance of secure passwords and multi-factor authentication.

  • Implement tools and processes: Use all available tools to protect your assets. Limit admin access to essential personnel only, ensuring that regular users cannot install unauthorized software. Employ multi-factor authentication, disk encryption, and VPNs to secure remote connections.


Crafting an effective company laptop policy

To ensure all your company property remains secure, you need a clear laptop policy that outlines responsibilities and obligations and sets clear rules and expectations for employees.

work from home equipment policy

What should the laptop policy include?

An effective laptop computer policy ensures productivity, security, and employee health in a remote or hybrid work environment. Here are key elements to include:

  1. Regulatory requirements: Detail all regulatory obligations related to laptop use and data protection. Ensure compliance with industry standards and legal requirements.

  2. Responsibility: Clarify that employees are personally responsible for the physical and cybersecurity of company-issued laptops. Outline guidelines for safe laptop handling, including transportation and usage in public places.

  3. Acceptable use: Define acceptable use policies, specifying permissible activities and applications on corporate laptops. Prohibit unauthorized software installations and outline consequences for policy violations.

  4. Cybersecurity practices: Emphasize cybersecurity best practices, such as regular antivirus updates, prompt response to security alerts, and reporting of incidents to the IT support team. Encourage the use of strong passwords and security features like encryption and multi-factor authentication to protect sensitive information.

  5. Monitoring and compliance: Communicate that laptops may be monitored for security and compliance purposes. Clearly outline the scope and methods of monitoring to ensure transparency and uphold employee privacy rights.

  6. Employee equipment agreement: Your policy should include a detailed equipment agreement that employees sign at the beginning of employment. This agreement should outline specific equipment usage guidelines and instructions on returning the device when the employee departs the organization.


Best practices for setting up laptops for distributed teams

Setting up laptops for employees, whether for onsite or remote work, requires careful planning and execution to guarantee productivity, security, and seamless operation. When setting up equipment for your employees, keep in mind the following best practices:

1. Select the right operating system

Begin by choosing the operating system (OS) that best suits your business needs. Windows 10 and macOS are the most common choices, each offering stability, support, and compatibility with essential business applications. Consider factors such as software requirements, user familiarity, and IT support capabilities when making this decision.

2. Create employee profiles

Once the OS is selected, create individual user profiles for each employee. Each profile should include a unique username, secure password, and company email address. Implement encryption protocols to secure passwords and ensure confidentiality of sensitive data.

3. Install updates

Regularly update laptops with the latest OS patches, software updates, and security fixes. This practice is critical to maintaining system stability, resolving vulnerabilities, and protecting against cyber threats like malware and data breaches.

4. Install necessary software

Install business-critical software tailored to your industry and specific job roles. This includes productivity suites like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Workspace, creative tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, and industry-specific applications. Ensure easy access to these programs with clear desktop shortcuts or organized menus.

5. Configure network devices

Enable connectivity to essential network devices such as printers and shared drives. Ensure laptops are pre-configured to access these resources seamlessly, especially for hybrid workers who occasionally pop into the office.

6. Enable security features and encryption

Implement robust security measures to safeguard company data. Enable features like two-factor authentication (2FA), fingerprint login, and full-disk encryption to protect sensitive information.

7. Utilize additional security tools

Enhance laptop security with tools like antivirus software, firewalls, and VPNs. These tools bolster defense against cyber threats and ensure compliance with security protocols.

8. Ensure proper hardware setup

Consider additional hardware needs such as external displays for enhanced productivity or privacy screens to prevent visual hacking. Equip laptops with necessary accessories like chargers, cables, and adapters.

9. Establish maintenance routines

Establish regular maintenance routines for software updates, system checks, and data backups. This will ensure that your devices always have the latest updates and prevent security breaches.

how to set up laptops for employees


Using GroWrk to provide company-approved equipment for employees

Partnering with a company like GroWrk can streamline the process of providing and managing laptops for remote employees. GroWrk's team understands the needs of remote workers and the challenges of the new workplace reality.

GroWrk offers a global network of vendors and warehouses, allowing the delivery of laptops and other devices to over 150 countries without customs taxes or shipping fees. Our streamlined global logistics will enable you to purchase from our catalog or store your inventory without worrying about additional costs.

Our intuitive dashboard simplifies onboarding and offboarding, while real-time notifications help track hardware maintenance and delivery. With GroWrk, companies can save time and money while ensuring their distributed teams have the right equipment to work efficiently and get their equipment back when an employee leaves.

Get a customized quote for your company and keep growing your distributed team, regardless of whether you want to procure equipment for new hires in Latin America, Europe, Africa, or Asia.

Schedule a call now.



1. What home office equipment do I need to work remotely?

For effective remote work, you need a laptop or desktop computer, a reliable internet connection, role-specific software, a comfortable desk and chair, and peripherals like a mouse, keyboard, and monitor.

2. Do companies pay for laptops to work from home?

Many companies provide laptops for remote workers to ensure security and standardization. They may also offer stipends or reimbursement for other necessary equipment.

3. Do companies pay for home office equipment?

Some companies provide stipends, reimbursements, or a full office setup, including desks, chairs, monitors, peripherals, and office supplies, to support remote employees.

4. Can I write off office equipment if I work from home?

If you're self-employed or have a home office for business purposes, you may be able to write off office equipment on your taxes. Consult with a tax professional for specific guidelines.

5. Why do tech companies give free laptops to their employees?

Tech companies provide laptops to ensure employees have the necessary tools, maintain security standards, and enable efficient remote management of devices and software.

6. What should be done before giving laptops to employees?

Before distributing laptops, ensure they are configured with the right operating system, security features, and necessary software. Set up user profiles, label the devices, and establish maintenance routines.

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