Last year most of us experienced working from home full-time for the first time, and not by choice. Within weeks, many of us realized we needed a better chair, and then a better desk, a monitor, a keyboard, better lighting, a laptop stand, a better camera. The knowledge workers of the world were thrust into being their own procurement specialists and IT support agents, and their employers did the best they could to try and help. Companies like Shopify and Twitter told employees they could expense up to $1000 to set up their home office. But while the ability to expense some equipment and office furniture was helpful, it was just a band-aid to a bigger issue: supporting the needs of remote workers.
How someone starts their first day of work in a new office can set the tone for their ultimate success. How you offboard employees who are leaving matters tremendously in how they remember the experience of working at a company. But onboarding, supporting, and offboarding remote workers is exponentially more challenging than when workers are in an office .
And it’s not just the logistics that are important here, but safety. As companies go remote the risk that workers get injured due to not using the right equipment grows. Large companies, in particular, are concerned by the rising number of back pain complaints, repetitive strain injuries, and other ailments. Issues that have been well-managed in the office are now cropping up after employees spend eight hours a day on a bad chair at their kitchen table.
This is where Firstbase comes in. Firstbase handles all the setup, management, maintenance, and retrieval of all the physical equipment remote workers need to do great work at home.
How does this work? A new employee can login to Firstbase and see all the approved laptop and desk options available to them and select what they want, put in their address, and the equipment will be sent out. It can be tied to an employer’s existing HRIS system to automate the flow of information, manage all physical assets from a single place, track warranty needs, and more. Is an employee leaving who needs to return equipment? Firstbase will send out a laptop box with a return shipping label and everything is taken care of.
It sounds so simple, but there’s a lot of logistics and software under the hood making this all work. Successfully enabling remote workers requires software that ties into HR systems, IT provisioning systems, SaaS tools, and more. The Firstbase platform handles all of this for companies with just a few clicks, providing a seamless onboarding and offboarding experience for the company and employee.
Firstbase founder Chris Herd has the vision of empowering great remote work. He documented his reasons for starting a company focused on remote work. (Spoiler: he wanted to eliminate his own brutal commute to spend more time with his adorable two year old daughter.)
This was a big opportunity before COVID, but now it’s something much, much larger. While some companies will go back to the way it was before, many more are embracing a remote work environment as a permanent policy, and employee surveys are telling us that more and more employees plan to work from home, or work remotely, for the foreseeable future. There are already companies with 1000s of employees using Firstbase to improve the home setup for their people, with more than 10,000 companies waiting to be signed up and onboarded.
We have a number of investments focusing on the future of work, including Superhuman, Tandem, Hopin, Mem, and more. It seems only fitting that in addition to investing in the tools we use to get work done, we’d invest in the infrastructure to easily set up, support, and scale a remote workforce globally. And so, we’re thrilled to be leading Firstbase’s Series A round of fundraising, and I am very excited to join their board and partner with Chris and team.
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