what is your company providing if you’re working from home?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

I was interviewing recently via Zoom for a remote role and the woman interviewing me (who is only a few months in at this company herself) had such a nice headset that I said something like, “Wow, that’s a great headset. I need to look into getting one myself with this new normal.” She replied very casually, “Oh yeah, it’s nice, I got the company to purchase it for me for this role and it’s been a lifesaver.” This got me thinking about what kinds of things one should be asking and negotiating for when it comes to remote work, especially when you’re not yet sure of company policies and culture like you would be if you had already worked there prior to going remote.

In my situation, I’ll be setting up a home office for the first time. I’ve been in outside sales for over a decade and while we “worked from home” in many respects, we really worked from our cars and cafes and had an office to go to for any office supplies or printing. I do have my own printer, but I know I’ll be needing a better chair, plus there’s the cost of wifi, the cost of heating my home all day in winter (northern climate here), etc. I don’t want to nickel and dime an employer and know that remote work, even if necessary and required right now, is still a perk in many ways, and with those perks comes the cost of doing business on my end.

I guess I’m looking for 1) what would be smart and standard to ask for, 2) what would be ludicrous and out of touch, and 3) when to broach those topics in the interview process. Maybe also from the commenters some unexpected things that either they wish they would have asked for and/or are very glad to have.

In theory, your employer should pay for or provide any equipment you need for work (computer, printer, paper, etc.), as well as cover any extra expenses you’re incurring by working from home (like upgraded internet access). But what the details of that look like vary greatly: Some companies will pay for desk chairs, but some won’t (even though they’d pay for them in the office). Some will pay for internet access but others expect you to have it as a condition of being able to work from home. Some balance it against the savings you’re presumably getting from not having to commute (figuring, for example, that any increase in electricity is balanced out by saving on gas or transportation). There’s no one answer, making this a good one to throw out to readers.

So, readers who are working remotely, what have you asked for and received? What have you asked for and not received?

{ 517 comments… read them below }

    1. Imprudence*

      Me too. And now I am going back in one day a wekk, my employer has found me another chair to use at work.

    2. Always Late to the Party*

      Yup roughing it without a big monitor lasted about a week for me so I got to bring my whole setup home. Not sure what’s going to happen if/when we get phased back in slowly, but I know I’m WFH full-time for the rest of the year at least.

      1. Jules*

        My team does virtual presentations and 1:1 meetings with clients. Our marketing team made us some branded virtual backgrounds for Zoom, and bought us all ring lights so that we look professional when we appear on camera with clients. It makes a huge difference!

    3. The Rural Juror*

      Same here. I had a table I was able to use as a “desk” at my house, but took home my desktop computer, 2 monitors, chair, chair mat so it would roll on my carpet, the whole shebang. Basically moved out of my office.

      1. Quiet Liberal*

        Me, too. The set up is almost exactly like the office, except employer got me a phone to use specifically for this. I honestly don’t want to go back.

      2. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        I did not ask for much as I already had a pretty nice 200 sq.ft. room setup from a previous role then years ago:
        Large desk (3×6 ft), height adjustable for sitting and
        Combo printer/scanner
        Two screens, 27/24″, laptop docking station
        Wireless keyboard, mouse and trackball (works wonders with my RSI)
        In addition, I took a screen from the office to free one for my private PC (which last weekend got it’s own desk), a webcam so I do not need to stare into the laptop, and my conference speaker so I do not need a headset on all the time.
        On my own, I got an air conditioning unit (AC is not standard in Germany as it rarely gets hot enough, think Seattle climate – but we had an unusual heat spell for a few weeks and my office is in an attic room that, while heavily insulated, does heat up when there’s weeks on end of sunshine).
        The company will pay for office stuff as needed; we just expense receipts (within reason; a $1000 Herman Miller chair would require my manager’s approval while a decent $150 one from IKEA would not).

        1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

          I also got an used multi-line Cisco IP phone off Ebay – my office desk phone gets forwarded there, but also my work mobile connects to the thing via bluetooth so I can take calls either way. I find it more comfortable than holding a large smartphone to my ear. I could not be bothered to try to expense that, though.

    4. designbot*

      Our office even offered that we could take desks home if we needed to and told folks to reach out if they needed furniture like that but our standard one didn’t work for some reason. This did double duty of also helping us achieve the requisite spacing in our office floor plan :)

    5. BadWolf*

      Me too. Also, my docking station, keyboard and mouse to make my laptop long term livable.

      They’ve now said you can’t take your office chair home so glad I took mine home early.

      They do have a super short list of items that you can buy (like 1 type of mouse, 1 type of keyboard) for some home accessories.

      But we’re all paying for internet anything “extra.” I bought a plastic mat for my office chair to protect my floor. I had to replace my fancy ergonomic mouse that broke.

      1. MassMatt*

        …and if they won’t provide one, or the one they provide is crappy, get one yourself and don’t scrimp on it, get the best you can afford. You are going to spend 8+ hours a day in the chair, get one that’s comfortable.

        When my company closed a site the employees had a choice of switching to WFH or severance (there was no other location near them) and I was surprised how many people were using folding chairs and ping pong tables and the like. No wonder your back and neck hurt!

      2. Amethystmoon*

        I treated myself to a new office chair at home with birthday money. My old chair was over 10 years old. It does make a difference.

      3. Anja*

        This has been an interesting time because working from home has caused me to actually realize that my office chair isn’t the right fit for me. I’ve had significantly fewer back issues working from home sitting on a McDonald’s chair that was stolen for me years (almost decades?) ago for my 18th birthday (I did not know ahead of time – this was not in response to a request from me!). What I’ve learned from it is that I actually need an office chair with a shorter or adjustable seat. I have short thighs and with my office chair I tend to perch on the end of the seat so don’t even make use of the chair back.

        1. TardyTardis*

          At old ExJob, I had a footstool so I could make use of the office chair to where it was at the right height for the computer and keyboard, and I could still have proper support for feet and sit all the way back in the chair. (I’m not quite hobbit sized, but I’ll probably be there in a decade or so).

          1. Anja*

            At home I actually have a little box for under my feet. At work I have an adjustable desk so I was actually able to put my chair low enough and then lower my desk down to the right level. Just somehow I still don’t end up sitting far back enough in the seat. If I go back to the office I probably actually just have to make an appointment with the ergonomics people.

    6. MCL*

      Same. I nabbed my office chair, monitors, keyboard, mic/webcam peripherals – luckily I had building keys and a car. I lasted about a week on my hard dining room chair before going in to get that stuff.

      I was able to get work to pay for a wireless printer, which has been pretty great. I work at a public university, so I was not sure whether it would work, but we filled out a mountain of paperwork and got it shipped to my house. :)

    7. Lynn*

      My company created a whole system to request to pick up your old gear and have it brought out to you. It was like contactless curbside pick up, and it was great.

      1. Mama Bear*

        Wow, that is awesome.

        Before I started here, I gave them a rundown of sw and specs and they had IT figure out what to provide me with. If I were to start today, I’d ask for a docking station and laptop at least. A lot of people who are full or nearly full on remote took their monitors home.

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        That’s awesome! My company said we could come in to get any hardware we wanted from our workspace (and they were good about making sure only a handful of people were in the building at a time, if there were too many you could wait in your car and security would call your cell phone when you could come in). I thankfully didn’t have to get much because my husband had tons of computer gear at home already that was nicer than what I used in the office. I don’t know if anyone took a chair, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    8. A Genuine Scientician*

      Me too. They also bought me an external microphone, since the shift online resulted in me having to record some instructional videos, and my laptop’s built in microphone wasn’t picking up my voice too well.

      When it became clear that this was going to be for more than 4 months, I also asked if there was any way I could get a printer, which of course I’d bring in to the office once we were in person and make a shared resource. My boss asked if I’d OK with just taking the one from his office home to use while we’re all remote, and that’s fine with me, so I did that and also took a package of printer paper.

      (He sent me instructions for where the master key was. So I now know how to get into anyone’s office, even though my role in no way requires it. Academia; it’s its own world.)

    9. Ann Perkins Knope*

      Judging by your name, I am also a Gov Emp, and working for government, I kind of figure on a ‘fair to a fault’ financial policies, no extras, you get exactly what is laid out and they would rather it be less than that but it’s definitely not going to be more, whatever, I get it, but you’ll definitely get mileage, travel/training reimbursed, equipment you need but they’d kinda fight you on optional-looking equipment (say, a standing desk! oh the debates we’ve had over standing desks). 

      We’ve been given nothing but the bare minimum – a computer to work on, access to the network, and a sheaf of paper (for the printer I don’t have). Two new policies I don’t love – after months of working from home, we were figuring out this is gonna be long-term, we started asking for things like monitors and chairs. They finally came out with a policy– no taking 2nd monitors or chairs home (I grabbed a chair before they had come out with an official policy – with the OK of my department). We’re not even asking them to reimburse us for stuff we buy, but none of that, either. Their justification was “Use the money you save from commuting to buy stuff” – Like, okay, but this is a global pandemic, not a privilege I asked for, nobody is exactly laughing all the way to the bank with a bit of extra commute money, but, whatever, it’s a good, steady job in a hard time, they had a lot of reasonable, fair policies dealing with the pandemic, paying people to stay home, no cuts in pay, fine.  2nd policy – I travel for work (non-essential but contactless/outdoors, not too far) so we’re doing that and asking about mileage. The policy has always been the mileage has to be calculated from our worksite (even if you leave from home) so they don’t pay for your commute – we’ve been able to use the shared company car (must stay at the work site overnight, don’t have as many as we need) or get mileage. Now, no mileage reimbursement until you hit the length of your commute into work and back. Okay, they don’t want to pay for our commutes, but we’re not commuting, our home office is our office, and isn’t that money for my monitor/chair/being able to work comfortably slush fund? It makes it really hard to keep track of those miles, in general – which I feel like is important for the full picture. Am I supposed to write up and submit a (detailed, annoying, time-consuming) mileage report even if it ends up I don’t get any mileage reimbursed because I’m going to sites closer to home than my work site? Or do I just let those miles disappear, not tracking them?

      1. Dream Jobbed*

        Yes, I am saving money on gas and wear and tear on my vehicle. But it’s a short commute. I have increased expenses for all my utilities. I have to provide my own Internet at a reasonable speed. My chair is causing massive wear and tear on my hardwood floors (although I just spent $50 on a clear mat designed to protect hard wood and will put it in my home office when I get it finished, so it’s something I would have bought for business anyway.) There are costs from working at home. Mostly costs they do not have to pay right now. The least they can do is let you take home your equipment so that you work more efficiently. Telling you to buy your own stuff is tone deaf to say the least. I’m sorry they are being ridiculous about this stuff.

        1. Skeetpea*

          FWIW, another way to protect your floors is to replace your chair’s casters with those that use rollerblade wheels. No wear on the floor, and they’re quieter and smoother.

    10. Sciencer*

      I effectively did this too – I was already intending to buy a standing desk, chair, and monitor over the summer, and since we had started WFH by then I got permission to have them shipped to my house instead of office (not the desk – haven’t purchased that yet).

      Now that I’m split between home-office and campus-office, it’s awkward. I left my new stuff at home and I’m borrowing a small desk and chair from the common area of our office since we can’t allow visitors anymore. The desk I wanted is back-ordered for months and I have another office move planned around the same time (but which could be delayed by coronavirus priorities), so I’m torn about when to actually order it. And I’m acutely aware that I will likely be back to 100% WFH within a month or two. (I teach at a small university… it’s going well so far, but only a matter of time.) If we end up being fully remote next spring, I’m sure going to wish I’d waited on the desk so I could more easily have it at home.

      For now I’m busy enough that having a half-empty office with little piles of stuff scattered around is fine. I can’t have visitors in my office anyway, so who cares what it looks like?

    11. Engineer Woman*

      We were encouraged to get our work chairs and monitors if needed. I lasted a couple weeks and went in for the monitor. Our company will also reimburse for upgraded internet and provides equipment such as keyboard, mouse, laptop stand, etc. We each already had work laptops.

    12. Awesome Sauce*

      Yep, same here. We were encouraged to bring home anything we needed from our offices/cubicles, so I have my laptop, a second screen, my mouse, and my docking station. I already had a spare keyboard at home but I might go back in and grab the keyboard from my cubicle (the keys are quieter which is nice for video calls). I’m set up on my kid’s old computer desk which he left here when he moved across the country for university.

      I bought my own headset and haven’t attempted to expense it, as the laptop mic is sufficient for most stuff, and also I hoped to use the headset for personal use. (That hasn’t happened yet. Oh well.)

      The company has also not offered to reimburse us for increased internet or utilities costs. It hasn’t really been discussed. I’m thinking I may need to band together with a few others and see if they’ll give us the tax form we would need to claim home-office expenses on our 2020 tax returns. (Canada)

      1. Jellissimo*

        I am curious about this. I have seen in a few responses the “increased utility costs” for heating, electricity, etc. I work for a State University and there is not really a set policy on what they will and will not pay for, but there was no real conversation even about laptop. I’m confident I could have taken home my desktop if I needed a computer. Anyway, it would not even occur to me to ask for reimbursement for any portion of my utility bills. If I needed to upgrade my internet speed, that might be a conversation, but things like increased heating and air conditioning, I assume I would be thought of as tone deaf. I’m interested if anyone’s company has a policy on this type of reimbursement, or if anyone has successfully requested this type of reimbursement?

        1. AVP*

          I have not seen it done. However, my brother-in-law’s company is letting them expense $100/month worth of food (any food receipt acceptable, groceries or restaurant) as sort of a “sorry your expenses are higher now” catch-all.

        2. DrRat*

          When my company shut down our local office five years ago and we all went to WFH, some people did ask about the increased utility cost and were told it was basically expected to be offset by 1) no commute costs (less for gasoline, car insurance) and 2) the fact that when we WFH, we get fully reimbursed for all Internet costs. In my state, you can upgrade to the fastest connections you can get and the company will pick up the cost.

    13. Kipar*

      My husband was able to take his whole office set up home – desk, chair, and multiple monitors. His company was already planning to close the local office anyway, so it worked out well for him.

    14. whocanpickone*

      Our company sent everyone home initially with monitors/ keyboards/ docking stations since it was unknown how long the office would be closed (still is!) & new employees are given the same stuff to use at home. They already cover a cell phone for 90% of the employees, so that wasn’t an issue. Some people may have taken chairs, but most did not.

    15. coldbrewraktajino*

      Pre-pandemic I was driving as little as possible. The day our office closed was conveniently a driving day, so I just loaded up my car with everything I thought I’d need. I’ve had to go back to the office twice since for things like my extra wide monitor and an office chair–which barely fit in my hatchback! I don’t know what I would have done if this were in my pre-car days. I might have been able to convince a coworker to bring me a few things that I couldn’t carry on the bus.

    16. allathian*

      I could have taken my monitors and desk chair home when WFH became mandatory, but I didn’t need to do it. In before times, we were allowed to WFH and I used to do it a few days a month, but because it was completely optional, employees who wanted to WFH were required to supply their office space themselves. Enough that I had bought a desk chair I can sit on for 8+ hours every day. A few years ago, they refurbished my husband’s office and he brought his old desk home for me. I love it because it has adjustable legs. It’s not electric so it’s not a standing desk as such, but I can adjust it with screws to a comfortable height for my arms. I have a phone provided by my employer, which I already had when I was working at the office.

    17. BK*

      Same, but no need for car privilege – my grandboss and a few others offered to “deliver” stuff for those without a car, or we could expense a taxi.

    18. Tarso Infirma*

      We were told we could take any computer peripherals (monitor, keyboard, headsets, ….) but not the actual desktop computer. Something about network and security. Anyone with specific requirements just has to ask and permission is usually granted. Those few who needed a computer and did not have a laptop, were given a laptop to use.

      We can take our chairs, and any office supplies we need.

      The company does not pay for internet. Does not pay for heat/electricity/utilities. Does not pay for lunch or coffee :)

    19. homework*

      I took my chair home as well, but that’s not common. The employer actively encouraged people to come to the office to pick up their monitors for home use and to provide the serial numbers so they could track who has what. The employer also signed up (and recently renewed) for a Microsoft Teams license for all employees. I use my own printer but I manage to reduce how much time I really need to print things (it’s not a huge function of my job).

    20. Lana*

      Same here. Monitors. Chair. Dock. Footrest. Plus my deskalator & anti fatigue mat.

      I already had a wireless keyboard and mouse.

      The message from management has consistently been “tell us if your at home set up isn’t working”. We have telehealth physio appointments available, and for people who are really stuck they will pay for an OT to visit your house. As returning to the office has become available those who truly can’t work from home have been offered to return first, and take priority over others.

  1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

    my org has been pretty good about providing laptops, headsets, web cams, anything tech that is literally required to do the job — that is if they can procure them; that’s the sticking point for a lot of requests. They also give a small stipend for using a personal phone for business purposes; unfortunately it comes with a remote security app that you have to download that can wipe a phone since some people have access to confidential info about students — but official policy is that IT won’t wipe it, they’ll just give someone instructions on how to do it themselves if they lose their phone. Anything that is “optional,” like a chair, no; and honestly it sometimes feels like that’s the policy even if we’re in the office.

    1. GammaGirl1908*

      Ugh, I fear that phone situation. I have decided that if ever my org stops providing a phone (knocking wood that they never do), and instead goes to the situation you are describing where they can remotely wipe my phone, I’ll buy the cheapest phone I can find that will suit and add a line to my personal plan, and use the stipend to cover the extra line. It would be worth the $150 or so for the phone to avoid having my organization be able to obliterate all of my personal documents.

      1. Indie*

        Last company that had a BYOD policy also refused to provide corporate phones. So I refused to use my own. Nothing bad happened. I wasn’t able to check my email after hours and my stress level went way down.

    2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      Only once in my 25 years of working have I had a chair that I considered comfortable. At my last company after a bunch of layoffs I swiped a chair out of one of the empty manager offices (they were ergonomic) and then put it in my car when we moved buildings even though we weren’t supposed to take them.

  2. nuqotw*

    My employer offered to buy tablets and I asked for an iPad. I expected just that – an iPad. They also got me a Bluetooth keyboard, Apple Pencil, docking thing, and blue tooth mouse. My wrists and hands were getting numb from my increased typing load and being able to write on screen is making remote work possible in the longer term.

  3. sequitur*

    I took my office chair home as it’s nicer than my home chair. I was having some ergonomic issues recently and my company ordered/shipped/paid for a new desk, new laptop riser, adjustable lamp, ergonomic mouse, a big mouse mat and a wrist rest. Generally they’ve been very reasonable with getting people the stuff they need, but you have to go through a process with Facilities and IT to document your issues and work out your needs. There’s been some resistance to giving people a budget and letting them buy whatever they want with it, as we have a duty of care (UK-based employer) to ensure any equipment we provide is actually fit for purpose. Otherwise we could be liable for health/ergonomic issues caused by unsuitable equipment purchased with company money, so the workaround for this has been to have Facilities/IT buy equipment from a list that’s already approved.

    1. Just J.*

      +1 to this. Our company also has a pre-approved list for ergonomic equipment.

      I would definitely be negotiating for a real, ergonomic office chair. Good quality office chairs that help you sit correctly and save your back start at around $800 and go much higher.

      When WFH started, I was using my home office chair, which while plush did not have appropriate back support. I quickly asked for, and got, permission to bring home my good office chair.

      Also ask for monitor stands, a full size keyboard, and ergonomic mouse.

  4. Effie*

    My company provided a $300 stipend for us to purchase our WFH equipment for reimbursement (we purchased, then applied for reimbursement). We also had the option to get company-negotiated rates on equipment from a few suppliers.

    1. Brooks Brothers Stan*

      This is almost exactly what my place offered us. Our parent org fully funded a $300 stipend for all employees to bring our home office up to speed (chairs, desks, printers, headsets, etc). We also, as an org, have been covering all ‘reasonable’ expenses related to working from home (basically, any supplies that you would have used in the office will be bought and shipped to you). From there, it’s been case by case on what would be covered but we’ve been incredibly lenient with it.

      Our policy has basically been, “Don’t take advantage of it, remember we are trying to manage costs, but don’t be afraid to ask.”

