If you work remotely, do your company pay for stuff like computer / desk / chair / internet access / office locally where you live? Is there a set allowance, or do you expense it? If you do have a kit allowance, is it “means tested” based on your country of residence? (I seem to remember someone—Trello? StackOverflow?—giving a flat USD5,000 allowance for kit, but I cannot find a reference for that now.)
I invoiced for my computer, and for travel to/from head office. (Obviously.) But I rent a separate office as I don’t have a suitable office space for full-time work from home (yet) and haven’t invoiced for that yet. (The rented office comes furnished, heated, with kitchen facilities and with fairly good internet connectivity.) When I first started I did not yet have internet connection at home, so renting this office was necessary for me to be able to commence working for them.
Now my home line is probably good enough—we had a fault on the line for a while, but it has been corrected now. However, I think I work better and with less distractions from this dedicated rented office than from home. I would like to continue, but it’s hard to justify the personal cost. Wondering what other people in similar situations do.
I expense things like home office equipment and Internet connection. No set limit per se, but there are vague guidelines about “reasonable”, so I always ask my manager first. So far, everything’s been approved when requested.
I have not attempted to expense something like office rent before, as I have enough room at home. My impression here is that they only like to approve that if it’s a coworking space you can share with other in the same location. But like I said, the guidelines where I work are pretty vague.
I invoice for things I wouldn’t have bought on my own accord, or didn’t want to buy. Do not invoice for my office (which is in what used to be the neighbour flat in my case).
In short: If I want to buy it and keep it if I quit, I pay. If I don’t but someone at work says to buy, I invoice.
I’m curious what happens when you switch jobs. Do you have to mail it all in? I had something of a budget to buy whatever I wanted for my office, but when I left the company, the toys stayed in my office. I’m not sure if anybody wanted my keyboard, but the desktop and monitors were certainly reused. If I’m remote, would I just keep accumulating even more computers from each job worked?
It’s a good question. This is my first remote job, and I’ve only been in it for 4 months, so this hasn’t come up yet.
Both my previous remote jobs have had me mail back computers when I left.
Where I am, I would mail in any machines and monitors. This is emphasized by each one having a branded asset tag on it.
Any other things are mine to keep.
I invoice things that I buy specifically and exclusively for a job. My office is already furnished, and I already have an internet connection that I would have regardless, so those things are out.
Previous job: on hire I was given a list of standard workstation equipment (computer and display) to buy, for which I was reimbursed. The equipment was company property but I was allowed to keep it upon leaving. Cell phone and Internet service were explicitly not covered by the company. I expensed a few other things like headsets and microphones, but not furniture.
Current job: I have a set monetary equipment allowance up to which I’ll be reimbursed. Anything I use it for becomes mine after a certain amount of time but reverts to the company if I leave before then. I haven’t used this yet since I already had a decent setup (fortunately, since the allowance is pretty low for a full developer workstation from scratch).
I’ve never had to rent a separate office space, so I can’t speak to that. I would never want my employer paying for my Internet because I wouldn’t want them to have any claim on my use of that connection for non-work purposes.
I work 98% remotely (read: go in periodically). My employer expenses my computer setup and Internet (which is cool!). However, I was in a similar boat: it’s good to get out into the world during the work day. There is a local coworking spot that offers a cheap membership tier at $20/mo for first-come-first-serve space in an open area. I use my discretionary budget for it.
As for your situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to talk to them about it. The worst they can say is “no,” and things will be exactly as they are now.
I work 100% remotely. My employer provides any needed business equipment (computer, tablet, keyboards, etc.) I haven’t requested that they cover anything I would get for myself anyway (home office, desk, internet connection).
At the very least you could ask your manager about it and point out the productivity benefit. It seems very unlikely that just asking would be a problem.
At my company (Parse.ly), our rough policy is currently a $2,000 equipment budget upon hire (in the offer letter), with re-ups of $1,000 per year for upgrades (approved as necessary). We don’t really control how people spend it – typical purchases are new laptops, new chair/desk, standing desk, subsidizing a fancy monitor, whatever. I’ve considered adding an Internet subsidy to this but upon investigation it seems like it’s more hassle than it’s worth.
My company pays for a laptop and display of our choice up front (there’s a limit, but it covers a decked out 13" MBP and Thunderbolt Display). They also allow for $1,000 in incidental office equipment (desk, chair, keyboard, etc.). I don’t get reimbursed for Internet service, but can file monthly for a flat $50 toward my cell phone bill. My company will also pay up to $500 monthly for co-working space, but I haven’t taken advantage of that perk.
Up to $500 monthly! Wow. My private 10m^2 rented office is about a third of that :-D (I’m in room 203.)
Interesting, my local co-op charges $499 for a private office with sketchy wifi and no air conditioning.
They’re generally unspoken job requirements in most of the work I get, though I don’t remote for a specific company; I’m just a freelancer that works for the same 3-4 companies over and over again.
There’s been two occasions where some software was required, and I either couldn’t afford it or couldn’t run it. If I couldn’t afford it, I negotiated the cost of it into the contract. If I couldn’t run it, I’d find the closest alternative I could, or request office-time to use it.
I generally maintain my own hardware, educational / research sources (Safari Books Online is a life saver), software, and project tools (basecamp, freshbooks, etc).
As far as personal office-space is concerned, on of my clients does provide a desk / area for me to work at whenever I want (and for whatever I’m working on)– free wifi, nice view, and access to the kitchen. I really don’t utilize that as much as I should, though– it’s quite a bit out of the way to get there, and I generally end up running triage for other developers working in there.
Stuff like travel / conferences, I report as education, so it’s not really a big deal. I’d rather a client send me along with some of their internal people, if only to get some discounts on travel and lodging, but its no big deal.