How to Retrieve Equipment From a Remote Employee


Statistics show that 27% of US employees are working remotely as of 2023. It’s estimated that 36.2 million employees will be working remotely by 2025.

If you own a business, you probably have some remote employees. If they were using equipment from home, you might need it returned if they quit or are fired.

There are a few ways of getting equipment back you can try before having to escalate the situation. This guide will help you understand how to get back business equipment.

Keep reading to find out how to retrieve equipment from a remote employee.

Have Return Terms

Business equipment is often something you have invested in substantially. This may include technical equipment like software and a phone or laptop.

If an employee is no longer going to be working for you, you want that equipment returned. It is very important to have return terms written in your employee acknowledgment.

This should be a part of the documentation they signed when joining the company. A written agreement holds the employee responsible for following the terms.

If you need to file a legal claim to recover business equipment, this will support you. It shows that the employee has agreed to return the equipment but hasn’t done so.

In a lot of instances, all you will need to do is remind them of this. Employees will understand that they are legally held to these terms and have to give up the equipment.

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It is also a good idea to discuss this with employees before hiring them. Let them know that they will receive equipment but that it needs to be returned when they are no longer working.

Get Returns In-Person

Returning equipment is not very convenient for most people. To make this process simpler for employees, you could schedule an in-person return.

In some instances, a termination meeting is required for employees. If that is the case, this is the perfect time to retrieve equipment.

You can let the remote employee know beforehand that this is expected. If there was no termination meeting, you can schedule a return for the equipment.

You can meet the employee in the field or at the office. Make sure you are honest about why this meeting is taking place.

They should understand that this is an equipment retrieval meeting. This also guarantees they will have all the equipment that they originally received.

Allow Shipping

There are several ways to retrieve company equipment from a remote employee. One of the most convenient options is to allow for shipping.

An employee may be much more open to shipping the equipment back to the office. You could even provide shipping materials as further encouragement.

For employees who are not local, this may be the only option you have. If they live out of state or even out of the country, they will have to ship items by mail.

If that is the case, they should be included in your return terms. Also, plan on reimbursing the employee for shipping and packaging costs.

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It may be a good idea to ask for a tracking number as confirmation of the shipment as well. You could also look into equipment retrieval services if shipping also doesn’t work.

You can hire a laptop retrieval service for employees if a remote employee is not cooperating. This is often necessary if the equipment is of high value.

Have a Deadline

If a remote employee is quitting or being fired, you need to have a plan. In a lot of instances, remote employees have business equipment with them.

This is equipment that the company paid for, and you want to get back. The problem is that not all employees are going to work with you on doing this.

They may be disorganized and are struggling to return equipment. Or in some cases, they may want to keep the equipment and aren’t cooperating.

That is why it is very important to instigate a deadline for returns. A deadline should be included in the return terms that the employees signed upon hiring.

You can also remind them of this deadline when you ask for the equipment. If the deadline is ignored, there should be some kind of repercussion.

You can start charging fees if deadlines are not met by the employee. Or you could threaten to file a legal claim within a certain timeframe.

If an employee is being uncooperative, it is important to set clear boundaries for them to follow. These don’t always work, but it shows that you aren’t going to back down.

Have a Recovery Strategy

When an employee leaves the company, certain things should happen. The steps you need to take are going to look different when it comes to remote employees.

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If the employee is not returning the equipment, you need to know what to do next. That is why every business should have a recovery strategy in place.

This may include taking legal action after a certain timeframe. Keep in mind that this is only ideal if the equipment is of substantial value.

You can also have an equipment retrieval company on hand in these situations.

Remote Employee Equipment: Getting Equipment Back

If you have remote employees, they probably use company equipment. Some examples of common equipment include laptops, phones, and different gadgets.

If a remote employee is not returning equipment, it can be hard to know what to do next. One thing you should do is have in-person returns or allow the shipping of equipment.

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