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Our parent org fully funded a $300 stipend for all employees to bring our home office up to speed (chairs, desks,

        This is very nice regarding the bolded because I know a lot of companies will not pay for their employees’ desks and chairs – they just assume everyone will already have this I guess.

        1. Product Person*

          My company gave everyone $500 to buy anything we wanted to improve our home office. I got a new chair (that used up the whole stipend). We already had laptops, blueetooth mouse and keyboard, monitors that we could take home, but the chairs and desks need to be there for folks who may prefer to work from the office sitting far away from each other without having to drag chairs to each office.

          1. Sakuko*

            We got the same. A 500€ tax-free bonus that we where supposed to use for our home office, but could really spent however we like.
            Not sure if we where allowed to take the monitors home, but I did not ask, since I have no car anyway. Might have been ok, too.

    2. KayDeeAye*

      That’s exactly what my company provided to us. Apparently, one of the major employers here offered its employees $250, and our controller said, “Oh, we can do better than that.” :-) Which was kind of cool and unexpected because that woman is ordinarily very tight with a dollar!

      1. Gussie Fink-Nottle*

        My company also just launched a one-time $400 reimbursement, but they really opened it up! It’s for setting up your space, space for your kids to do remote learning, purchase at-home exercise equipment, etc. Basically anything that you needed to make life better in this environment, it would 9 out of 10 times be covered. Really appreciated the flexibility, especially as I already had a WFH setup before Covid.

          1. Product Person*

            Mine put no restrictions on how to spend our $500 to improve our working from home situation. The COO only said, as long as it’s a receipt you could show your grandmother, it goes. :-)

            A colleague asked if he could buy a puppy to be his “coworker” and the CEO said yes, as long as he doesn’t try to expense the dog’s food and care later!

        1. AnonInTheCity*

          My husband’s company gave everyone a $1000 stipend, no receipts required – just for anything you might need for a home office setup, whether that’s a desk or second monitor or a remote learning space for your kids. I’m excited because we really have no good WFH space in our house and we’re going use the money to set up a desk space that we can both use.

          It’s not totally related to Covid, but I just received a laptop for my new job and was pleased to see that my company sprung for a top of the line MacBook Pro.

    3. many bells down*

      Mr. Bells’ company is providing a $250 stipend for any necessary WFH expenses. We’re using it to buy a better router.
      I work in nonprofit, so I was allowed to take anything I needed from the office but I didn’t really need anything there. Also, our board just approved a “respite package” of a paid week off for all staff and a small bonus.

    4. Silicon Valley Girl*

      Similar, all employees can get a small stipend to reimburse the equipment they need, whether it’s a keyboard, headset, etc. Also, towards the beginning of lockdown, employees were allowed to take home computer monitors from the office.

    5. Lilyp*

      We got a $1000 reimbursement offer and permission to bring work equipment (e.g. monitors) home at the beginning of quarantine. I’m not sure if it’s still in effect for new employees or if they tell people about it though. I know people have used it for chairs and headphones. I would personally see asking for internet or electrical bill reimbursement as a stretch unless you’re specifically like getting internet only for your job when you otherwise wouldn’t have it at all or something.

      1. D3*

        When we started WFH + had students doing school from home, we upgraded our plan and it made a huge positive difference. What was fine for casual family use was struggling with 4 people in video meetings or streaming at the same time.
        Thankfully my husband’s company is covering the difference for as long as he is WFM.

    6. Moose on skates*

      We got a $300 stipend when we were just working from home until May, but then once they extended it to “indefinitely” it was increased to $500. Now that it’s been extended until July 2021, we also get $25/month for internet, and we also get an extra $300 for our wellness fund (covers things like gym memberships, massages, etc., but now also covers books/supplies for kids schooling from home too).

    7. Aerin*

      Ours was $400, though it explicitly does not cover tech stuff since that’s supposed to be purchased and owned by the department. I had decided to splurge and buy myself a proper chair a couple of months before they announced it, so I was thrilled to have that reimbursed.

      On the tech front I’ve been hoping to convince them to buy me a dual monitor KVM so I can use the monitors on my home computer without having to swap back every time. They get pretty expensive and some of them look like they might need software to run. No luck yet, although I haven’t really pushed it since I’m still weighing the options.

  5. Anonymous - tech industry*

    My employer has been awesome. We were allowed to take any equipment that was on our desk, which would be our laptop, laptop stand, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. We get a $125 monthly stipend to compensate for the extra costs for internet, electricity, etc., as well as a one-time $300 reimbursement for additional equipment like a new chair or desk.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      I’m really jealous of folks who get reimbursed for the cost of a desk and chair. I work from home full time even in non-pandemic times, and that’s not an option for remote employees – and I work in software. They did, however, send me all of my equipment last year when I started (external monitor, laptop, conference speakerphone, iPhone for work) and are paying for my phone bill (we had to choose between that or the company reimbursing our internet up to $75/month).

    2. Anonymous Commenter #94*

      My company’s standard teleworker package includes desktop or laptop, plus monitors, mouse, keyboard, webcam, and headset. It doesn’t include printer, furniture, internet or phone. We order office supplies through a central vendor.

  6. EdGal*

    They provided a headset (pre-covid), second monitor, wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, external camera, and we’re working on a docking station (backordered). I am client facing so I was fortunate. However, they gave everyone $500 post-tax to get whatever they needed and no receipts needed. So that covered a few things I had already purchased such as a chair and big yoga ball, etc.

      1. MCL*

        LOL, $0 from my employer. I heard that at least one person in another department was working out of his car because he lives in the sticks and doesn’t get good internet. I hope that has changed for him. :(

        1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

          Honestly, unless you need a more expensive internet package to increase your bandwidth for multiple people WFH and/or kids with virtual learning, you were already paying for internet access prior to COVID. And a reimbursement isn’t going to help your colleague with bad service. It’s a great perk if they’re able to allow it, but I don’t think it should be a given.

          1. Anonymouse*

            There are a lot of areas in the US with pretty terrible ISP coverage, and millions of people who don’t actually have broadband internet. To assume that everybody already had reliable internet access prior to COVID is a really big assumption. Granted, many people who don’t have internet access at home probably aren’t doing jobs that can be done over the internet from home, but in my state there was a big issue around online learning for kids in communities with little internet access. Some school districts ended up parking wifi enabled school buses in the spots where there were high concentrations of students without access so kids could use that connection.

            1. hbc*

              I don’t think the issue is that coverage is assumed, but a lot of people who don’t have decent coverage can’t make it better with $10 or $30 or $100 per month. Maybe if you’re relying on your cell as a hot spot and now you need a better data plan, but otherwise, no company is going to pay to get a cable run to your house.

            2. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

              Never in my comment did I say that I assume everyone has reliable internet access.

            3. Chaordic One*

              Even though our local public library is closed, the parking lot is full of people sitting in their cars using the free wi-fi that is still being broadcast from the library. I don’t know that anyone is actually working from their car or attending class in their car, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

              1. JO*

                As a public librarian, I can confirm that there are definitely people outside working and attending class. I’ve walked past people sitting on the sidewalk, obviously attending business meetings. (This is an area with poor broadband coverage.)

          2. MCL*

            I mean, I personally don’t need a more expensive internet package – we already had decent home internet for entertainment purposes. But a LOT of people do not have home internet (or if they do it’s not great), and if they had to add it it would be a not-insignificant monthly expense that they would need to pay to do their job or access education. The digital divide is real. I think it would be tremendous for employers to offer to help subsidize internet expenses for employees that need it; my employer does not seem to have done this.

          3. I'm just here for the cats!*

            Not everyone had internet before wfh. Even those who have jobs that can be wfh they may not have internet or have access to reliable internet. There. Are still rural area that all you can get is dialup. And satalite internet sucks! EspeciAlly if to live somewhere where bad weather can affect satalite quality.

          4. Dream Jobbed*

            “Honestly, unless you need a more expensive internet package to increase your bandwidth for multiple people WFH and/or kids with virtual learning, you were already paying for internet access prior to COVID.”

            I actually drop my Internet about once a year for a couple months until they make the price reasonable again. I can play that game of chicken. Now, when my “contract” is up, I have no standing when my rates double. So yes, it is going to hurt me.

          5. Jojo*

            My sister lives out in the sticks. The only internet available is dialup. So it is slow and requires a dedicated phone line if they do not want the phone toed up all the time. Cell phones do not work there either. No cell tower in tange.

          6. Not a Blossom*

            My aunt doesn’t have internet at home. She rarely gets on her computer and just uses her phone data plan; she mostly accesses the internet from her phone and when she needs the computer, she uses her phone as a hotspot. However, she needs a better connection to work from home, which means adding a new service. I think there are more people like that than you would think, especially with large or unlimited phone plans.

  7. NYC Redhead*

    My company provided everyone with laptops, although some of us had them from pre-Covid times. They will also cover any increased cost of Internet service.
    A few have had printers purchased for them and others brought monitors from the office. Any other equipment (headsets, chairs, speakers) are not covered.

  8. Not A Girl Boss*

    This is one of those things that’s so weird to negotiate. So much of it is uncharted territory, and its made weirder because the company is saving money by not having you come in, but you’re also saving money by not commuting.

    At my previous job, people who came into work were given amazing ergo setups complete with a PT evaluation. But if you worked from home, you didn’t even get monitors.

    My new company is a 100% WFH position and this is what I negotiated:
    -I negotiated a $1000 signing bonus specifically to put toward an ergo home office setup (a standing desk). That’s normally absolutely not something the company pays for, but I was able to slide it in there as a signing bonus and some “this is what I need for us to make this arrangement work” language.
    -They provided all electronics: monitor, computer, keyboard, scanner, printer, shredder, etc.
    -They did not provide office supplies like pens and pencils and notebooks and ink and printer paper. To be fair, they argued that with remote work the number of times I’d actually need to print something was infinitesimal. However, in a super sweet gesture they did mail me a ‘welcome box’ with lots of those things.
    -Annoyingly, I lost the battle on cell phones. They provide traveling sales reps a $75/month cell phone stipend, which I thought was really fair. But they positively refused to extend the benefit to me. Annoying, but I just set up a Google Voice number for free and that’s been fine.
    -I did not ask for heat or WiFi stipend. I just figured I needed to negotiate an overall salary that allowed me to afford that. Just like I need to consider commuting expenses in my salary.
    -I had to provide my own headset, but I think if I’d raised a stink they would have paid for it.

    1. blepkitty*

      I’m gonna quibble about this saving on commute business. I saved money in the spring months with not commuting, but over the summer the electric bill I racked up by keeping my apartment air conditioned all day has negated any savings on gas for the car.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        For us the savings is pretty big, because with the timing of when my car died, we were able to forego buying a replacement second car entirely. That’s easily $350/month in a car payment savings.
        I also saved a lot of money by having more freedom to prep food at home for lunch. No more convenience pack yogurt or buying cafeteria food because I ran out of time to cook lunch the day before. Sure, I could have done that already, but when I was commuting for 1.5 hours a day I didn’t really want to spend my free time measuring out yogurt.
        Which brings met to: I also view the reduced commute time as effectively working way less hours in a day for the same pay.

        Also, I just suffered through without A/C all summer lol. But come winter the heating bill will undoubtedly be higher.

        1. blepkitty*

          I wasn’t disputing your savings, just saying that it’s not a universal thing (your phrasing made it sound like you were generalizing to the world at large).

          I have a 15-20 minute commute to the office and a decently fuel efficient car. I’m also terrible at meal planning due to mental health issues, so I end up ordering lunch delivered a lot, which is a lot more expensive than buy food at my company’s cafeteria. I do enjoy the lack of a commute with telework, but it’s otherwise not any cheaper for me.

          1. Juanita*

            @blepkitty have you tried Sunbasket or Blue Apron or another boxed meal kit service? Those have worked great for me, and the ability to cook good food without having to grocery shop/meal plan has actually helped my mental health. (My favorite of the ones I’ve tried is called Marley Spoon, I think their recipes are more interesting.) I also get a box delivered from Misfit Market every other week, which gives me lots of veggies and helps prevent food waste. Would suggest looking into these; you will save money compared to ordering out for every meal.

            1. Eva Luna*

              We usually just bring leftover dinner for lunch. Saves a ton of money, plus then I actually know what’s in my food (most restaurant food is too salty for me anyway).

        2. Isabel Archer*

          OMG, yes to this: “I also view the reduced commute time as effectively working way less hours in a day for the same pay.” Pre-covid, I wouldn’t even consider a job with a commute of more than 30 minutes each way. Because you’re exactly right…our work commutes are unpaid work time.

          1. Not A Girl Boss*

            My mom commuted over an hour each way for 30 years. WFH in the COVID era has been literally life changing for her. That’s TEN HOURS a week she has ‘extra’ now! Plus, with that much driving on heavily salted winter roads, she used to go through a new car every 5 years or so.

      2. Nela*

        In my country (in the EU) employers are expected to reimburse the price of public transportation for all commuting employees (even if you use a car or carpool), so **they** save when people work from home.

        1. Bagpuss*

          May I ask which country that is? and is it a requirement or just something that is ‘the done thing’?

          I am in the UK and here you would normally only be reimbursed for additional travel, and that would depend on your employment contract.

          1. Nela*

            Croatia. All public institutions and most private companies do this (all the companies I’ve worked in have). It’s not mandated by law, but it’s pretty standard. Our cost of public transportation and gas is pretty high compared to the average income so perhaps that’s one reason why workers expect it, but it’s also probably a remnant from our socialist era.

      3. Annony*

        She didn’t actually say that the savings from not commuting offset the heating/electric/wifi costs. She said that she included what she would want to cover that in salary negations the same way she would have for commuting expenses. Whether the cost off set is going to be highly variable based on location, commute distance and method of commuting. At one point I walked so my commute was $0. When shutdown hit I was taking the train and it cost $200 per month. I moved since then and now my commute is $100 per month. This was all while working at the same job.

      4. ThatGirl*

        Obviously energy costs can vary; our electric bill has definitely gone up thanks to being home more/using more AC but it’s still maybe $40 more a month, which is much less than we would have spent on gas and tolls. And wear and tear – I realized yesterday I haven’t gotten an oil change since June of 2019!

      5. MelonHelen*

        Same here. I’m on budget billing where they review your usage twice a year. After May, June, and July, my bill is now $60 a month higher.

      6. Belgian*

        I’ve never had to pay for my commute. I either walked or took public transportation paid for by my employer. WFH full-time will definitely be more expensive come winter when the heating is running all day long.

    2. Smithy*

      I’m in the nonprofit world, where I’ve not seen a lot of significant coverage of remote work expenses – and I’m also not wildly surprised. But I do think the idea of presenting a ‘signing bonus/remote work stipend’ wouldn’t be wildly out of place.

      I’ve recently been interviewing and after receiving an offer it was an easy time to discuss what support and benefits they provided for remote work. First, I will note that it was not a question the HR rep seemed 100% prepared for but acknowledged it made sense to ask. I was able to negotiate cell phone reimbursement – and I do think either regular compensation or a one time payment often seems easier.

      1. CmdrShepard4ever*

        I work for a non-profit as well. We have been allowed to bring supplies home from the office (monitors/keyboards/chairs/webcams pretty much anything we are able/willing to go and pickup), but nothing extra has really been bought besides things like ink, paper for home use. Most of us are using our personal desk/laptops. I know one person who did not have a computer at home and brought an old office laptop but it broke sometime midsummer, I believe work purchased and provided them a new one. We have been lucky our organization is fiscally conservative, and not did not suffer salary cuts while still receiving our COL raise. While we are not entirely dependent on donations, it is a decent part of our budget we have not been able to hold our usual fundraising events that will hurt us in the long run.

      2. Adultiest Adult*

        Agree about nonprofits. We haven’t been reimbursed for anything related to WFH or allowed to take anything home other than the already-issued laptops, not even the headset that I had to buy so no one will hear my confidential calls/meetings. I am marveling at all of these answers from the for-profit world!

      3. Merry*

        My nonprofit gives us a $50 stipend per month for covering costs related to work from home such as internet, cell phone, etc. Anything tangible can be requested – this has included items such as desks, chairs, laptop, monitors, paper, stamps, etc. For those items, employees can pick them up at the office, or have our office manager order them via Amazon for delivery to their house, or in some cases, where an employee does not have a car or cannot drive and needs equipment delivered, we’ve paid one of our long-term volunteers to deliver it to them.

        We are in California though, where it is required that employers cover WFH costs.

    3. Diahann Carroll*

      They did not provide office supplies like pens and pencils and notebooks and ink and printer paper.

      My company provides all of this to remote employees, which was pretty much a third of their workforce pre-COVID (now, it’s most of us). Basically, their policy is that whatever in-house employees are entitled to, so are remote workers, minus payment for a desk/chair.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        I think this makes the most sense. It always seemed weird to me that they’d be ‘different’ although I do suppose the logistics of reimbursing individual orders of office supplies is more complicated than just placing a monthly order and sticking the stuff in a supply cabinet for the taking.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Yeah, I believe our IT department sends out office supplies like paper, pens, staples, etc. from a communal stash they keep. They order in bulk and just call it a day instead of doing reimbursements.

      2. hbc*

        I think whether it makes sense to ask that also depends on your level in the company and how much you go through the supplies. I’d kind of expect a $70K employee not to nickel and dime over a $2 pack of post-its, a couple of pens, and the ink needed to print out a couple of sheets of paper a week. But I also don’t monitor whether they took a 2 hour lunch or printed out flyers for their softball league.

        Someone making $35K, I want to be sure they don’t spend a penny.

  9. 12334*

    Several of us had asked our managers about expensing certain items to make work from home easier, like better office chairs and headsets. The managers got the board to approve an additional $100/month (post taxes, even!) for all employees, as a stipend, for us to use as we want. This saves them from having to make individual decisions about what is and isn’t covered, and it saves the finance department the time and effort of having to process all the individual reimbursement requests.

    I know this isn’t exactly what you asked, but I think it’s a great policy, and maybe some of you are high enough up in your workplace hierarchies to feel comfortable suggesting something like this to your employers.

  10. BeenThere*

    My company has provided a laptop computer, a mouse, a headset, an additional monitor, and $50 a month for connectivity costs. However, they plan to switch over to a more complex set of computer programs soon, and at that time, I’ll be asking for an additional monitor–don’t know if they’ll say yes, though.

  11. Nott the Brave*

    My company gave us a one-time $300 stipend for any upgrades to our home offices – no receipts necessary. They’ve also given us a monthly stipend that covers about half of my home internet costs, and were already giving us a monthly stipend for our cell phone bills since our office did not have phones. Everyone is also being fairly understanding about kids interrupting, occasional missed calls (or phone-only calls) due to internet issues, etc, especially since most people at the company have mainly internal-facing roles vs talking with clients.

  12. bennie*

    we already had company issued laptops and i took home my external monitor, keyboard, mouse and laptop stand all provided by the company at the office. we now have a $100 work from home stipend every month we can spend on home office stuff and WFH needs, plus one free mental health day a month we can take whenever we want. it’s pretty good, i have purchased some headphones and ergonomic stuff for my desk chair with the stipend, now considering using it to buy a printer. the mental health days have been a godsend. we’ve also been provided a small stipend for drinks/snacks for company “events” like our summer retreat which was moved virtual and condensed to two hours in lieu of a in person event.

      1. Oh No She Di'int*

        We actually have unlimited mental health days. They are untracked, and you can take them whenever you like.

  13. Anony3u493u9*

    You’re not serious about asking for reimbursement to pay for the “cost of heating my home all day in winter” are you? Do you expect your employer to pay for your bills now? I’d be offput if any of my employees asked for that kind of reimbursement. Do you ask for the employer to pay for your car gas to travel to work? There are some things that you will have to fork over which comes with the benefit for working remotely and not having to commute.

    1. Combinatorialist*

      I think it’s free to be a little kinder than this. The whole point in the OP writing in was to gut check their understanding with what is reasonable. And while I agree it is unlikely an employer is going to cover that specifically, it isn’t an unreasonable question. A lot of people set their thermostats to uncomfortable ranges during the work day and it is a significant cost to keep them in comfortable ranges. And if you read the comments above, a lot of people are getting monthly stipends to cover increased home bills and other expenses

      1. Kiki*

        it’s free to be a little kinder than this
        Agreed! Part of the beauty of Ask A Manager is that people have a safe place to ask questions of what is acceptable so they don’t rub their actual coworkers and bosses the wrong way. And yes, there are some expenses individuals are expected to pay themselves even though it technically supports the business, but what those things are varies from company to company. My job DID pay for my bus pass to get to work each day. Some jobs do pay for mileage or subsidize vehicle costs.

      2. Smithy*


        I will also add that for different cities, regions, etc. people have made housing decisions often based on not working from their home. When I lived in Jerusalem, I had no air conditioning or central heat in my home, while I knew greater investment in both was standard in most businesses. In NYC where window units are very common in apartments, running them only when people are home or only having one that covers a sleeping area isn’t unheard of.

        While in certain homes, covering heating/cooling has seen little to no major difference during the pandemic – it’s hardly the same across living situations and regions. If I lived in Jerusalem during lock-down a shiver goes down my spin of either needing to buy a standing a/c unit or consider moving into a place with central air and how incredibly expensive both changes would be. And also how critical to remain focused while working.

      3. Alas rainy again*

        We’ll disagree on this. My european country and place of work is known for high taxes. Think 40% and above on income, and 6% on amenities/expenses incured as part of working such as car, gas, restaurant, phone, computer, working clothes (uniforms and suits, not chinos), protection equipment etc. “Optimisation of the salary package” is part of the negociation, where the employer provides a car and gas in exchange of a smaller salary. In this case, a car is fully part of the salary package, and is considered as such by the tribunals should a dispute arise.

      1. Anon-y-mous*

        Yes, for paying YOUR bills. Not your COMPANY’S EXPENSES.
        Because you’d better believe if your company had a customer that needed WiFi (or a hard drive, monitors, or whatever), they would charge that customer for it and mark it up by 20 to 30 percent too!

      2. Cobol*

        But being home all day is going to significantly increase those costs, theoretically it’s offset by reduced commuting costs, and even not, I wouldn’t expect a business to pay, but it’s a reasonable thought.

      3. AnonforThis*

        Usually people have the opportunity to negotiate *in advance* for a salary that adequately covers the cost of their bills at home though. If you couldn’t pay your bills for the amount offered, you presumably would negotiate for more or you wouldn’t be doing the work. I see this as an unexpected shift in cost burden onto the employee that could be a legitimate hardship for some.

    2. Autumnheart*

      And also, if suddenly I was absorbing costs that would ordinarily go to the business (like, heating and electricity, since it’s not like the business’s utilities are being used when the office is closed), then yeah, why wouldn’t I ask for a comparative lift in salary? It’s not fair to expect employees to absorb business expenses out of their own pocket. Remember, the benefit to workers working remotely goes to *the business* too.

      1. WindmillArms*

        Such a good point. A couple years ago, I worked at a small company that did not allow WFH for even a day. Suddenly, they decided to close the office and have everyone WFH permanently, full time. It’s not because they had a change of heart and listened to good reason about being flexible! It was to save thousands of dollars a month on office rent.
        (The good thing is that I got to take home my monitors, a nice chair, keyboard, mouse, and laptop, and they only asked for the laptop back when the company folded months later. I call it my Severance Chair.)

      2. hbc*

        A lot of these businesses aren’t fully shuttered. But even if the building is empty in the winter, you can’t let the temperature drop to 20F–you’re still running heat.

        I do believe that if a business is doing well despite Covid (or maybe even better because of it), they should share the wealth. But a lot are not, and simply forking over money to cool or heat 50 residences where they don’t control the thermostat is not going to be practical.

    3. AnyaT*

      In Canada we can claim items like these on our income tax if working from home for 6+ months. They are considered legitimate business expenses and there is a specific federal tax form for them. I believe there are formulas involved that calculate the percentage of internet, heating, power, etc used towards work time.

      The CRA isn’t going to know what hit it next year when it gets tens of thousands more of these forms :)

      1. WindmillArms*

        Yep, I calculated and claimed a percentage of my rent, insurance and bills to include on my taxes (also Canada). They had a fillable form with formulas where you estimate the size of your office space as a percentage as your home, and calculate everything else from that.

        1. hayling*

          Caveat that I work for a well-funded high-growth tech company that was already very supportive of employees and had really great perks and benefits. When COVID lockdown started they gave us a $100 budget plus we could use our quarterly learning and development stipend ($300/qtr). They’ve allowed us to continue to use that stipend each subsequent quarter, and we have had at least one additional $100 stipend.

      2. Autistic AF*

        You ask ask your employer to complete and provide you with a T2200 to facilitate claiming this stuff too.

    4. Not A Girl Boss*

      The extra cost of heating the house to 68F 24 hours a day vs 60F during the day could easily total hundreds of dollars a month.
      Sure, its a grey zone, but its a serious added expense that is a direct consequence of having to WFH. So its a reasonable question for LW to ask Alison about..

      Also, lots and lots of people factor commuting costs into their salary negotiations. If I was LW, I wouldn’t directly ask for a stipend for heating costs, but I would make sure I factored those additional costs into the salary I asked for.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        If I was LW, I wouldn’t directly ask for a stipend for heating costs, but I would make sure I factored those additional costs into the salary I asked for.

        This. More than likely, they’re not going to come right out and pay your heating and electric costs if you’re in the US.

    5. Nela*

      “Do you ask for the employer to pay for your car gas to travel to work?”
      As outlandish as this may sound to you, in some countries in the world where worker rights are stronger, employers pay for commute costs!

      1. lemon*

        Great point.

        There are also a lot of employers (in the US) who offer pre-tax commuter benefits or reimburse for mileage if driving is a big part of your job. My company provides a free shuttle service to travel between campuses (I lived near one campus but worked at the other so it was basically free transit for me). A not insignificant number of companies offer similar shuttle services. So… it’s not like there isn’t precedent for covering things like commuting costs and utilities.

      2. Ana*

        Yup. I live in one of those countries and my employer gives everyone a public transport pass that provides free transport anywhere, at anytime, even on weekends. (This level of generosity isn’t standard but it’s not unheard of.)

      3. Double A*

        And actually… you do ask for them to pay for the gas to work. It’s called your salary, and you consider your costs of commuting when you accept a job and/or negotiate a salary.

      4. coldbrewraktajino*

        This was the first year my employer was paying for our bus passes. It’s my main (only!) regret about going to wfh.

    6. BugSwallowersAnonymous*

      I think it’s important to remember that working remotely used to be a perk. Now it’s a way of avoiding serious illness or death, in oneself and the population at large.

      1. Kiki*

        Yes, I think the rules of what is acceptable to ask for from WFH have changed since a lot of people are not WFH by their own request.

      2. BRR*

        This is what I wanted to say too. It’s not really a perk anymore where an employee weighs the costs of working in an office vs working from home. I couldn’t go work from my office if I wanted to. I’ve loosely wondered what would happen if I didn’t have internet (required for 100% of what I do). We had absolutely no work from home policy pre covid so internet was in no way a requirement for my job.

        That being said, I wouldn’t recommend utility reimbursement be the hill for anyone to die on. Maybe if there were discussions about WFH expenses and you could go for a general stipend for electricity, heat, internet etc or maybe if you didn’t have internet (or high speed internet) and getting it was very expensive.

        I’ve read a lot about New Jersey residents working for a New York company and paying New York taxes because under state law they had to file NY taxes even if working remotely 100% because it was a perk. There was talk of NJ residents pushing back because it’s no longer really a perk.

    7. Sam.*

      I mean, yes, I do expect the salary my employer provides to be enough to comfortably cover my bills. And my organization doesn’t pay for my commute, but they do offer pre-tax benefits that reduce the cost. So considering the increased costs of WFH *to the worker* isn’t unreasonable.

      Most of my friends and I live in old buildings where window a/c units are the norm, and they just aren’t as effective as central air. One of my friends has been uncomfortable all summer because she can’t get her window units to cool the apartment to her comfort level without it costing a fortune. That physical discomfort is a distraction and she’s been less productive than normal as a result. Fortunately, she’s a high achiever to begin with, but I think that impact on her work output is something her boss should care about.

    8. Jamberoo*

      I had a coworker ask if he could expense groceries now that he wasn’t getting free breakfast and lunch in the office. It took all my strength not to roll my eyes into the back of my skull.

      1. Homo neanderthalensis*

        Rolling your eyes at someone who might not be able to afford to eat three meals a day without the in office breakfast and lunch is… certainly one way to exist in this world.

        1. Jamberoo*

          Normally I would agree with you, but I can assure you I am aware of this specific person’s situation, and they are far, FAR from worry. Thank you for pointing out how narrow my comment was, though, it’s fair.

        2. Jamberoo*

          In fact, I was the person in need in the beginning. I would not have survived without what my tech office provided. I retract my condescension wholeheartedly, I apologize.

    9. coldbrewraktajino*

      Pre-pandemic, my employer was giving $100/mo for bus passes. And if we had to travel (by car) to an office that wasn’t our usual location, they’d pay for the additional gas and wear/tear. Other employers in the area give bike commuter bonuses–my roommate can pick between a free yearly bus pass or the equivalent in bike-related expenses covered.

  14. Lisa Koivu*

    You know what I would also be interested to hear from people? If you buy that stuff for yourself to do your job, is it a tax write off some how? If your company buys it for you, is it a tax write off? I’m an independent contractor, so all that stuff is a write off for me, but I wonder how the grey area of working at home, but on a salary, works.

    1. Anony3u493u9*

      The tax write-off only works if you do not use the standard deduction when filing taxes which is about $12K for single or double that for married if I recall off the top of my head.

    2. A Thought*

      I am not an accountant but I looked into this earlier this year. Home office deduction (in the US) only applies to those who are self-employed so home office supplies are not a deduction for salaries employees.

    3. Captain Kirk*

      There used to be an “unreimbursed business expenses” line on the Schedule A, for anything over 2.5% of AGI, but that’s been gone for a couple of years now. As an independent contractor, you’re most likely filing a Schedule C, which allows you to claim those expenses, but employed individuals wouldn’t be filing a Schedule C and so can’t claim them.

      Note that I’m not sure if the home office deduction still exists and applies. But if you claim that, you need to be anal about your record-keeping and keeping it deliberately separate from your living space.

      1. Frequent reader, occasional poster*

        For US workers, I looked it up a week or so ago. There’s a few articles stating that the home office tax break can no longer be used by W2 workers. The change was part of a tax reform/update by the current administration. If you’re a contractor or business owner these tax breaks are still available.

        1. nona*

          And even when home office deduction was more widely available, it was almost always an automatic audit trigger, as it was a highly abused provision.

      2. Amaranth*

        Yes, the home office deduction still exists on Schedule C, you can meticulously break down rent and all the utilities to the dollar, or take a flat deduction based on square footage of workspace. Of course, they note that the area has to be for work and ONLY work to qualify, but at this point I doubt anyone will come out and check whether you’re converting your desk back to a dinner table at night.

        I’m interested to see if they reintroduce the unreimbursed expense line or something for home offices for 2020 taxes due to all the mandatory WFH.

        1. Dream Jobbed*

          Actually, home office deductions are a big audit flag to the IRS. They probably won’t check, but there’s not much leniency if a home office space isn’t used 100% for business. If your expenses don’t make sense in comparison to other people of your profession, i.e. a huge home office that is 30% of your space, expect to have to prove it.

  15. NomadiCat*

    A previous place I worked had a great setup for our few remote staff, mostly because they had an AMAZING manager who fought tooth and nail to get them the tools they needed to do their job. The best parts included computers for home, Microsoft Surfaces or iPad Pros for the road (it was a sales role), a subsidy on home internet and cell phone plans, and a generous line item for “misc office expenses” depending on what each individual needed for their personal WFH setup. The only rule on that line item was they had to be able to ship the equipment back to our HQ upon leaving the company, so most people went with really nice headsets rather than office chairs or desks.

    But now that I’m WFH for a company that wasn’t prepared for it and bankrolling the entire experience myself, I’m definitely envious of that subsidy on home internet and cell phone plans in particular!

  16. JokeyJules*

    my company already lets you expense $30/month for your phone bill, and were told that we are allowed to bring home chairs and monitors from our office workstation. otherwise, computer issues seem to be handled a lot faster with IT. A lot of our staff works in the field, so they’ve been a LOT more lenient about expensing sanitizer, wipes, masks, etc. I would have liked it a lot if they had offered to let staff expense out the increase in utilities usage but we furloughed 20% of our staff in march/april and now in sept we still have some people on reduced salary so i understand that there isn’t a lot of wiggle room financially.

  17. Detective Amy Santiago*

    We were allowed to bring our desktop computers/monitors home which has been wonderful.

    Other than that, my company hasn’t provided anything.

    1. Sylvan*

      +1, same here. Some people requested for their internet costs to be covered, but my company isn’t covering them because the majority of us already had internet.

      1. Sam.*

        To my knowledge, my organization isn’t providing laptops or covering internet costs unless the person didn’t already have suitable equipment at home. I know at least one person who didn’t have internet at home, so they paid for that to be set up.

        Those of us who already had work laptops took them home of course, but we are the minority. I did grab my wireless mouse and keyboard, as well, but since I don’t have a car, I had to leave my monitors. I caved and bought a monitor for myself after about a month, and I didn’t even ask about getting it expensed because they’d given no guidance about what we could reasonably ask for and I know money is very tight. I did mention the monitor purchase in passing to my boss, and she insisted that I be reimbursed for it, but that’s been the only WFH-related expense that’s been covered.

    2. Cara*

      Same. We had a COVID scare at work a couple days prior to our state getting locked down, so everyone literally grabbed their essential computer items and left that day. I have an enormous CAD computer, backup battery, two monitors, keyboard, mouse, and 3D mouse, so it was quite a bit to haul! I did convince them to get me a camera since my desktop doesn’t have one, and yoga blocks that I use to hold up my monitors because I had been using my blocks for actual yoga at home, and breaking down my setup was a huge pain in the rear. I bought myself a new (preowned) desk and a fancy (preowned) desk chair. For what it’s worth, it’s easy to come by nice office furnishings right now with so many businesses closing their offices permanently.

    3. le beef*

      That’s my scenario as well. I did buy my own chair, a new desk, and a dual monitor stand, as I am in the middle of an MBA and I will use these for my own work anyway. Previously I was using an old desk with a task chair in the corner of my living room for schoolwork, but I really needed an upgrade and a dedicated study/workspace anyway. I’m also fairly certain I will be able to keep these monitors, as they are extras after some upgrades at work. I could have brought home my chair and my normal 3-monitor setup with the upgraded screens if I wanted to, but I just use my laptop as my 3rd screen and it’s fine.

    4. Baffled Teacher*

      Same with my sister! Thank god we already had an office chair and a good desktop for her. I’m a teacher so on March 13th it was like “bring home your chromebook and charger, good luck.” I really wish we had Mac laptops (the asst superintendent does, shocker).

    5. Public Sector Manager*

      Public sector lawyer here. Our agency, although it is an office job, was deemed essential, and we’re all subject to a furlough of 1 day every 2 weeks (about 9-10% of pay). We didn’t even get to bring our office equipment to our respective homes. All our equipment for our office had to stay in the office, except for personal items like pens, legal pad, pencil, stapler. Once those supplies ran out, you had to buy your own. If you didn’t have a working computer at home you had to go into the office. So about 30% of my team bought new PCs or laptops, all unreimbursed. Because some of the management forms I process need to be physically signed, I had to buy a new printer/scanner (unreimbursed). The office won’t even pay for a Zoom upgrade, so Zoom meetings for my team has to be less than 40 minutes or we have to schedule serial meetings with different hosts and different accounts. The response–“if you don’t like it, go into the office.”

      I’m happy to still have a job right now, but still, a little support from my agency would be nice.

  18. soontobephd*

    I’m a graduate student and work for my university 20-hrs a week as a TA. We weren’t provided anything for work from home and I think I’ve spent close to $500 having to upgrade my wifi, purchase a desk & chair, an extra monitor etc. I understand that we’re part time employees, but we only make about $15,000 a year so $500 is a lot.

    1. Thankfully former grad student*

      Ooof. I remember that experience. I’m sure the letters from your department chair about how we need to be flexible and caring of each other in these unprecedented times totally makes up for it, though! (/s)

      Is it possible for you to ask the building manager to bring home any office equipment you had previously? Or maybe reach out to the department rep to bring this up at the next meeting, about whether you might tap into professional development funds or something?

    2. Quill*

      Yeah, contractor here. My brother (grad student) and I spent the spring digging through my dad’s variety of old equipment to try and make a workable setup for each of us.

      I’ve pieced together an extra monitor and a full sized keyboard, thinking about finding a way to rig my desk so it is wider and I have more room to use that keyboard.

  19. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    I’m in management for a small tech company, and when we went to 100% work from home, I made sure everyone was able to take home a nice chair and an extra monitor.

  20. Anon for this*

    We were told we could take home monitors, chairs, webcams, etc. We just have to sign a form saying what we’ve removed and agreeing to return the items. For those of us who don’t have computers or who don’t care to use them, they are loaning out laptops. They will get us headsets and webcams. Same deal. You fill out a form. They’ve paid for office supplies but you have to come in to get those.

    The rest of it is all on us. I have paid out money for my own chair because there’s no way I could fit the work one in my car. I’m looking at desks because what I have is not optimal. I don’t mind paying for that as I use my home office a lot pandemic or no pandemic.

  21. Von Schmidt*

    Work provided extra monitors, keyboard, mouse, and a headset. I took home my standing desk top. I bought my own chair though and web cam, my laptop has a cam but I use a dual monitor and keep it closed so that’s on me.

  22. Happy Pineapple*

    I work for a large tech company that has tens of thousands of employees in roles ranging from call center customer support, to software engineers, to administrators. We all began working remotely in mid-March, and at that time all call center employees were given office chairs, laptops, monitors, keyboards, and headsets so that they could work from home.

    Starting in June all employees in all sectors could get an office chair, monitor, and keyboard to be shipped to them and paid for by the company (in addition to the laptop they already had from the company). Beyond those basic things, employees could request additional items (printers, second monitor, headsets, etc) and purchase them with company funds if they received manager approval.

  23. Not So Super-visor*

    My company sent employees home with computers, web accessed phones, ethernet cables, keyboards, etc, but they are not paying for internet access. They are allowing WFH on the condition that you already have steady internet access. As it’s an essential business, their belief is that you could work from the office if you do not have it.

    1. Eva Luna*

      How are they handling employees who need to WFH because they are high-risk or have household members who are?

  24. Variant Curator*

    I got access to the company’s spotty VPN. That’s it. One of the reasons I am now back in the office and lab wearing a KN95 9 hours a day.

  25. Andy*

    My company didn’t provide anything for the first ~5 months of WFH, but in August announced that employees could expense up to $200 in tech equipment that would benefit their home office setup. This notably did not include standing desks (or converters), office chairs, or anything else that could be considered furniture. Just technical equipment like headsets, monitors, USB hubs or converters, etc.

    1. Queenie*

      The company my friend works for did that, expense up to $300 pre tax but only for technical stuff, and had to provide receipts. She purchased $300 worth of random technical stuff from Staples, provided receipts, then exchanged it the next day for a nicer office chair. Super cheeky but they weren’t allowed to bring anything other than their work computers home with them and she didn’t have a home office!

  26. lucky in email security*

    I’m at a tech company where 1-2 days a week remote was the norm pre-pandemic, so we all had laptops and a 90 USD / month stipend for phones. On top of that, they gave us a 300 USD stipend to purchase additional office equipment we might need for WFH – I got airpods to take calls from my phone, but others got headsets, blue light glasses, new chairs, printers, etc. They’ve also sent / are sending extra supplies from your desk to you, like extra charging cords, our (very nice!) in office headsets, and docking stations. And there’s a rumor we’re getting another stipend soon, but they’ve been stable throughout the pandemic, if not growing, and are very generous!

  27. Homeshore friend*

    I have been working at home for years. My organization provides all computer equipment including monitor, phone, keyboard. A printer was provided because of my role not everyone is approved to have one (confidential information) and a shredder was provided if we have a printer. They also require a chair they provide that meets worker’s compensation standards. For office supplies we have access through a purchasing program to order either from the company or staples depending on the item. They do allow a small stipend for internet and our phones are VOIP. They do no reimburse for utilities otherwise. I will say I’m not sure what I would have asked for but my company has a long standing work from home policy and much of this is standard and documented. The one thing I fought for was a wireless headset vs wired for my phone and it’s a lifesaver! Hope this helps

  28. Willow*

    My company provides a laptop, and you can ask for an external monitor, external keyboard or mouse (and a docking station if you need that, as well). If you want a chair, there’s one approved model they’ll send you, or they’ll reimburse you up to $150 if you purchase your own. And they’ll provide any office supplies you request. If someone really needed a printer, I think that would be provided, as well. (And if there’s something back in your office that would be good for your home office, no one will object if you ask to take that home. You just have to arrange to go into the office, which requires notice and approvals beforehand.)

  29. Hey Nonnie*

    Especially right now with the pandemic, I think it’s fair game to just ask what their equipment policy is. Ours was basically “keep it under $200 or you’ll need VP approval.” I know several co-workers who got new monitors and chairs paid for.

    I opted for other equipment, because the other thing you have to keep in mind is that any equipment a company buys for you belongs to the company…. you can’t keep it. I already had a chair and monitor at home, so I didn’t bother getting those things because transporting them to the office at some point in the future would be a giant pain (I don’t have a car).

  30. Ali G*

    It varies for us. If you work out of our HQ or satellite office, and you choose to work from home, you don’t get anything, as you have everything available to you but you choose to work from home a few days a week.
    When COVID hit, we were permitted to go to the office and take whatever we wanted home for as long as we wanted. Also when HQ moved last year, we had a lot of equipment staff was allowed to take home.
    We have a handful of staff that do not have a physical office near them and we pay for internet, and basic office supplies. I am not sure of heating/cooling, but if we did it would only be for that % of square footage of the entire house because that’s what I think the IRS mandates.

  31. Nonprofit/museum worker*

    We received nothing – expected to use our own home computers, no wifi or equipment reimbursement.

    1. cubone*

      Basically same (NFP). what’s weird though is they WILL give you headsets, monitors, laptops etc. if you make the request … but it’s just that a) it’s not democratized at all (eg it’s purely who asks not like a standard policy or transparent communication about it), and b) the pandemic seems to have left our IT team in absolute shambles and it’s a 50-50 if they answer your email the same day or never. It’s very, very weird.

      1. Reba*

        Ours is the same (although thankfully IT not as bad). It’s on every manager and unit to deal with requests, no overarching policy. And even if your manager is on board, if you want the equipment sometime this century… I’m sort of happier just using my own.

        1. Reba*

          To add, there is a procedure for buying electronic equipment, but no provision for other stuff like desk or chair.

      1. A*

        Agreed, although not all employers were equipped for an expected pandemic. For a company that doesn’t typically give employees work laptops, it’s unreasonable to expect them to procure and disperse them in a timely manner. Not only because it might not be financially feasible, but supply was (maybe still is) extremely limited as everyone was rushing out to buy the same kind of equipment.

    2. Ms Frizzle*

      Public school teacher—same for us! We were allowed to bring school laptops and curriculum home, and I got special permission to bring my doc camera. Everything else has been out of pocket (but that’s hardly new).

    3. The Rural Juror*

      Ugh, that’s not fair. It’s wear and tear on your own personal equipment, so a cost to you at some point or another. I’m sorry your company isn’t very helpful.

    4. CheeryO*

      Same here, in state government. The state is in an unprecedented fiscal crisis, and literally no purchase orders are being approved. I’ll take it over layoffs (although I’m sure those are coming once the next budget needs to be passed).

      1. Watry*

        Same here, just county government. The only reason I’m not afraid of layoffs is that legally, someone has to be doing my team’s job, and we’re already skeleton staffed as it is. Furlough days, maybe, but not layoffs.

        We had to struggle to get WFH permissions at all, and only two of us are still WFH as medical accommodation and feel lucky to have that. Freaking politics.

    5. Banana Pancakes*

      Same for my last two remote jobs, though in fairness I mostly do contract work. Still, considering no one pays me enough to have health insurance, I would have loved even a small stipend for a better desk chair.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      This is terrible both from an employee standpoint and from an information security perspective. I think our info sec guy would lose his mind if we had people working on personal computers with company materials. Everyone is issued a company computer.

    7. Mynona*

      Also museum worker (200+ employees), same here. And our museum is so committed to butts in seats that we still have desktop computers and no option to take them home. I had already bought a small lightweight laptop out of pocket for work travel, and that is now my main computer. For the shut-down, I had to buy a monitor, keyboard, mouse, noise-cancelling headphones, and all-in-one printer.

      The kicker is that, when I am in the office, I have to use my cell phone to join the endless video meetings because my work desktop doesn’t have a camera or microphone. So I can’t see presentations and other documents because I’m on a tiny screen. And, no, the museum won’t buy a peripheral camera and microphone. I would have to pay out of pocket or use my cell phone. I literally can work more efficiently at home than at the office.

      1. cubone*

        I have this issue but at home — my laptop is old and the audio is horrible and the camera is busted. So I just call in. One of our directors is a horridly mean person and always asks if I’m “not feeling comfortable enough to use video today?” And every single time I say nope, i don’t have a laptop with a working camera. If you want me on screen, get me a friggen camera!

    8. Gentle Tree*

      Yep. I work for a large worldwide hospitality company, in a support department for the call center. We were allowed to take mouse, keyboard, and monitor if needed. I don’t believe the option of a monitor was extended to agents, but my department works with a lot of data and we are accustomed to using two monitors. The physical call center was shuttered for a couple months, so working in the office wasn’t an option. It’s open now, but most WFH. We don’t have enough space to accommodate mandated social distancing. We all pay for our own computer, desk, internet, and phone. Internet must meet a minimum speed, and being a call center, phones are used extensively. No one with a brain will challenge management on this, because the solution would be for the complainer to return to the office. If an agent is having personal equipment problems, they need to come in or not work until it’s fixed.

  32. Green great dragon*

    Mine officially gives up to £250 (total) for pretty much anything relevant, but you can sometimes get more. Some people in shared accomodation have got chairs or little desk things that go over a sofa, people who have more space have got extra monitors or external keyboards. If has to be something you can show you need, like extra monitors because you work on multiple docs, keyboards if you type a lot, headsets if you talk a lot and don’t have quiet space, not just ‘I want one because they have one’.

  33. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    State employee here, and a ponderous system it is, indeed.

    As soon as I figured out we’d be at this awhile (although, WOW! has awhile been …. awhile…), I purchased a new laptop, headset, office chair (then another office chair, because that first one wasn’t great), my own paper and toner, and bought my kid a new monitor so I could steal his old one to expand my set up (OMG, so crucial!).

    The union might be working on something to get some compensation for those of us, but I’m not holding my breath.

    I have, however, been able to work nearly all the overtime I can stand (and some that I couldn’t) because I’m fully equipped, so I considered my pandemic check from the Feds my setup costs to keep on working, and just keep going. Other of my colleagues are not eligible for OT b/c they chose not to scale up their WFH ability and therefore can’t do certain tasks. (And eventually they did get some technology from the state, to do some additional work.)

  34. Jennifer*

    I’ve WFH for several years so this isn’t new for me due to Covid. My employer provides all IT related items (computer, docking station, monitor, headset). We don’t need a phone as all calls are made via our computer. They pay for a private hard wired internet connection – I don’t see the bill (I still have my own separate personal one). They don’t not pay for any furniture needed or any other utilities. I can order office supplies that I need such as paper though that is truly minimal.

  35. Where is my remote job?*

    When I worked from home (admittedly several years ago) the company provided the computer equipment, installed the necessary internet connections at their cost, paid for the hardwired phone & phone line, headset and provided a stipend toward the cable/internet bill each month. I provided my own desk and chair. Supervisors would sometimes send care packages of pens/sticky notes, etc. The company was considered “paperless” so any paper I had was really at my expense because we didn’t really “need” it.
    There was nothing for increased electric or heating, since my home would be heated either way and the impact to my electric bill was negligible.

  36. lemon*

    Our company just sent out a policy on this. They’re providing laptops for people who only previously had desktops, a second monitor, headphones, webcams, office supplies, and are considering other items on a case-by-case basis. They’re not covering furniture (desks, chairs), printers, or home wifi, unfortunately. But they are letting people borrow company-owned furniture and printers if needed.

  37. Bennett*

    Our CEO pulled everyone out of our offices a couple of weeks before it became mandatory in our various locations, so we had time to set up before everyone and their uncle was buying office stuff.

    There wasn’t a standard ‘we will buy XYZ’ but everyone was asked to assess the workspace available to them at home and let their managers know if anything was lacking. Most of us already had good desks and chairs, but the company covered new chairs for those who needed them, and for others common requests were for things like monitor stands or footrests for situations where a desk used for PC gaming had become a workspace.

    In theory we can claim a portion of our electricity bills, and any additional phone costs or internet charges, but it would be such a small amount that we mainly see it as more than offset by the saving in travel and lunch costs so the vast majority of people don’t bother. I’m saving over £200 a month on travel and lunch, I don’t mind that work is using a portion of the internet I was paying for anyway and a few quid in electric. :)

  38. starsaphire*

    My company just recently pivoted on the issue of chairs, and now they will allow us to come in (strictly limited access with prior approval) to pick up our office chairs if we need them. I already owned a good one, so I didn’t.

    I bought a new docking station and monitors because I wanted a real home office (and eventually a killer gaming setup) but I would have been allowed to go in and pick up the ones on my desk if I hadn’t wanted to spend the money.

    I’m using my work-provided laptop, work-provided peripherals (headphone, mouse, etc.) and if I needed to replace something along those lines, I could theoretically ask for it (although I would probably just buy it on Amazon because faster).

    We’re expected to already have Internet and some sort of home office setup, because pre-Covid, we were all allowed to work remotely one day a week if we preferred.

    Tech industry, Silicon Valley area, big company. YMMV. :)

  39. Looking to Jump*

    Nothing provided by the company. Not one darn thing. We were forced to wfh. Had to use our personal phones, computers, printers, etc. No reimbursement whatsoever. I did take some paper and sticky notes with me but that’s it. I had to purchase a decent desk chair.
    I felt the company’s attitude was that wfh, that was previously forbidden, was such a perk that we should be oh, so grateful, to be allowed it.
    Bitter? You bet!

  40. WantonSeedStitch*

    Our office provides us with laptops as our usual office computer, so we all were able to bring those home, as well as our smaller peripherals (keyboard, mouse) if we chose. We were able to request full-size monitors and pick them up at the office (brought to our cars safely boxed up). Some people are requesting webcams if they have a LOT of Zoom meetings (laptops have webcams, monitors do not, it can be a pain). One coworker having medical issues requested and was able to get a chair to help with that. I have bought myself an inexpensive support cushion because I’m sitting in a hard wood chair at my dining room table, rather than at my desk in the office (my home computer there is incompatible with my work setup). A couple coworkers have followed my lead on that.

  41. Alex*

    We were all already transitioning to using only laptops, so that was more or less easy. Otherwise, nothing.

    Theoretically we can ask for reimbursement for office supplies like pens or whatever. I don’t think anyone bothers.

    No chairs, no monitors, no printers, no internet reimbursement. We are all also required to have smart phones but they don’t buy them for us. That was the same pre-COVID though.

    I pretty much bought all my own stuff before COVID–I bought my own mouse, chair, pens, etc. because I didn’t like the cheap stuff that was provided.

    1. Mama Bear*

      Same. I was not issued a laptop at this particular company. In the past I had a work laptop and peripherals to use instead of my own. Some people at my current company do have laptops and they brought them (and docking stations) home. I can use software from work, but I have my own computer at home that I bought.

      I am not required to have a smartphone or distribute my cell # but I do because it’s easier sometimes. I do very little work-work via personal cell so I don’t need the company to pay for it.

      1. Alex*

        For us the smartphone isn’t for calls, it is for apps that we have to use. Although now it is our only work phone as well, but I don’t make too many calls.

        I’m still a little miffed because I didn’t have a smartphone until I had to buy one when the app usage became mandatory for everyone. By then I was the only one without a smartphone so people just balked at the idea that I didn’t have one. I had to go out and upgrade.

  42. Moggie*

    Nothing. It is embarrassing. I work for a well known firm in the UK, and they wouldn’t even let my colleague expense a £10 headset when her’s broke. No money for printers, office chairs, faster broadband etc.

    We got our wfh orders in mid March, and as I was in the office that day, I grabbed a mouse, spare headset and mouse wrist pad. I work with large datasets and use two screens at work (known for using three), and our laptops have a piddly 12inch monitor.

    I live in a shared house with two others – one is working from home. Our dining table chairs are giving me regular back pain, and I have to take calls (no video) on my bed to manage it. I have to budget extremely carefully- London is expensive and my pay is low for the UK. Our electricity use has gone up a lot, and we are incredibly grateful that its not winter – we are on top up gas and house is very heat inefficient (not sure if people will know what top up is – we go to the shop and put £20 on the card and plug into meter in home). I’ve not made any savings on the commute as I walked. I am very very thankful we have full fibre broadband in my area.

    All in all I’m pretty hurt/angered by the way my company’s treated me. I don’t have a spare room that I’ve converted to a home office. I didn’t choose to work from home ever. However I do have a job, and for that I am grateful.

  43. Angry Professor*

    We’re provided an okay-ish laptop….and that’s kind of it? I’ve bought my own headset, microphone, writing tablet (for virtual teaching), and external keyboard and mouse. I already had an extra monitor lying around at home. I need a new desk chair, but that’ll be on me as well.

    Context: I teach at a small, constantly budget-strapped public university. More equipment support would be nice, but is not forthcoming…

    Other annoying detail: our IT support honestly stinks. We’re not given admin access to our laptops, and our IT doesn’t have any way of providing remote assistance. I needed someone to enter an admin password so that I could install two tiny pieces of freeware and update Java….so I drove an hour each direction, walked a further 15 minutes each way across campus, and spent a whopping 5 minutes in the IT office so that they could enter a password for me. Sigh. Our campus’s IT infrastructure was lacking before the pandemic, and it’s been one of the more frustrating aspects of this experience. We just don’t have the software/support capabilities/etc. that we should. We can’t access our department or college shared drives from home, because we *do not have a campus VPN at all*. Oh, and they decided to change our cloud storage solution (from Dropbox to OneDrive) with zero notice, two weeks before classes started. Their file migration didn’t work properly, so I spent 2 hours the following day manually moving all my files over again. Flames…flames on the sides of my face.

  44. Another name*

    They let us take any equipment issued to us home (no printers those are shared). Monitors, computer/docking station/laptop, headset, keyboard/mouse. Some people brought their chair home but I bought myself a nicer one. No reimbursements for anything we purchased and no new orders due to budget restrictions. We were expected to provide our own internet if we could but people who could not or had bad service were provided wifi hotspots.

  45. A lawyer*

    We were instructed to bring our printers home, which turned out to be a great idea. I have been offered multiple times by my bosses that they will pay for me to upgrade to better internet service (which I have turned down because, as I explained to them, no amount of money thrown at the problem is going to get me a better connection, I am just in a bad spot). They also offered to buy me an upgraded laptop when I made a comment about mine being slow, but then I was given a new one as a gift by my SO. I probably could have and should have asked for reimbursement for the headset I bought for phone calls, but it didn’t really occur to me to do that until I was writing this, I guess I should ask about that now. I guess I feel weird asking for reimbursement for items that I could use and keep as personal items in the future.

  46. AW*

    My company is providing headsets, desks, chairs and external monitors (I managed to get two large monitors) to those that want them. We all use laptops as standard so that’s no problem.

    Heating, Lighting and WiFi are being paid for by the employee.

    I ordered a cheap web cam from amazon as the set up I’ve got at home makes it inconvenient to use the one built into my laptop and I didn’t feel I could as to be reimbursed for something that comes down to my personal preference. (I did factor in my directors tendency to short arms and deep pockets when deciding not to ask)

  47. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I worked from home full-time pre-pandemic, and our policies have remained the same since, as far as what’s covered for remote work. My employer provides a computer (either a thin client, or a laptop with docking station, depending on role) and either one large or two small monitors, a keyboard and mouse, and a USB headset for people with a VOIP phone (which runs through the computer). Printing is not permitted outside of an onsite office (we work with medical records and all our references are online anyway), so no printers are provided, plus we can’t hook them up without IT authorization anyway. They don’t provide any office supplies, including desk/chair setups, or internet/phone stipends, though managers and above are issued work cell phones. (Everyone else has the option to use their personal cell phones or their VOIP phone, and none of us on my team below the manager have any reason to be getting or receiving phone calls for work reasons anyway, outside of calling into monthly team webex meetings.)

    Personally, I took the one large (27″) monitor from IT, and supplemented it with my own second 27″ monitor, as well as providing my own keyboard, mouse and headset because I’m picky. As far as office supplies go, in six years, I’ve gone through almost two whole pads of post-it notes, because I’m not generally one for hard copy anyway. And we had oomphy internet even before two of the three of us worked from home, because all three of us are online gamers and stream video and/or music as background noise pretty much all day from 7am to midnight.

    1. Jackalope*

      I’m so thankful for my gamer husband! Before we met I had a modest internet plan that was cheap and met all of my needs for email and Facebook and that’s about it. When we were combining lives, he took one look at my internet plan, said no way, and made sure we stuck with his instead. Which is a REALLY good thing now since there’s no way my old plan would have been sufficient for what I’m needing for WFH.

  48. Keyboard Cowboy*

    My company has a handful of useful things – keyboard, mouse, couple of different monitors – that it can drop ship you from its usual supplier from the before times. Beyond that we get a fixed budget for anything we deem appropriate for home office. So I expensed materials for a DIY desk, and I expensed a second wifi router so the signal could reach my desk upstairs. I like that since it’s a fixed number, not manager approval, I don’t have to scrimp and buy the cheapest possible supplies I can find – I can just do my own budgeting and trade off between looks and having leftover budget for something else later.

  49. HappyCamper*

    My company provided a reimbursement of $200 at the beginning of the shift to WFH for IT equipment (monitors, peripherals, etc). Around July they increased the amount to $500 after receiving feedback from people that they needed more. We also have a well-being program that reimburses up to $500 for a variety of things, including ergonomic office equipment like chairs and standing desks. In some locations, they also offered an allowance to offset the costs of electricity/utilities now people are home and using more of their own power and A/C. I’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received.

  50. Cheese Please*

    Not myself, but a friend’s company allowed then to take their health and wellness benefit (typically used for gym memberships etc) and apply it towards home office items (she purchased a desk for herself as they had ver working surfaces at home before). I would see if you have any benefits the company offers (even like ergonomic benefits where they pay for a standing desk or new desk chair at the office) and see if those apply to a WFH situation. Depending on the company, they may consider these company property and ask that you return the item to them if you leave.

  51. NYCProducer*

    I work for a large company. On March 13th, I brought home my laptop and charger, expecting to be out a few weeks (our small group of producers went to THEM saying we no longer felt comfortable working in/traveling to Manhattan). That Saturday, 3/14, the company sent out an email at 9pm saying the whole company was shut down and no one could come to HQ. I’m lucky I at least had my work computer- lots of people went home like it was any regular Friday! I had to get a headset sent to me (took a few months), but I’m still without my keyboard, laptop shelf, mouse, etc. They will not allow us to enter the building to get anything, they won’t allow the few essential personnel there to retrieve those items for us, and they won’t reimburse us for any work-related purchases. I find this baffling. We’re told to request new (?) items from IT, which I’ll do this week, but I’m not sure what will actually come through. Also, they told us in June or July we’ll be WFH for the rest of 2020. (I bought a 30 dollar seat cushion on my own and it’s been the best pandemic purchase yet)

  52. Zsazsa*

    I was able to bring my chair and computer home. For others, who don’t need specialized software, my employer purchased laptops for everyone. They also pay for internet and cell phone since we no longer have an office line to use but were asked if we could use our person cell phones if they paid the bill for us.

    One thing I really like about how my employer approached was to ask us what we needed to work from home and then figure out a way to make it as even as possible (such as paying for cell phone service).

  53. YouGottaThrowTheWholeJobAway*

    Laptop, monitor, headset, keyboard, mouse, webcam (if not built-in) and a way to either connect them or dock them if needed. Decent VC, chat and phone software (so you don’t have to use your own phone for anything). Upgraded internet if you need a higher quality of service than you would have in the office. If it’s sold as a fully remote role, a chair should also be in the mix. Beyond that, things like a desk surface, electricity and gas are probably a reach, though asking after a stipend for home office maintenance might work? Some places seem to do an initial set up budget for home offices.

    My work has provided everything except the chair, desk and utility support in the pandemic, though they have decided to do a bulk buys for certain models of chairs so we can order them and be reimbursed, so long as we return them upon leaving the company along with the electronics. My laptop reached its mandatory retirement age during remote work and my company did a pretty seamless swap out. IT sent me a new laptop, I just had to make sure my old files were backed up, send it back on their dime, and then follow instructions to get everything running on my new machine with my profile.

  54. Dilly*

    A year or so ago my company took away our office desk phones (lease ran out and they didn’t renew). In lieu, they started giving us a $90/month stipend (taxed as income, also included in base of calculation for 401(k) deductions) for communications costs. I just set up a free Google Voice number that rings to my personal cell but that way I don’t have to give clients my personal contact info (my personal cell was already on the internal emergency phone tree list). To date they haven’t offered anything else other than us taking our laptops and monitors home back in March when work from home started.

  55. Mayor of Llamatown*

    I have telecommuted 100% for the last six years. My company provides laptop and laptop doc, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and headset for the soft phone. They also provided all the necessary cables, and a cool laptop bag for travel.

    My contract for telecommuting stipulates that I have to provide my own desk, chair, and anything else related to working that isn’t provided by the company.

    When I have issues with the equipment I’m issued, our team’s admin assistant orders new equipment and ships it to me.

    I should note that I’m an individual contributor, not a manager or leadership position. This is pretty much what everyone gets/how everything is handled.

    1. Mayor of Llamatown*

      Also – my company pays for my internet. They have their own line and modem in my house. If it goes down, our IT people coordinate the repairs/troubleshooting with the tech from the internet provider. I think this should be standard for all telecommuters, or they should pay for part or all of your internet service. Definitely bring this up.

  56. Captain Raymond Holt*

    My employer provides a laptop. In addition, we get:

    $1000 for our entire employment that can be used for any office supplies that make you happy (desk, keyboard, second monitor, etc)
    Reimbursement for our home internet each month
    Reimbursement for our cell phones each month, including a $300 device stipend
    A stipend for a gym membership or other wellness activities

    My company is ~40% remote (but all remote now)

  57. LabRat*

    I just started a new job a few weeks ago that is 100% remote, at least for the duration of COVID.

    I was initially sent only a laptop (though a nice one). I requested a monitor, keyboard, and docking station, and was able to get all but the docking station. I had to go to the office location to pick up “my” chair, but my butt thinks it was very worth the trip. I’m also being issued a work phone, so that I don’t have to use my phone or a Google Voice #. I was also offered a sit/stand adapter for my desk, which I thought was impressive, as my understanding is that those things can be pricey!

    I do have to provide my own desk/work surface, and as a contingent employee am not eligible for the stipend they’re doing to offset electricity/internet/basic supplies. However, since my husband already WFH for several years, that’s not a huge change for us.

  58. A Poster Has No Name*

    We can bring equipment home from the office, but that’s it. My company has pretty much said they’re not paying for anything for your home office, so just deal.

    As this drags on, though, I think that may change. When it was originally “we’re working from home for a bit because of a pandemic” I can understand the company not being able to invest in home offices for everyone but as this drags on and it’s looking like it’ll be many more months before everyone is back in the office they might start loosening that, and I’m sure my boss would approve anything I said I really needed or if my headset dies or something like that.

    The one thing I would like to ask about but am a little scared to ask about it is a sit/stand desk. I didn’t have one in the office but our office desks are more ergonomic than my home setup, so it would be nice to be able to stand up from time to time (as I sit on a heating pad because I’ve got a pinched nerve or something in my sacrum that’s ouchy and sitting doesn’t help).

    1. ThatGirl*

      I’m in roughly the same boat – we all worked from laptops already, so were able to bring that home plus any pads/pens/etc. Our work phones are VOIP so I have a headset I can use, although I rarely talk on the phone (that’s more helpful for customer service folks). I *could* have lugged home a dock, monitor, and other peripherals – but I honestly don’t really have a good place to put that stuff, I mostly work on the couch or at the kitchen table.

  59. Van Wilder*

    After almost 6 months of the entire company working remotely, my employer has just now rolled out a $25/month reimbursement for internet. It’s not everything, but I’ll take it. We also had a $60/month cell phone stipend before all this started, which we continue to have.

  60. Jimming*

    I was WFH prior to Covid and ended up buying my own headset for about $100. I hated the cheap one they sent me. If I could do it again, I’d say “this is the headset I want, can the company provide it?” They provide a laptop and cell stipend. It was expected you had the capability to work remotely and the internet requirements were listed in the job advertisement.

  61. BugSwallowersAnonymous*

    I work at a small nonprofit where we had to provide everything ourselves. I bought my own desk and chair to set up a workspace in my house last month, when it became clear that we would be WFH until at least the end of the calendar year. A work computer is definitely out of the question. They have offered to reimburse us for any software subscriptions on our personal computers, like getting Microsoft Word on a Mac, that kind of thing.

  62. MissGirl*

    We get a laptop and two screens. Then we’re given an additional thousand dollars for whatever else we want. This has to last for several years as only our electronics will be refreshed. We also get our internet and cell phone paid for.

  63. Krabby*

    We gave everyone in the office taxi chits to get their stuff home when we originally switched to wfh (including chairs, computer towers, monitors, keyboards, headsets, etc.). Employees hired after the switch are less lucky. They get a laptop shipped to their homes, a mouse, and a headset if they are client facing or help with recruitment. For our new execs, they get a monitor as well. That’s it.

    I think my management team is in denial about how long this is going to last.

  64. KHB*

    My employer gave us each a flat $200 at the beginning of the pandemic to offset work-from-home expenses…and that’s it. We all have laptops issued to us already, but we weren’t allowed to take any other equipment (monitors, docks, chairs, etc.) home with us from the office. Not only are they not paying for our internet, they’ve stopped reimbursing internet expenses for those employees who had work-from-home arrangements already.

    I’m not sure how well it would work to “negotiate” for reimbursement for work-from-home expenses. Everybody’s dealing with these expenses, and the employer presumably has already figured out what they’re willing to cover and what they’re not. For them to make exceptions to that policy for one person who “negotiates” for them, I don’t think is right.

    (And the “but you’re saving money on transportation!” argument doesn’t work for everyone. My commute in the “before times” was free – I walked to work – because when I chose where to live, I prioritized having a quick and easy commute over having a large and comfortable home. Now, I’m stuck in a suboptimal home office, my utilities have gone through the roof, and those expenses aren’t offset by savings anywhere. I can afford it, and I’ll deal with it, but it annoys me to see work-from-home treated universally as a perk, when for me, it’s really, really not.)

  65. Loving Remote Work Life*

    When we determined that we’d be working from home longer than a month or so, we were told to come back and get anything from the office that we might need. That included extra monitors, desk chairs, filing cabinets (I took my trash can), etc. Headsets, keyboards, laptops, monitors, etc were all provided. We do not provide printers, as our job doesn’t technically require them, but they did agree to supply ink and paper for anyone that had their own printer in the last month. We order supplies as people need them and replace broken/faulty equipment, when required. Overall, it’s been a pretty good deal for us but our management team was ready and they did everything they could to make sure we had the tools to work from home successfully.

    They don’t reimburse for internet but all but one person on the team already had home internet and, I agree, the cost saved on gas driving back and forth to work covers most of that. I know a few folks decided to upgrade when we started working from home but they also had kids at home learning remotely so, there was more to it than just them being online during the day.

    On the flip side, my mom’s company didn’t provide anything. She has a super old laptop that they gave her a few years ago to work from home, when needed, but nothing else. She had to provide everything else. I actually gave her a monitor as they didn’t even provide that. Most of the folks in her office are using their own computers to access the company network.

    1. Lizy*

      omg the trash can HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA

      I feel ya. I got a trash can a while back for my “home office” (I don’t work from home – just where I do bills and crap). My husband was like “why are we buying another trash can?” For the office. Duh.

  66. Rebecca*

    I was permitted to bring my computer equipment and chair home with me, and 1/2 ream of 8 1/2 x 11″ paper. The rule is if you work from home, you have to have a printer and internet access. I provide the toner and now paper for my printer. That’s it. We’re told working from home is a privilege, and we are not to submit any expense reports for supplies.

  67. Anonymous Hippo*

    So, before COVID, the company provided me with dual monitors, keyboard/mouse for at the house because I had to do a lot of work after hours and weekends, so they provided it so it was easier. I’m picky though, so I ended up upgrading my keyboard/mouse to a gaming setup (i did the same in the office too). I honestly think if I had asked the company would have paid for it, but honestly, I hate to ask for stuff like that. We also get a subsidy for our cellphone usage, $50/month paid twice a year.

    Post COVID, they sent everyone home, and said they didn’t want to supply any more equipment. So everyone just took their office stuff home (if they weren’t set up already). Which was fine. But then we moved to a every other week situation, and they still didn’t want to provide equipment, and instead wanted people to haul their monitors and everything back and forth each week. That was just ludicrous to me, so I ended up passing my work monitors off to other people in the department so we’d have enough not to have to drag them back and forth, and I just bought myself monitors for my house. It was one of those situations that I just found so unfair that the least compensated among us was being hit the hardest (because they weren’t already set up at the house) so I stepped in.

  68. Akcipitrokulo*

    Obviously laptop from company… in addition, ours has said if you need up to about £150 worth, (headphones, screen, chair, etc) then it will probably be approved – just ask.

  69. QED*

    I work in the public sector, so it’s a completely different set of norms than the private sector, I think. Also, we are very cognizant that WFH is a temporary pandemic thing, and that eventually most, if not all of us will be expected to come back into the office full-time. Almost all of us were given laptops when WFH started if we didn’t already have one, but that’s pretty much it. I was told that if I didn’t have wifi at home, I could probably get reimbursed for adding it, but not for increasing the bandwidth on wifi I already had. Likewise with my phone; if I din’t have a cell phone or home phone, they’d probably have paid for one, or if I had some kind of plan that limited the number of phone calls I could make, they’d pay for the upgrade, but since I already own a cell phone with unlimited talk and text, they won’t pay for any of it. I also assume that if I needed certain accommodations under the ADA (like a larger screen, certain kind of chair, etc), my office would consider paying for that as well. But essentially, we got a laptop and charger and told that was it. One of my co-workers spent months working sitting on her floor with her laptop on her coffee table!

    My dad is a professor at a public college that is all virtual, but his college is reimbursing him for a giant whiteboard and markers and let him take home one of the college’s webcams (and they gave him a laptop), so that’s really helping him teach remotely, but that’s a really different situation than my public sector job, which is more traditional office setting.

  70. Schuyler Seestra*

    My company already provided a laptop and phone. We were allowed to take our monitors, laptop stands and office chairs home with us. When I was laid off in June I was allowed to keep my equipment, and bought the laptop off of them.

    I actually need to dig into this more in my interviews. One company I’m in final rounds with offers a laptop, monitor and cell phone stipend. I’m not sure with the others.

  71. Kat*

    Our WFH is still considered a temporary emergency measure so I was able to borrow a company laptop but nothing else was offered. I’m sure I could have gotten a headset too, I know other people did but they were just allowed to take one that the company already owned, it wasn’t purchased for them. We were also eventually allowed to take our desk chairs home if we wanted, but I have some essential functions that required me to be in the office once or twice a week throughout this whole thing so that wouldn’t have been practical. My chair was maybe the only thing I missed from the office – the chairs at my kitchen table are just not made for sitting in this long!

    1. Christine*

      This was pretty much my experience. My department already had shared laptops, and when we went remote, we all grabbed one and took it home. A few of my coworkers have gone back to the office to collect monitors, but they had to do it on the sly a little bit, and now no one is allowed to go back to the office for any reason. I’m using my own spare monitor and was able to get in one of the last reimbursements for a keyboard and mouse before the university declared they weren’t reimbursing for any more WFH equipment. We’re not allowed to take furniture, and the suggestion that we be allowed to buy our own chairs through the university’s vendor discount was met with appalled shock.

      So, yeah. Very little financial support. I’m working at my dining room table and will be for the foreseeable future, I suppose.

  72. Nuke*

    My company gave us really cheap, uncomfortable headsets, or a list of expensive ones we can buy ourselves. I asked my supervisor if I could just use my regular headphones and a nice mic I have, and she basically said “sure, whatever”.

    They also gave me an old, hot garbage computer that barely ran and froze multiple times a day from opening more than one image. It took months of daily emails to management and IT to actually get a replacement. They made me send them reports of my internet connection speed for weeks before actually listening to me.

    But at least they gave me 2 monitors. My sister in law was given NO monitors and told to work it out herself so just, LOL.

  73. Jack*

    For us, laptops are provided. If you need anything else, my company has been fulfilling requests as they come in, so there isn’t really a standard.

    We’ve fulfilled requests mostly for external monitors and the occasional wireless mouse. People are not asking for furniture; if they did, I don’t know what we would do. Also the timing of the first Covid payment was such that many of us used that money to set up for a long-ish remote haul.

    Personally, being in IT: I had just finished building out a home office before all this happened, with a desk and monitors and a dock for occasional wfh days, and now I live in it. Heh.

    My suggestion: A reasonable home office to me is a desk and chair, external monitor (or monitor(s) and USB-C dock) and external keyboard and mouse for a company laptop, at minimum. Furniture prices are highly variable but but that gear by itself can be got for sub-500 bucks total. Throw in another 150 if you want monitor mounts.

    Also, you may be underestimating the value of a good desktop speaker system.

    You should ask for as much of that as you can get. To me, reasonable is the kind of gear IT has on a purchase list and can dropship easily and not worry about past paying for it, so an easy expense to say yes to is the monitor(s), a dock, and an external keyboard/mouse. Anything else would require my arm to be twisted (not that I wouldn’t want to say yes.)

    I would also suggest clarifying if the purchases are the company’s, or yours. Looking ahead, the last thing you’ll want to have to deal with if you change jobs is returning all this stuff to the company and rebuilding a workspace you’re comfortable with from scratch with your own money. Monitors in particular are stressful to ship.

    If you have the resources, I suggest setting this up on your own so you don’t have to worry about it, and so you get the gear you want instead of the gear the company thinks you need.

    Remote work is not going away; we need to be comfortable with it.

  74. Kat*

    At my workplace we have laptops (with built-in webcams) and headsets (as we no longer have desk phones) to take between the office and home. We can then request a mouse (standard or upright, wireless or wired), keyboard, and external monitor as standard for home working. Some people have asked for chairs or to take their office chair home, which was granted for the pandemic, and there was a survey sent out for people to request additional equipment, though I don’t know what that extends to. We’re not meant to print things at home due to confidentiality, so the question of printers and paper/ink doesn’t come up.

    It’s a small company, and a charity, so they try not to provide things like tablets or work phones unless it’s disability accommodation or literally the CEO. I’ve not asked for anything, though, I just use the laptop with my own wireless mouse. I left my work mouse and headset in my desk drawer before we got told to work from home indefinitely, but I refuse to use the headset so it’s no real loss. I just miss my desk calendar!

    1. Kat*

      We did already have people working from home multiple days a week in all but one department, and the removal of desk phones to allow that department to WFH as well was completed just before the pandemic, so most people already had a decent setup. It’s also all company equipment, so it has to be returned when people leave, and occasionally brought into the office to be PAT tested.

  75. Roger*

    I work for a government agency that deals with sensitive information (think IRS, Social Security, Homeland Security), and I was explicitly told when I got my work computer “do not plug anything into this computer that didn’t come from us. Not a mouse, not a pair of headphones, nothing.” As a result, my entire setup was provided to me: headset, keyboard, mouse, even a surge protector.

    I’ve supplied my own mouse pad (which is personalized anyway, so I prefer it to a generic one), desk, and chair. I’ve also been buying my own pens and notepads, but now I’m second guessing whether I should be. It never even occurred to me to ask (this is my first professional job, so I’m still figuring out norms).

    1. iliketoknit*

      I work for a government agency too, not quite as bad as yours but still security conscious, and we were told we can’t print anything on our home printers. No offer to provide us with printers though! (TBF everything can be filed electronically and we have iPads which in theory we can use to read materials, I suppose, but I miss working on paper for some things.) Our work computers were laptops anyway, so the expectation is just that we take them home. I don’t remember ever being told not to use a third-party keyboard/mouse, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I could probably have brought those home from the office without anyone blinking, but we’re in theory phasing back into the office by rotating teams (my state has a very low rate of infection) and I find it annoying enough to schlep the laptop back and forth on days I go in, let alone add a keyboard and mouse to that. But no other work-provided gear. I’m one of those people who assumes if there’s an option (here, to get stuff for WFH), we’ll get told about it, and I don’t think to ask, so it’s possible I’m just missing out through ignorance. But given it’s a federal agency, and the importance of RULES and POLICY and UNIFORMITY, I think we’d have heard something if they were buying desks or chairs or such. And we haven’t.

  76. C*

    I’ve been hired into two WFH roles now (one pre-lockdown, one during).

    The pre-COVID one, they sent me a laptop, a dock, one monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, and an HDMI-to-MiniDisplayport adapter (it was a Surface dock and they have no HDMI ports). I prefer two full-size monitors so I added one of my own because we’re a tech family and had a spare monitor lying around.

    The lockdown one, I am just a contractor for now and so they only sent me a laptop; I went out and got my own monitor and peripherals because I’d had to send the previous stuff back to the pre-COVID job. I’m in the process of getting converted to a FT employee and have been told that I will get to choose the IT kit I want, which is a bit annoying since I didn’t realize this would be happening so soon and I just bought all this stuff, but maybe I’ll be able to get a laptop or monitor stand or something out of it.

    This company also provides a $125 USD monthly WFH stipend, to cover phone and internet. I have not heard anything yet about whether I’ll be required to use my personal cell phone for work business (I hope not!).

  77. Summersun*

    I was due for a computer upgrade during WFH, which includes a laptop and extra-large monitor (I do a lot of detailed AI and PS work). We get replacements every four years.

    I asked if I could temporarily keep the old monitor at home, leaving the new one in the office and carrying the laptop back and forth as needed. That was rejected. I was forced to bring the old one back to the office to be recycled. Now working from home includes cramming my nose into a 13-inch laptop screen to work on minute line art.

    It would have cost them literally zero dollars to allow this. Now they get slower work from me, because I spend a ton of time frantically shoving files around on my microscopic screen.

  78. Anon for this*

    I worked from home several days a week pre-covid. It’s my understanding I’ll be able to request a second dock, and though there was some initial discussion around providing a monitor (or two) for at-home use, nothing ever materialized. As it stands I am just working off my laptop and making do with a single screen. I will eventually purchase a large monitor (as we also want one for our personal use), and I purchased myself a standing desk since I have one at work and enjoy it.

    With the Covid WFH situation, I know some coworkers took their chairs home with them. If I wanted my keyboard/mouse etc I’m sure I could grab those things from my office, but I am avoiding going in at all costs. Though I feel terrible our admin has to go in, they have been handling any mailing/shipping that needs to go out on my behalf (and I plan to get them a nice thank you gift once I go back into the office).

    I haven’t asked for anything is because I am very lucky to be able to WFH full time (through at least January), but my grandboss is very much a person who prefers to see us in the office. Also, I work in healthcare (but am not a provider myself), so it just seems like it would come across a little tone deaf to ask for a bunch of stuff to make my home office situation more comfortable. I am also fortunate enough to be able to afford to purchase a few things I’ll need eventually (like the monitor and a proper chair) but because this is an unexpected privilege I don’t want to ask my (nonprofit) employer for additional funds. Given that nothing happened with my general inquiries pre-covid, during a time when everyone is taking a financial hit, it doesn’t seem like a good use of capital to ask for things now.

  79. A Thought*

    I brought my laptop and monitors home. I purchased a desk chair myself (did not ask for it). I already had a keyboard, mouse, camera, etc, and my current WiFi plan was sufficient for my work needs. If I had needed to upgrade my WiFi, I would have asked for it but given it was something I was already paying for, I did not see a reason to do so.

  80. NotNewToWFH*

    I’ve been WFH full-time since 2011 in a state separate from my office. In the beginning, my company gave me a desk, a laptop, and a printer. I was authorized to submit for internet and phone reimbursements up to a certain threshold each month, but didn’t, as I was in the vast minority with my situation, and was conscious about appearing on an expense list every month for items I would have regardless of my job.

    During my yearly visits to the office, I would snag a ream of printer paper and call it good.

    Years later, I now have two company-purchased monitors and a wireless headset, an ergo keyboard and mouse that were reimbursed, and an office chair I purchased on my own. My (large) company has solicited employee input on what, and how much, employees would be willing to supplement or buy on their own. Since then, leadership has announced WFH for all non-essential until 1.1.21 at the earliest, with the option open to all (again, non-essential) to make it permanent or hybrid at the employee’s choosing. Given this shift, I fully expect changes to come in the realm of what WFH equipment the company sponsors.

  81. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I started working remotely before COVID hit. I was able to move with everything on my desk (laptop, monitor, phone, headset, etc.) and I guess I could have taken my chair but I didn’t think about it at the time. I ended up buying an office chair about three weeks after I moved because my old one was not intended for daily use, and there was no talk of the company reimbursing me. I pay for my Internet service.

    All of this feels perfectly fair to me because moving to a new city was my choice and keeping my job was kind of a bonus. However, my colleagues who were still going in to the home office didn’t make that choice. They were able to take home their stuff and get their chairs, but they haven’t been given anything and there’s been no discussion of reimbursing them. I think that’s kind of crappy, to be honest. They didn’t choose this. Especially now that the company is trying to sublet their office space so wfh might become an indefinite thing.

  82. KateNP*

    My nonprofit sent our work laptops (with webcam built in) home with us. They permitted us to purchase a monitor, keyboard, and mouse on our corporate cards with the specific item links they provided from IT. [All of those items need to be returned to the office when we go back.] Through a new benefit reimbursement program (you buy, submit receipts, they include taxable funds in your paycheck), they permitted laptop stand, desk chair, standing desk or desk, footrest (ergonomics), headset, wifi router or extender, up to max of $500 total. [You get to keep those forever.] Not permitted are printer ink, paper, pens, etc. unless you receive your manager’s specific approval that you need those for your work (if printing documents is required), then you can use your corporate card for those. They will not cover increased AC/power bills, internet monthly costs, cell phone bills, or things like that.

  83. sssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    I could have brought home everything at my desk with the assumption I bring it all back.

    I only took the laptop and charger.

    My mouse died and they did pay for and ship me a new one.

    My headset broke and they did send me a new one as well.

    They will pay for paper and toner and until it was time to voluntarily return to the office, increased internet too.

  84. IT Manager*

    I’m an IT Manager at a professional services firm. Our money comes from billing our clients. We want our designers and consultants to be as productive as possible. We will pretty much buy whatever someone needs. Most people already have laptops, but if they need one we’ll get one for them. We buy monitors, docking stations, etc for the home office. We’ve bought desks, standing desks, chairs too. We do encourage them to take items from the office though we think when this is over, if ever that we’ll have much more people working at home at least some of the time so we will have to provide two setups – one in the office and one at home. Also we just changed our cell phone stipend to a technology stipend and boosted the amount so it covers some of the cost of the Internet connection.

  85. Hello!*

    My brother handles reimbursement for his workplace so this isn’t my story to tell, but someone that is new to the office submitted for reimbursement for setting up their home office. The company had previously said that they would pay for desks, printers, etc. The grand total? $1,906. A few of the highlights below:

    Floor Lamp: $169.99
    Humidifier: $56.99
    Canvas Painting: $58.99
    Chest of Drawers: $449.99
    Bookcase: $234.99
    End Table: $70.37
    Coffee Table: $114.25

    Needless to say, she will not be getting reimbursed from the company for furnishing her apartment and my brother is recommending firing her. I just can’t even imagine having the audacity to do something like that.

    1. Ashley*

      I had to buy a light for my new WFH setup but it never occurred to me to ask the company to pay for it. I chose a room in my house with bad lighting so I picked something I would still want to use post WFH.

      I did buy a new desk chair as well out of need and thought about expensing it but never did. While the rest of my office primarily has returned I have not and that has caused enough ruffled feathers with our accounting/payroll/hr folks so any requests I make are pretty minimal though at some point soon I will had to address a new cell phone with the company. (It has always been company provided but I am waiting for the billing department to complain that I am not traveling anymore so I shouldn’t need a cell phone though customers need a way to reach me still.)

    2. Jackalope*

      Yeah, out of all of those I could see…. the floor lamp and maaayyybbbbeeeee the humidifier. A cheap set of bookshelves perhaps if you have to store files or something. That’s about it.

    3. Bennett*

      Our old office (we closed it down about a year ago when we decided to shift our main focus to London) had all of these things in it, plus bean bags, sofas, additional fancy desk lights and ornaments, a breakfast bar, reclaimed oak desks, a coffee machine, fridge, water dispenser, all in one office in a shared building. It was glorious, but when helping shut the place down I found out that most of these things had not been correctly reported when expensing them on the company credit card. Former Medium Boss (who set up the office) had been a bit tricksy about it, but then he was also caught expensing meals and weekends away with his wife (as a ‘reward’ for her for putting up with him working long hours) so not surprising.

      On the plus side, when we moved to a small space (the one I recently vacated) I kept one of the fancy desk lights, some of the art and the coffee machine. These were given to me (mine now, not company property) when we closed the small space back in March. So, £150 desk lamp, £200 coffee machine. Thanks, fraudulent former boss!

  86. HS Teacher*

    My employer, a school district with not a lot of money, gave me a 24 inch monitor so I could use two screens at home. I have a similar set up in my home office, but I use that for my side business.

    I turned to walk out the door with said monitor and dropped it, shattering the screen. The IT guy shrugged and gave me another one. I’m glad he did, because it’s a life-saver when I’m teaching from home.

  87. Govermint Condition*

    My government employer is contractually prohibited from providing anything. We have a union contract written 4 years ago that considers working from home as a perk, so any employee who is approved to do so must provide their own equipment, internet, etc. Since this contract is in effect, they can’t legally give us anything that is not in the contract. (State laws make this iron-clad, so extenuating circumstances cannot be considered.)

  88. Cakeroll*

    Our office was already “low footprint” – everyone has laptops, no other “hard” equipment really needed, etc. On the day the office closed and we all started full-time WFH, we were permitted to go in to the office to gather anything from our desks we needed – chargers, keyboards and mice, etc. We were specifically discourage from bringing home second monitors – at the time it wasn’t clear how long we’d be away.

    I took home the wireless keyboard and trackpad that the company provided when I was hired, along with my laptop stand (which they would have provided, but I’d been using my personal one at work anyway).

    Later, when it was clear this was going to be a long haul, they offered a second chance to go in to the office to get things, including a second monitor if you could make a pitch to IT why it was really important for you to have it. I decided not to go lug my work-provided monitor home, because it was bigger than I wanted in my home workspace. Instead I bought a slimmer-profile and more portable second screen for myself.

    And then, about a month ago, they announced that they would offer a $250 reimbursement for any home office purchases such as furniture, monitors, etc. I bought a nicer adaptor for my second monitor (the one I fished out of a junk drawer and had been using was flakey) and found the original receipt for the monitor I had bought, and was reimbursed for both.

    I’ve heard of other colleagues getting (either through this reimbursement, or asking for it to be bought by IT directly):
    – Standing desk adaptor (presumably only lower-cost ones)
    – Desk chair
    – Headset
    – Monitor
    – Keyboard
    – Trackpad or mouse
    – Spare chargers and other cables
    – Desk mat (for under the chair)

    High-performing headsets have been the most popular request – for people who have less private space (than I’m lucky to have) or share the space with family members/roommates/kids have needed extra noise-cancelling (both on the speakers and on the microphone) to help them stay focused and not distract others during calls. Our organization has bought/reimbursed all without problem.

    We also were given an additional stipend for childcare FlexPay cards, above what the standard benefit was (which I don’t know many details of since I don’t have kids/use the benefit)

  89. AVP*

    I should specify that I work for a tiny, bootstrappy startup that is fully remote all the time, and we sort of became a company by accident so a lot of our processes are not well thought out. That said –

    We use our own computers, but the company pays to install all of the needed programs and subscriptions. I do wonder what would happen if someone had a computer-breaks-can’t afford-to-fix-it emergency but we’re generally well paid so it hasn’t come up.

    We can join a co-working space if want (well, when those existed!), and the company pays the monthly subscription to that.

    If someone wanted to expense a monitor or desk chair, I suspect that would be fine as long as you asked first.

    No one uses any printing or paper supplies that I know of, but if I needed them I would just expense them on my monthly invoice or use the company card to order them.

    Generally expense any team coffees or lunches if we meet up somewhere to co-work.

    Unlimited PTO (that we actually use) and flexible schedules, no grumbling if you need to deal with life or housing issues during the work day, acknowledgment that we all have lives outside of work that sometimes take precedence (that’s the best perk IMO).

    1. AVP*

      Oh, one other thing that’s not really a perk but a good practice is that it’s understood that if you have a meeting on the other side of town in the middle of the day, getting to that meeting is something that just takes up part of your work day and counts as work, not a commute that you should’ve done on your own time.

  90. seashell*

    Nothing!! We’re getting new laptops this fall because we’re still using Windows 7. But a friend lent me a monitor, I had to buy a desk chair, keyboard and wireless mouse plus pads for comfort. We don’t even have permission to go into building to get personal items.

  91. anonymous slug*

    Before the Plague Times, my small-ish (~400ppl) private company saw WFH as a voluntary perk (you save on commute costs) so they wouldn’t reimburse you for anything. They have largely maintained that position with the exception of monitors which we could either take home or have ordered and shipped through our IT department as long as the boxes were saved so we could eventually return them to the office. Everyone has a laptop and generally you could have a keyboard and mouse (the latter of which I managed to take home before everything was shut down).
    The company is still maintaining our offices to some extent – presumably is paying rent and HVAC to make sure our servers don’t overheat, so I don’t buy into “they are saving so much money on rent so they should pass those savings on to us.” Would it be nice to have internet subsidized? Sure. Do I think there is a corporate responsibility? Not really.
    I recoil at the limited complaints I heard about not getting snacks or dinner perks anymore (buy your own damn food, they only did that to make you work longer!) but in my heart of hearts I would love a monthly autoshipment of seltzer. I would never bring that up though!

  92. Always Late to the Party*

    OP, I think you should ask during your interview what resources the company is providing for remote workers. Then if what you need seems in line with what they’ve provided others, negotiate it as part of your offer. A chair might be a stretch, unless the job is permanently remote, but you can certainly ask!

  93. HelloHello*

    I’ve been working remotely for years now, well before the pandemic, and so it’s a bit different because it was my choice to go fully remote. That said, my work provided tech for me (work laptop, extra mouse and keyboard, external monitor, plus a mobile hotspot for when I’m traveling, though I provide my own internet at home.) Everything else office related I provide myself, so desk/chair/etc. is all on me.

    I suspect if I needed a printer for work purposes they’d provide one, and if there’s a decent chance I could get them to cover a desk or chair if I had special needs in that regard, but the Ikea chair and desk I already had before moving remove work well for me.

    They don’t cover my internet/electricity/etc, and I suspect it would be a stretch to get them to pay for any part of that.

  94. Jen RO*

    We were able to take home everything in our workspace except the desk itself (chair, laptop, monitors, docking station, mouse, headset), but we were not given a stipend.

    The company is not paying for upgraded internet access though (people have asked and were told no). It’s not an issue where I am, because the entire country has great and affordable internet, but I know that coworkers in other countries struggle with this.

  95. Rainey*

    I brought my lap top and monitor home. And just last week, our company announced that we could expense up to $1,250 for our home office situation, so I’m looking to upgrade my chair, expense the new desk I got and get a printer/scanner. I know other colleagues are looking into upgrading their Internet coverage and potentially a small generator (!) in case power goes out.

    1. Anon-y-mous*

      Depending on where you live, a small power generator might be critical if the employee needs to be 100% available for calls.

      1. Rainey*

        When he told me, I could absolutely see his reasoning. My mind would never have gone there, but that’s one of the reasons I was checking in with colleagues to see what they were thinking of doing with the budget; they may have some good ideas I hadn’t thought of! But that said, I work closely with him and he does not need to be 100% available for calls. I can still see the benefit of a generator for sure, but our managers would be very understanding of a power outage. But a generator is always handy!

  96. ThatGuyWithTheFace*

    My company gave us the option of bringing our computers and monitors home. We also get a $70 monthly stipend to compensate for additional expenses.

  97. Autumnheart*

    Same. And on paper that might sound kind of parsimonious, but WFH has always been part of our job, in that we need to be able to hop online after hours sometimes, and had a policy where we could WFH if we had a cold, kids were sick, cable guy was coming later, etc. So having the lockdown happen and moving to a WFH-only environment was not too jarring a transition. But over time, people did filter back to their desk once or twice to get equipment and things from their desk to use at home.

  98. Works in IT*

    My manager gave me a second monitor. Pretty sure it was going to be discarded if he hadn’t given it to me, but we were the first team at our place of work to take notice of the coronavirus and whirled into frantic jerry rig together a work from home setup while most people in the country were still thinking the fears were overblown and this would pass, so I can’t really blame him for that.

    I’ve been staying with my parents for the duration, because ordering food in bulk for the three of us is simpler than me ordering food separately. We’re running into occasional problems where depending on what dad’s doing when working from home, and what I’m doing, we get unpleasant latency spikes. It would be nice if my work, or his work, would provide help with this, but fortunately dad makes a LOT more money than I do and I just persuaded mom to order several hundred dollars of various assorted parts for me to use to go on an upgrading the home network configuration spree. So, no support from work, but this is something they probably needed to do anyway, and next weekend will be quite enjoyable.

  99. Indy Dem*

    Prior to the pandemic, I was WFH 3 days a week, and we were provided with a good Jabra head set and had a keyboard and mouse (each with their own USB connector) that we could take home if we wanted. We were in an open concept office, so we could take them home or leave them in our locker. Additionally we had a 20% discount with Verizon on our cell phone. Nothing else was offered when we went full time WFH. I had already set up my home office, and use my own monitor and keyboard/mouse combo. I had already bought a gaming style chair, more comfortable to multiple hours of use.

    My wife changed jobs during this, and her new company provided keyboard, mouse, docking station, monitor, and an open amount to spend for home office supplies. She bought a desk and small chair on her own (she usually works from the coach/ottoman).

    Oh, and our respective companies gave us laptops. I would not want to use my home computer for company business!

  100. Hazel*

    I started my new job at the end of June, so I have not seen the office yet. I love my job, and the people I work with are wonderful. I honestly hadn’t given a thought to the physical equipment because I already have a pretty good setup at home. Now that I think about it, though, what I got was pretty basic – to be fair, I’m currently a contractor (contract-to-hire is the plan), so it may be different for FTEs.

    When I started, the company sent me a laptop, but when I asked for a docking station and external web cam (I wanted to use two external monitors and keep the laptop closed), they said they weren’t sending those out because they didn’t have enough web cams. I was disappointed, but it makes sense because our laptops have built-in cameras. In the end, it was fine because the two monitors didn’t really fit well on my desk, and it was hurting my neck anyway, so now I use one external monitor and keep the laptop open and use its built-in camera for meetings. The laptop sits on a small box so the camera isn’t looking up my nose.

    Fortunately, two jobs ago, I worked from home a lot, so I already had a wireless mouse, external monitor, USB hub, external speakers, ergonomic keyboard, and chair. If I didn’t already have the mouse and keyboard, I would have asked for them because typing and “mousing” all day on the laptop would be so painful!

    Also, if I didn’t already have an ergonomic chair, I would really need it, but I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to ask them to expense it, even if I were a FTE.

    Recently, I needed to troubleshoot iPad issues (I’m in IT), and they sent me an iPad because I didn’t have one. It came the next day.

    1. Hazel*

      I just realized that if I were still working for my most recent employer, I would definitely have gone into the office to get a chair if I needed it. I think my reticence with the new employer is because I have not met anyone in person or been to the office yet, and I don’t technically “own” a chair there.

  101. CC*

    My company pre-covid was split — three office locations (with a split of about 50%-20%-10% of staff), about 20% of the staff fully remote. I worked from the headquarters for six years, shifted to fully remote in January, and the company has been 100% remote since March.

    When I moved to 100% remote in January, I negotiated:
    – Laptop, monitors and webcam, shipped to my new address so I wouldn’t have to deal with driving them across the country.
    – Cheap ($25/month) coworking space membership so I’d have access to a printer and very good internet. This buys me one day a week of hot-desking. I tried to get a bigger membership (8 days/month for $60 at a nicer space) and was turned down. I only got a ‘yes’ on this at all because I have a lot of capital with my boss and I pushed for it — most of our 100% remote folks have been told we have no budget for coworking spaces.
    – Noise-canceling headset.
    – More important to me than office supplies was more flexibility on hours. I like to work from coffee shops, do conference calls outside, etc. So I pushed for “as long as I don’t miss meetings, get my work done and work at least 8 hours a day, I can set my own schedule.” This still feels like the biggest perk of being fully remote and was very against our company culture. I now regularly do my team check-ins from the tops of mountains or waterfall swimming holes and it is AWESOME.
    – Paid Zoom membership when most of my company was supposed to use free ones.

    Things I didn’t ask for because I was positive they’d be no-goes:
    – Desk chair, standing desk, other office furniture (even though it’s provided to everyone in-office). I got an $80 chair from staples and a $100 standing desk from Overstock. They work great.
    – Stipend for my phone bill, even though I’m on the phone 5-8 hours a day.
    – Stipend for electricity, home office, Internet or other household expenses – Fortunately I live in a perfect climate where I don’t need much heat in winter or A/C in summer. But this definitely would have been seen as ludicrous to ask for, balanced against all the perks of remote work. I think companies that are 100% remote might be better about offering these types of perks.

    Things my company now offers to everyone since shifting to COVID remote work for everyone:
    – They’ve offered to send everyone landline phones that they pay for, but my phone bill is cheap enough that I haven’t bothered to take them up on this.
    – WiFi hotspots for anyone with slow or weak Internet access at home.
    – Printers for anyone who needs one.

  102. raaaleigh*

    Since we went office > remote, everyone was allowed to take what they needed (we just had to let an admin know what exactly we had at home). So I brought home my desk chair and external monitor/keyboard/etc.

    I was using a side table as a desk for a while, and when it became clear we’d be remote for much longer than a month or two, I asked about getting a desk. My manager said the policy on company-purchased items was that it would have to be something that could be brought back into the office, so she suggested a folding table…. Seeing as that’s what I’d been working from and hated, I decided it would be worth it to just buy a desk for my home, since that’s something that will be useful in the future whether I’m remote or not. I realized later I potentially could have asked to bring my entire desk from the office (since it is free-standing), but oh well. It wouldn’t fit in my car, anyway!

    As a new hire, I would definitely ask what accommodations they’ve already made for existing employees when moving remote, and request that they make similar arrangements for you (e.g., if they let employees take their desk chairs home, can they arrange for you to get one from the office anyway since you don’t already one to “take home”).

    1. Roy G. Biv*

      My company also let use take all we needed, including our chairs, which I did. We had to fill out an inventory form with what we had taken from the office, and then put in a req if we needed other items, such as web cam or headset. I considered putting in a req for toilet paper when my state first went on lockdown and toilet paper was difficult to find. But it occurred to me the company might offer one of those industrial-sized rolls of single ply, and I would be better off waiting for the supply chain to catch up with grocery store demand.

  103. Nesprin*

    One thing not to do: offer $15/mo for high speed internet. My base package for internet is closer to 60, and filling out the reimbursement form (and attaching my bill!) each month for $15 is galling.

  104. Parcae*

    Federal employee here. We got to take our existing laptops home and that’s it. No, you can’t take your chair or external monitors from the office. No, you can’t install drivers to use your personal printer. No, we won’t reimburse anything. As far as I can tell, the only extra equipment being handed out is connected to ADA-accommodations.

    On the plus side, we haven’t had any cuts in pay or benefits (except no commuter benefit obviously now that we’re not commuting) and my manager has been as flexible as possible.

    1. Rena*

      Also Federal, but we were encouraged to take home everything from monitors and keyboards to chairs and portions of desks if we really needed them to improve our home setups. We just had to give a list of everything we took home to our supervisor and promise to bring it all back eventually. Most of our office was already on laptops, but they fast-tracked the remaining desktop employees onto pretty decent work laptops. IT/Admin will buy stuff that they’d normally buy for you in the office, but won’t pay for extras like KVM switches to change docking setups between personal and work computers. We’re really expecting to be in this for the long haul and there’s no push to come back early.

  105. Sangamo Girl*

    Alas, I work for state government. So, ZIP.
    If you already had a tablet and/or phone assigned to you, you are able to use those. Otherwise, we are using our own computers, our own internet providers (that many folks had to upgrade), etc. And the cherry on top is that they’ve disabled printing. So if you need to print something, you not only use your own resources, for “security” you have to 1) email it to your personal email, 2) log out, 3) log in to your personal email, 4) print, 5) log out, and 6) then log back into the work network.
    I really do love what I do and feel like I make a difference–but really?

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Wait, for *security* reasons you have to email internal documents out to personal accounts? Sounds like Fort Knox. /s

      1. Sangamo Girl*

        Yes because, “It’s our policy.” It makes your head spin doesn’t it? You probably get the sense that they don’t tend to think a lot of things through.

        I try not to think about it or it gives me a headache.

  106. Editor*

    I have always worked from home, and my company provided my laptop, large monitor, printer and office chair from the beginning. They pay for my Wi-Fi and subsidize my personal phone. After a while, I realize I need wireless mouse and a paper shredder I was able to get those too. I can also order supplies like pens, paper, Staples, etc. once a month. When Covid hit, and everybody started working from home and making requests, our company gave us a one time $400 stipend to spend On home office supplies as we wish.

  107. The New Normal*

    I already had most of the set-up to work from home (an extra monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, etc) when we went strictly WFH in March. Fortunately, we’d also as well finally managed to get MOST people in the office from full desktop machines to docking laptops, so people could easily get those home.

    One thing that I did just request and was given, however, was an adjustable stand, meant to hold either a laptop or keyboard, to enable stand-up work situation on any desk. Since I’m mostly working from my dining room table, which isn’t very conducive to doing stand-up work, it’s been really nice to have.

    Also, it’s much cheaper for my employer than the actual home stand-up/sit-down desk another co-worker apparently asked for and was not granted.

  108. Buckeye*

    I was already ‘WFH’ pre-Covid- but that was more I was at home if for whatever reason I wasn’t out in the field that week ( my territory is about 26 states). I didn’t really get anything extra when we stopped travelling and the offices started working remotely too.
    I was able to order a widescreen monitor & docking station for my laptop from IT; but they’ve specifically stated that the company will NOT pay for internet, chairs, desks, etc…. We’re allowed $15/month for office supplies like paper clips, pens, paper & things like that.

  109. Lady Blerd*

    Right now I only have a laptop but if I really want have a whole set up, I could request two stand alon screens. I can also request a headset so I can make calls via VoIP. The latter is one I really should get because that I work HR and my clients all all over the place.

  110. Hiring Mgr*

    I started a new job mid- May, and besides a laptop, the compnay sent me monitor, keyboard, mouse, unsolicited.

    FWIW I’m been there around three months, never met anyone in person, never been to the office, and have managed to hire five people.

  111. Peachkins*

    Since Covid struck, I have been moved to permanently, so my situation may be a little different. We were able to return to the office (at appointed times so as not to run into anyone else) and grab anything we needed for home like extra monitors, computer accessories (we use company-issued laptops), our chairs, and personal belongings. We are getting a $50 reimbursement each month for Internet (this is for all employees that are currently WFH). We were also advised we could be reimbursed for a new desk of up to $200. No reimbursement for chairs that I’m aware of since they allowed us to take the ones we had in the office already.

  112. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    I’ve been remote for seven years. We are paperless, so printing costs etc don’t apply.

    Not having to Go To Work saves on both commuting costs and housing costs – being able to live further from the city more than cancels out the additional square footage needed for home-work space. I didn’t claim for office furniture because we already had it, and I wouldn’t expect an employer to provide much in that line unless required for a relevant disability.

    But the actual physical laptop plus software, subscriptions, technical support etc – that’s definitely the employer’s responsibility and it’s not appropriate for them to require you to use a personal device for any length of time.

    If I ever have to go to a physical location I claim mileage at standard rates plus incidental expenses such as meals (this is required by UK law I think) and my time counts from leaving home to arriving back again, not just the time physically in the meeting.

    Spouse has similar, plus a £500 unrestricted annual tech stipend. Last year he bought a drone purely for fun; this year he’s used it to improve his WFH space with a tip top webcam and donut light thing.

    Neither of us claims for internet usage, but that’s relatively cheap in the UK compared to the US as I understand it, so the financial pressure is less.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      I can’t really say if US internet is cheap or not in comparison. But I have been work from home for 7 years now and lived in 2 homes and had 3 internet providers (which have always been bundled with my cable TV service*). I have never had get improved internet for work purposes. Whatever I used personally off hours worked fine for me during work hours. And since I’m single, if I wasn’t working from home no one would be using my internet during the day.

      * Yes; Maybe I’m old fashioned but I still get “cable” tv because I like getting my local news and the sports package. My “cable” TV is currently satellite TV and I get fiberoptic for internet, but they are a bundled package so separating costs is not possible.

  113. Jessica Fletcher*

    I work at a large employer, and I think there’s a lot of variation between departments. In my department, we had a lot of freedom to take any equipment we needed. We only have a large shared printer, but when we left the office in March, people were taking their entire desktop computers to their cars if they didn’t have a work laptop. I took my work laptop and the equipment to connect to an external monitor. My office monitors are attached to my standing desk, so I couldn’t bring those with me, but I would have been allowed to. At least in my department, it seems like you can take whatever you need with only your manager’s permission, and they’ve been very flexible.

    I haven’t heard of anyone in my department getting our employer to pay for additional WFH equipment. Early on, a coworker said she wanted them to pay for her cell phone and internet, but that didn’t happen. She didn’t need to upgrade anything, and we don’t do phone work. I bought myself two external monitors and a wireless keyboard but didn’t try to have them reimbursed. I wanted to have the freedom to buy whatever I wanted and not have to give them back at some point. Someday when I go back to the office, I’ll just buy my own connector box thing to connect to my monitors when I’m at home.

  114. LizardOfOdds*

    My employer has been pretty good about the adjustment to working from home. They let us take anything that was movable at our desks – laptop (of course), keyboard, mouse. The monitors we had in the office were drilled into the desks, not sitting on monitor stands, so we couldn’t take those. We also got a stipend of over $1000 to spend on any home office equipment we wanted, and they chased down discounts with some of the more high end office supply companies so we could buy the same chairs we had in the office, new desks, etc. at a very reasonable cost that would be covered by the stipend. Overall it’s been a great experience, *except* they aren’t covering internet. We live in a large metropolitan area, and a lot of us are working in apartments and condos with dozens or hundreds of other people who are also working at home, stretching the capacity of our home internet plans. Some of us had to upgrade to business internet to get the speed we needed, which isn’t breaking the bank or anything, but it feels like a business expense that isn’t being reimbursed. So… we got the equipment, but not the service needed to effectively work remotely.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      Wow! your company sounds great. A $1000 stipend plus chasing down discounts for office supplies so it could go farther for you!

      I didn’t get that since I went WFH about 5 years so it was my choice. It’s the government so there’s a set policy which is no doubt influenced by the fact that some taxpayer would probably complain if I got anything too nice that could also be used for non-work. But I view it as a tradeoff. I pay more electricity, but I barely drive my car and don’t have to buy work clothes any longer.

      1. LizardOfOdds*

        Yes, I also view this as a trade-off. I’m paying more for electricity and internet, but like you, I barely drive my car, I’m not buying fancy work clothes, and I’m also not spending money on things like walking to a coffee shop during a break, eating out for lunch, going out for happy hour after work, or other things that are usually small dollar amounts but add up over time. Overall, I’m definitely saving more than I’m spending, so I will take it!

  115. Help Desk Peon*

    We got bounced home so quickly with so little planning that we basically got nothing. In theory I could be working from the work laptop I already had (with built in webcam) but it feels tiny and awkward, so I’m using my personal pc to remote into the work pc that’s still sitting in my cube. I’d have to jump through a lot of hoops to get permission to bring that home, so I just never bothered.

    I ended up buying my own webcam and office chair for home…I would have wanted them eventually anyhow, so I’m not too resentful. But a little bit.

  116. Art3mis*

    Most people at my company already had laptops, I was assigned one about a week or so before we went remote. The majority of my team that didn’t already have one were issues “loaner” laptops because things happened so quickly. I don’t know if there’s going to be an effort to give them a more permanent laptop. These aren’t the best things to work with, given that they were loaners. The company also issued us monitors to bring home since for our work operating on just one laptop screen is not ideal. They also offered to lend out office chairs, but about a week before that was announced I bought one for myself since my old one needed to be replaced anyway. That’s about it. It’s unknown if this is going to be a permanent or long term thing or what just yet.

  117. WDCZombie*

    My firm is not giving staff anything (but will reimburse you if you need to buy paper or other lowcost office supplies). We are using our own computers (logging in through VMWare), our own cell phones (using an app that is spotty at best). My internet is not being paid for, either. And we’ve taken a 10% pay cut, indefinitely.

  118. glitter writer*

    Our company, unfortunately, will cover very little. We have company-issued laptops and company-issued desk phones, but there are no subsidies for peripherals, broadband, personal phones we also use for work purposes, our wireless plans, or anything else we use to set up our home offices.

    (As my team has always been remote, even prior to the pandemic, this is a long-standing source of frustration.)

  119. Anon-y-mous*

    I work for a Very Large Global Company. This is what they provide for WFH:

    >Laptop Computer
    >Basic corded 1 ear headset

    And that was all they ever provided pre-Covid, even in the office! Very cheapskates!

    If you wanted a larger or high-res monitor, keyboard or mouse, you had to buy it yourself (I do graphic design so I need this stuff). We were open office, and I regularly had to lug my monitor and keyboard around in a tote bag because we didn’t have assigned desks either. I purchase my own stock photos, specialty software and supplies such as external hard drives for use in creating company materials. I am not reimbursed, but I claim on my taxes for these things. It’s often easier to do so than trying to run the obstacle course and unpleasantness of submitting the purchase order, which will usually be denied unless you spend hours and hours and 20 emails justifying why you need it.

    1. Generic Name*

      I’m shocked that you spend your own money on stock photos, even with the tax reimbursement. If the company won’t pay for access to stock photos, then their materials can be done with things that scream “I got this for free!”, but that’s just my own opinion.

      1. Anon-y-mous*

        The marketing department does have a subscription the company pays for. But every time I ask marketing for stock photos I get one of the following responses: a) I am told they have already used up their monthly allotment for other departments’ work, or b) They do not respond to my request for three weeks, at which point I have completed my project and moved on to other things.

        So I basically pay for this myself to avoid the hassle and bureaucracy that is my company.

        If I tried to get reimbursed for my subscription, I would be denied and told to “use marketing” for that (happened). Which starts the runaround all over. I am paid well, and so I can afford to carry a basic subscription for my needs. Otherwise I would not get my work done. So I keep track and deduct on my taxes as unreimbursed business expenses, though that does not cover the entire cost. But Hey, at least I get to keep those stock photos for myself if I do freelance projects later. This company is huge, and you wouldn’t think this would be be an issue, but it is and issue. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do though.

  120. WFH*

    My bosses have been very reasonable insofar as letting me work from home but thats where it ends. I’m home because I am very high risk but they feel since the office is open thats where accommodations end.
    Ive had to buy a printer/scanner and after a series of big storms kept blowing the power out I had to get a new PC.

  121. Beehoppy*

    My last role was set up to be WFH. I was provided the option of a laptop or desktop, a printer, and a $50 per month credit toward my internet bill. I was also able to order printer ink and paper, pens, file folders, and a reasonable amount of office supplies as needed. It was a small nonprofit do I didn’t feel right asking for an extra monitor, chair, or headphones. I did have to return the laptop when I left, but they let me keep the printer.

  122. alienor*

    I already had a work-issued laptop, and at some point a couple of months ago, we got an unsolicited reimbursement for the Internet we’d used up to that point (can’t remember how much it was; I already had the fastest broadband package my cable company offers for my personal use, so I hadn’t had to purchase anything extra for WFH). I have bought maybe $100 worth of supplies to use at home–pens, post-its, laptop stand–and paid for them out of pocket, but I’m sure I could have expensed them and it would have been fine. I have a few colleagues who just took home all the equipment they’d been using in the office, including monitors, headsets and chairs, and that was fine as well.

  123. Generic Name*

    My company has many remote workers (one coworker has been living in various locations abroad for about the last 10 years he’s been working for us), so we had a pretty robust work-from-home policy pre-pandemic. Basically, the company typically provides laptops, extra power cords, laptop bags, but you’re on your own if you want a second monitor at home, or a desk or desk chair, and you need to pay for your own internet. Since the pandemic, I’ve noticed that many coworkers have taken their office monitors home with them.

    I’ve been partially working from home most days since before the pandemic. I provided my own desk, chair, keyboard and mouse, and internet. I did ask to borrow a laptop stand and a keyboard tray (good keyboard trays cost upwards of $300, so it was a real boon to be able to take home a tray we had on hand.

    I can’t say whether this set up is fair or not, but it’s what we’ve established, and everyone is subject to it, so it’s at least equitable.

    1. Generic Name*

      Oh, I forgot to mention, the company also provides noise cancelling headphones for use in-office, so I think that extends to headsets for remote meetings.

  124. Greyscale*

    I work remotely 100% of the time, so my company’s policy on this is not just Covid-related. They paid for my laptop. That’s it. Their view is that providing all the other parts of an office setup (desk and chair, keyboard, internet, etc) fall on the employee since the employee chose a remote job over a conventional office job.

  125. MsMaryMary*

    We were fully remote for six months and just started going back to the office one day a week. Most of us already had laptops, and anyone who didn’t was given one. We were also allowed to come back into the office for one day early on to take home our docking station, a second monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Some people who worked remotely often pre-COVID (such as some of our sales people) already had a full work from home setup with dual monitors and so forth. Some of us also had headsets or earbuds that we used in the office previously

    That’s it.

    We would really like to take our office chairs home too, but that was denied. I bought a monitor stand because we were only allowed to take home the actual monitor (I had it propped against the wall for a while). Printers at home were frowned upon pre-COVID because we work with a lot of confidential financial and personal data. Like IT does not provide support to connect a home printer and our security settings make it very difficult. It will be interesting to see if that changes.

    We’re on total lockdown in terms of expenses, because we have seen a loss in revenue from COVID. There’s a hiring freeze. Travel or any other expenses have a strict approval process and are only allowed if it’s necessary to keep a client or get a new account. If we stay mostly remote long term and business picks back up, I’m hopeful we’ll get a stipend or a little more support. Our lease is up at the end of the year and if we move to a smaller space, there should be room in the budget.

    1. Zeldalaw*

      We have the same restriction on printing. We are Mainly a paperless office anyway and we are not allowed to have any documents with secure information on them outside of the office. That applies to electronic files as well; we have to use VPN and all documents must be stored on the server and not on your laptop.

      1. MsMaryMary*

        Generally I love being paperless. Some of my coworkers are having a hard time. My only concern is that we still have some vendor contracts that require actual signatures, sometimes from multiple people (client, vendor, our regional VP, etc). Now that we can go into the office occasionally it’s slightly less of an issue, but it’s still going to slow down the process.

  126. Zeldalaw*

    My office (non-profit) essentially provides any electronic hardware needs. So, laptop, monitors, headset (for video conferencing), docking station, keyboard, etc. For roles that require calling outside clients and customers, they will also provide a cell phone (so you aren’t giving out your personal number when you call from home). We are expected to have our own internet access. I’ve never asked, but they wouldn’t have a problem if you took home (minimal) office supplies, like paper, pens, etc. as long as their use was only for work purposes. They do not provide printers as we are mainly paperless. Except for the laptop, you have to specifically ask for the rest; it’s not automatically provided when they know you’re working from home. It’s not a request that requires approval or could get denied, though.

  127. Wiring Junkie*

    I work in the construction industry so I am not working from home. However when I first got hired I had to spend about $1800 on required tools. At the time I was working out in the field, however now I work in our main office in a technical position and all tools are provided. I feel like a lot of it depends on the industry norms. I can certainly see more companies moving to a BYOS (bring your own supplies) model because the work is not occurring in their facility.

  128. Annony*

    My company is very much need vs want. We get laptops. Some people may be able to get headsets if there is a demonstrated need. We are an essential business so anyone who does not have an adequate WFH setup is able to come in to work. Since the offices are available, they will not pay for furniture, utilities or wifi. They haven’t been doing well financially. The C-suite already took a 25% pay cut and they have asked for volunteers for furlough, so I don’t really blame them for not supplying more.

  129. Quinalla*

    Anything we had at work (webcams, headsets, etc.) we could take home. They specifically offered folks extra monitors, webcams, headsets, mouse, keyboard, etc. Several of us that are games already have 2 monitors, but a lot of folks only had one but we all have 2 at work (a few have 3 monitors) because of the work we do. Some people needed a better mouse, etc. at home, none of that was a problem. I don’t know of anyone who got a computer/laptop that didn’t already have one, but I’m sure that would have been provided if needed.

    If people had needed a real office chair at home, my guess is my company would let people take one home, but I don’t know of anyone that requested. My chair at home is better than my work chair. Desks I doubt it, but don’t know.

    No utility or internet stipend, that’s a really nice thing for companies to offer though.

    I grabbed a ream of paper at the office as I have to print stuff semi-regularly at home with my boss’ blessing. It was easier than getting reimbursed for paper/ink. I don’t really need anything else except random scratch paper and pens so I grabbed a few from work too when I went to pick up/drop off stuff. But yeah, my company is generally very good about reimbursing and getting us the equipment we need. $$ spent on an extra monitor or high quality mouse saves us lots of time so pays for itself in a few days/weeks.

  130. Elenia25*

    Nothing. Absolutely nothing. a few people brought their work computers home, but it was really more overlooked than allowed. One person did not have internet in their homes before this. I have no idea if the company paid for it but she does now.
    I have my old laptop, thankfully. But they really didn’t and aren’t giving us anything.

  131. Nicki Name*

    When my company went all-remote, we were allowed to take home all our peripherals– docking stations, extra monitors, headsets, etc. Recently the company started subsidizing standing desks for anyone who wants one (not a huge leap since all the desks in the office were adjustable).

  132. Person from the Resume*

    I worked from home before and the WFH policy didn’t change.

    You get a laptop and can request a docking station, and additional monitor.

    I only have the laptop, docking station, and keyboard from work. (I don’t think they are tracking this old keyboard, but it was the one I used at my office desk when I began work from home.) I have provided my own second monitor.

    We need to provide internet and phone. I pay extra for a landline so I don’t have to give out my cell phone to work and can ignore any number not in it’s contacts. And I can ignore my land line when it rings after work hours. OTOH the use of IM and “calls” through my computer mean that I get so few work phone calls I am reconsidering the cost-benefit analysis. My friend works from home and her company pays for her work internet, but it cannot be used for personal use so she has two internet connections (two internet providers) in her house. That seems like more trouble than it is worth to me.

    We need to provide desk and desk chair. They will not be paying for that.

    Suggestions: if possible consider putting your work computer next to your internet router and connecting to the router through a wire instead of wifi. Might improve your access speeds.

    I would not nickle and dime them about your home heating and electricity. Because on the opposite side, you are saving on commute costs (gas and wear and tear on your car) and business appropriate clothing costs and time getting ready for work in the morning.

    I can understand all devices connected to your computer and maybe the desk chair, but I wouldn’t expect anything beyond that.

  133. Lizabeth*

    I’m using ALL my own stuff. Would love to get my hands on my work computer because it has more RAM in it but it’s not a big deal and the time it takes to open super big jpgs gives me time for a break. TPTB haven’t even inquired about everybody’s set up and they are on the clueless side to begin with. Even the external HD I have all the work stuff on is mine.

    However, in my job searching, it will be one of my questions – What do you provide for remote working?

  134. Amethystmoon*

    My company provides us with a laptop and software. Everything else, we need to already have or buy ourselves.

    1. Lynn*

      Same here.

      I have been on WFH for several years, ever since they quit having folks who were 100% travel (I used to fly home every weekend, then back to the client site every workweek). We got to bring in the equipment we had (laptop, scanner, printer), but over the years we have gone more paperless and they quit replacing the printers/paying for supplies for them and they don’t replace the scanners if they die either.

      Anything else we want for our WFH setups is on us.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        Yeah, I can go in and get supplies like paper, but we aren’t supposed to be there more than a couple of days per week. And my personal printer takes different ink.

  135. FiveWheels*

    When we went remote everyone was given a budget of I think £200+ VAT to spend as we wished from a list of supplies. I chose a very nice chair and USB hub. I was also issued with a laptop, second monitor, and keyboard – I declined a mouse.

    I provided for myself a laptop and second monitor (from before my company laptop arrived), mouse, desks, printer, and printing supplies.

  136. animaniactoo*

    I suspect that I could have asked them to cover the cost of my rolling desk but did not ask. I did receive an external hard drive to store work on. Others have received laptops to work on, no idea what anyone else has asked for and received, but I was told very clearly to ask for anything that I needed.

    Okay, not true, I did also ask for a place to store my husband while I was working with soft fuzzy samples that my husband kept wanting to play with, but my manager just laughed at me on that one.

    1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

      Normally my organization states that all home office expenses are the employee’s responsibility (because we all have work offices that are our primary locations.) However, with COVID I was able to bring my ergonomic chair and my dual monitor set up home, and they paid for replacements on the usual replacement schedule. I’ll need to bring them back to work when I’m allowed back, though; their “home” is assumed to be the office. If I had ergonomic needs that would be the same at work or at home, they’d pay for that too.
      I didn’t need it, but I believe they did provide routers at least temporarily, to staff who didn’t have internet when we were sent home. I don’t know how the internet bill went.
      Everything else, including printer ink and paper, is up to us.

  137. blepkitty*

    My company provided a phone for me when I asked, and I’m kept supplied with notebooks. At the start of work from home they were unable to provide a lot of equipment due to shortages, and they haven’t said much about it since. I’m still using my personal laptop, and I’m starting to consider asking for one from the company (I do not enjoy seeing work things on my laptop like Skype for Business when I use it on the weekend to write or watch netflix).

  138. KR*

    My work already issues laptops, docking stations, so on. My coworkers have taken their monitors home (I had a monitor at home I don’t mind using when I need double monitors) and some have requested & received duplicate monitors to keep at home. We have corporate credit cards and fortunately I have not gotten any push back on gadgets or tech to make working remote easier, and have been encouraged to charge things to my employer and let them pay for it. No internet subsidy but we have a program where you can get 50$ monthly reimbursement for your phone if you use it for work.

  139. Mel_05*

    My company doesn’t provide anything.

    We were already allowed to WFH once a week, but it was expected that you would have the equipment at home in order to take advantage of that perk.

    My computer is pretty crappy, but they haven’t even brought me back full time yet (a bunch of us were laid off over the summer) so I’m probably not pushing anything.

  140. Dust Bunny*

    We had already switched to tablet computers, and they just gave us extra monitors. There isn’t much else we need, though, to do most of what we do.

  141. mm*

    Large multinational company had us take our laptops home, then (after like 6 months) offered a $200 reimbursement for tech supplies that had to get approved by our employee tech department — no desks or chairs, but monitors were fine. That’s it, everything else is fend-for-yourself as business booms thanks to the pandemic.

  142. Blisskrieg*

    We have a longstanding history of working from home (pre-COVID). New hires can get nice docking stations or dual monitors–I have never taken advantage because I like to sit on my couch exclusively to work so I use a laptop.
    Internet is no longer reimbursed, but the reasoning is a little different–the company’s consideration is that everyone really already has internet service at home. If there were very special circumstances, they might consider as a one off. We are expected to expense equipment such as printers or shredders. if you work in healthcare, a high-quality cross-shredder (not all shredders are HIPAA-compliant) would be a must for any employee that handles printed patient information.

  143. Al*

    Allowed- purchase of any equipment needed to work from home (which could include furniture, monitors, headset, etc.) with a request to limit to $300 per employee. We were also allowed to return to offices (at a designated time) to collect our chairs and docking stations, but NOT our additional monitors.

    Not allowed- internet or anything that would be considered a utility (heating, etc.)

    Printers were originally not reimbursable but that was recently amended- now okay with specific permission. I already had a home printer but have charged the purchase of new ink to company card.

  144. AliceBD*

    I’ve gotten nothing. I haven’t asked for anything, because I have been told we won’t get anything. I work in an administrative position in a very large doctor’s practice and have a job that can be done entirely from home on my work laptop; most of our employees are still in the office working with patients. (All kinds of safety guidelines in place and we are doing telemedicine when possible but mostly it is not for us.) I could have brought my sit stand desk converter and monitors and chair home, but frankly I didn’t much the converter and chair and I have a monitor already. I bought a chair and I’m buying a nicer sit stand desk. I don’t usually need to print anything.

    I live just a couple of miles from work so not saving much time or money on commuting; some, but it was about 20 mins total a day and a few dollars. I want to keep working from home as long as possible and not be pressured into going into the office so I am basically being quiet about it.

  145. Goya de la Mancha*

    My employer allowed me to take home a laptop, and I really didn’t need anything else, but man oh man did I miss my dual 24″ monitors lol! I kept anything I would need hard copies of in a file on the laptop and printed it all of when I returned to work and my phone has a scan feature. Really the only thing that I could ask for would be a credit toward my internet bill, but that won’t fly.

  146. Heat's Kitchen*

    Started working full time remote in January, where half the staff does already. Computer, monitors, docking station, keyboard, mouse, and headset were provided. They don’t offer stipends for other materials or internet. They do have some corporate discounts on furniture and such. Honestly, I’m fine with it. I save so much on the commute and I’d have allt he things anyway.

  147. gingersnap*

    All these comments are making me envious. I work for a religious organization and we’re treading water financially. Aka no money for working from home expenses. Even our regular office furniture and supplies are being held together with duct tape! Luckily I had an iPad pro and was able to get a cheap bluetooth keyboard and mouse and that worked well enough. Many of my coworkers didn’t have computers, internet, or smartphones. Our IT Department had two spare laptops (there’s about 250 people working out of my location). Our work from home transition was rough and they brought us back in full time much earlier than I’d have liked as a result. I love the work I do but our IT department is truly terrible and this pandemic has showed it.

  148. CatCat*

    I have asked for and received a mouse.

    I have asked for and not been allowed my office chair and foot rest. My home ergo situation blows.

    To compensate, I added more cushions on my home chair, use a foam roller for a foot rest, and get up and walk around/swing my arms for for 5-10 mins every hour.

  149. Meg*

    In June my company instituted a reimbursement policy that let each of us get reimbursed up to $750 for any equipment we need to work from home. I appreciate that they let each of us choose what we needed to work from home, rather than assuming they know what we need. Before they announced the policy I had already spent about $450 on a folding desk, chair, and external monitor. I ended up getting the chair reimbursed through a separate wellness pot of money we have (can be used for massages, gym classes, haircuts, etc. and they’re being more liberal with that since a lot of stuff is closed). I also bought a keyboard and mouse, since eventually I need to take back the ones I brought home from the office haha. I also bought airpods, which were half a work purchase (increased quality on video calls) and half something I wanted in general. I know people have bought headphones, furniture, computers, tablets, wifi routers, printers, etc.

    $750 is a lot, but it doesn’t go very far if you need a computer. I’m using a loaner laptop that belongs to my company, since my personal laptop is chromebook (works great, but work heavily uses windows and the online versions are trash). Apparently our IT guy is a little annoyed that I didn’t buy a computer and wants to “reclaim” these loaners. For what, I have no idea since no one is in the office and no one is going anywhere.

    They’re also sending us any office supplies that they would normally supply in the office, like notebooks, pens, printer ink/paper.

    1. Meg*

      I should have added, we have desktop computers in the office and not laptops. My chromebook was working for 2ish work from home days a month. The thing that broke me was that word online is total trash, and among other things it doesn’t let you tab. Also I send mail merges somewhat often, and I couldn’t do that with a chromebook.

        1. Meg*

          As obnoxious as that is, it sort of makes sense to me. I wouldn’t have bought the chromebook if I knew I was going to be working from home (at the time I didn’t at all). It’s not a google thing though, it’s the online version of the programs, which Sharepoint constantly tries to dump you into. It’s mind boggling to me that the in browser versions of all microsoft programs (teams and word especially) are just so so bad.

  150. Jennifer*

    I got a laptop.

    I bought a wireless mouse, a mouse paid with a wrist rest and am thinking about getting a second monitor. I probably need a new chair too. I’m a contractor so I highly doubt they would provide this.

  151. Rachel in NYC*

    My office has basically provided whatever we needed to set up our home offices to what we had in the office (within limits.) So second monitors, computer chairs, the like. I know desks were ordered for some people who didn’t have them.

    We’re actually in the year that we’d normally update our work computers and there has been discussion that instead of upgrading our desktops, they might upgrade our laptops instead.

    And I’d say obviously everyone (including student workers) were provided laptops but I know people who work for the City who had to provide everything for themselves. Yes, including a computer.

  152. fisharenotfriends*

    Before we went into lockdown we ensured that everyone had a computer suitable for remote connection and we went around and granted them access to the resources they would need to work from home. We did provide equipment for those who didn’t have any on a loan.

    We received a $200.00 one-time stipend towards whatever we would like for our work from home set-up, and a regular $50.00/month reimbursement for home internet. Our cell phones were already covered before. We didn’t want people taking any equipment that we didn’t expect back, but I’ve been able to hand out any “spare” parts that I had horded in the storage room. So cords, mice, a few monitors, etc, that I held on to because they were working but were replaced due to office-wide upgrades. We’ve also extended our after hours IT service to cover their home machines.

    We changed our workflow to be almost entirely digital to eliminate the need for printing, and when we do occasionally require it for external purposes our office printers are networked so that the staff members can print to the office and I’ll co-ordinate a courier.

    The one thing that I’ve brought up but we haven’t properly addressed yet is the concern for wear-and-tear on home machines.

    1. Amethystmoon*

      That’s good. My two coworkers are basically married to their paper files and will not give them up. I need to go in once or twice a week to print and deliver files. Our industry is an essential one, so I guess that helps.

  153. sometimeswhy*

    We already had laptops as our primary computers so that was nice. We’ve done a couple rounds of reimbursement for utilities and at the start did a reimbursement for equipment, ergo, or office supplies needed to accommodate working from home. We also have some flexibility to take home company property with the expectation that it is approved/logged by the supervisor and with the expectation that it’ll be returned.

  154. Mid*

    The attorneys got entire new computers if needed, and anything else they needed (monitors, chairs, desks, webcams, etc.) I got an offer to upgrade my internet speed when there was neighborhood-wide outages, but we realized it wouldn’t help, and it would have just increased my bill in the long term. Otherwise, I stole a chair and some old monitors and an old decommissioned computer from the storage room (with permission.) I know I’m the support staff, but the discrepancy stings a little sometimes.

  155. Verbal*

    I work for a major hospital. They were very clear that we would be provided nothing. They had enough trouble getting masks and PPE for people who had to keep working on site, and were losing billions in regular revenue.

  156. Riley*

    My company will not provide anything, even the computer monitor. They claim they can’t afford to (business has not been affected get COVID at all, if anything it’s better) and they’re against people working from home even though cases are on the rise in my city and we had someone test positive in the office. All jobs can be done fully remote, it’s pretty easy to do so if you have a good monitor and wifi connection but they won’t pay for it which means not everyone can work from home.

    I’ve been looking for a new job since this started.

  157. Hillary*

    We already all had laptops and headsets, and most of us in my group already had travel setups. I brought home my docking station, keyboard, and ergonomic mouse. I already had a large monitor (thanks to my software engineer partner’s hardware closet) but my boss would have approved the expense if I asked. We already had soft phones and many of our roles have company-provided cell phones. I went back a month ago to check the team’s mail and I brought home my books and some personal stuff. I also gave up and installed my personal printer on my work computer.

    There wasn’t anything official about taking home chairs or other larger equipment (all the monitors at the office are on arms) and I don’t think anyone tried. I bought a varidesk and a good chair myself, but I know what I’ll be doing with them personally after I go back to the office.

  158. Bun*

    My job let me take home almost my entire cubicle, since my personal laptop isn’t quite powerful enough for me to work from regularly (I do a lot of training video creation). I was able to bring home my work desktop and associated peripherals, both of my monitors, my noise-cancelling headset, a microphone and tiny sound board, and my desk chair. Granted, trying to cram all that into my home office was interesting, but at least I have everything I need to get work done!

  159. RedBlueGreenYellow*

    My employer provides laptops and peripherals (monitor, keyboard, mouse, headphone, etc.) through the IT department. The company is also reimbursing phone and Internet costs, and up to $500 in home office setup costs (to buy a desk, chair, etc.). A lot of people used that to get sit/stand desks at home, like they had at work.

    The process isn’t always the easiest (so, for example, I found it easier to just buy myself a new keyboard rather than waiting for IT approval and getting a reservation slot to go in and pick it up). But overall, it seems quite generous.

  160. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    Most places aren’t going to supply you with furniture (maybe a chair), but will give you the necessary equipment (laptop, printer, mouse, headset, additional monitor, office supplies, etc.) similar to what you need to complete your work if you were in an office. There may be some that supply furniture but I would think that’s an exception rather than the norm.

    Personally there are some things I’m particular about (like my chair and my headset) and have purchased myself, knowing that if I requested it from the company it would be the cheapest crap they were willing to provide. And when I went full time remote, I was willing to buy my own monitor unless they sent me a new one (which they did) because every other monitor they sent to the office was old and a piece of junk.

    So you may want to ask what they usually supply, and if there’s something on your list that they don’t mention (like a chair) I would still ask. They can say no, but there’s nothing wrong with asking.

  161. AdAgencyChick*

    Ours pays for a second monitor if you want one (very helpful for reviewing projects against backups, which happens a lot), small IT needs purchases on ad hoc basis (I got a new charger when mine started to die), and we now have a small monthly budget for office supplies like pens and notebooks. Not too bad.

    I sure wish I could get a new chair reimbursed but I get why they won’t do it. I had no idea decent chairs were so dang expensive! I’m hating the $200 one I bought early in the pandemic and realizing that the top-rated designs for comfort/ergonomics all seem to be, like, four figures!

  162. Lucette Kensack*

    My employer (nonprofit) hasn’t proactively offered anything. But I purchased some ergonomic accessories (laptop stand, lumbar cushion, etc.) with my corporate card and it was approved with no challenges. I also took home some equipment from my cube. I don’t think they would have noticed or objected if I took my chair or monitor or etc. (I just took smaller things, like my keyboard and mouse).

  163. Sarah*

    Local government employee – teleworking is not the norm for my organization, but has been (for those of us able) for COVID – my office will supply office supplies (notebooks, pens, highlighters, etc), and that’s it. Some rumors of converting our desktops to laptops and allowing us to carry back and forth, but by the time they manage that the crisis will be over.

    In the mean time, I’ve purchased a new office chair, new large monitor (crucial for reviewing building plans), new router, new modem, suitcase for moving files back and forth, new mouse, and new furniture. A new laptop is next on the list so my kid can use the old one for school-from-home, and if our basic internet can’t keep up a higher tier plan.

    1. Sarah*

      Oh – and a tablet to bring on my work-from-work days so I can do all of the zoom chats and google meets, since there’s no webcam at the office.

      All in all I’m out several hundred – and probably over a thousand when I have to replace the laptop.

  164. ITisnotEZ*

    I work for a company that has division that sells office supplies. I got a chair, a chair mat, and a UPS. I already had nice PC and a good desk, but I could have gotten those too, if I had needed them.

  165. Middle Name Jane*

    I have my work laptop, wireless mouse, and a headset (which we all had before WFH). They shipped me a 2nd monitor, which has been a lifesaver. I had one at the office but not at home. That’s it in terms of company-provided equipment. They won’t pay for WFH furniture or other equipment (such as a printer). We’re expected to use our home wi-fi at our own expense, and I’m grateful I have a solid connection with a high data cap.

    Some of my colleagues have bought office furniture, but I can’t afford to do that.

  166. Ama*

    I work at a pretty small nonprofit. Because of a bad experience during Hurricane Sandy my employer has spent the last several years shoring up our technology infrastructure so mass work from home for an extended period was more feasible (although I’m sure they were expecting another hurricane to flood our office for two weeks, not something like this). So we already had good laptops for everyone and a VPN service so people can secure their wifi signals if they are sharing with roommates, and since we’re in an area where people commute by mass transit they either paid to courier supplies, printers, scanners, etc. to people or paid for people’s cabs home if they wanted to take them when they left the office. They’ve also regularly checked in to make sure no one has realized they need a printer or scanner or extra monitor as they’ve settled in — the biggest push they made was to offer everyone a good quality headset if they needed one so we could improve sound quality on video meetings. They’ve also made sure people remember we have a company cell phone option (they pay for your phone bill and it also has a wifi hotspot feature if you need it) — a lot of people who didn’t take advantage of it because they didn’t travel much have switched over because they take a lot of work calls now (all our office extensions have been forwarded to our home or cell phones).

    The best perk they’ve recently implemented though is to establish a policy of no external or cross-department meetings on Fridays to give people a day to wrap up their work for the week and better disconnect — we’ve been doing this for about a month now and it has been amazing how having one guaranteed no meeting day has improved my work-life balance. I hope we can think about maintaining it when we go back to the office (which at this point won’t be until 2021, so we have a while for it to become habit).

  167. Jerilynne*


    I was assigned to work remotely for 4 months and I had to use my own personal laptop, cell phone with my office line forwarded to it, printer, printer paper, Internet, etc. They would have provided a second monitor if I want, since that’s what I have in the office, but that’s it. And if I wanted, someone could use mailed me paper clips and post-it’s but I grabbed a supply of both before I left.

    I am back in the office now but we have people who will be working from home indefinitely and they are not providing anything.

    1. Jerilynne*

      I should note that I work for a medium size employer — about 800 employees. We are a large employer in my area and we are essential so we never shut down at all.

  168. MayLou*

    I brought home a partial pad of lined paper which I use for making notes during calls, and a packet of sticky notes. Other than that, everything I’m using to WFH is my own. People who didn’t have, or didn’t want to use, their personal phones were issued with a work phone, but I was happy to install the phone app on my phone and not worry about keeping two phones charged and safe. At least one person needed a work laptop and others are waiting for one now that it is clear we will be working from home for the indefinite future.

    Many of my colleagues brought home their office chairs, monitors and keyboards etc. I already had an external monitor, USB mouse and a chair (recently upgraded to a kneeling one) as I am self employed too and work from home for that work. My bills haven’t increased so there’s nothing to reimburse there. I had a 50 minute commute so I’m saving on petrol, and also reduced dog walker costs. And not commuting meant I was able to take an additional job that I wouldn’t have been able to fit in previously. So I come out ahead!

    I do know that part of a recent funding bid (we are a charity) was to cover the cost of issuing everyone with a work phone and computer, but at the moment it wouldn’t have been easy to cover that expense if we’d all needed those things. No one has had their hours cut or their pay reduced, and personally I’m very happy to take the additional wear on my personal devices as the small downside to an otherwise pretty positive experience.

  169. Em*

    My office isn’t paying for anything (aside from the laptops we already had.) They’re trying to keep their expenses as low as possible in order to avoid layoffs. I support avoiding layoffs!

  170. Ops*

    We are remote until 2021. We let everyone take what they need from their workstation, including their motorized standing desk if desired. We have approved most requests for purchases if approved by the supervisor, at least 2 modem replacements, though we dont pay for Internet. And we also gave each employee a $250 stipend to support WFH as they see fit. We have been lucky to be in an industry that has actually seen increased revenue. Not sure how long that will be, but we made a priority to care for the staff as best as possible, especially since everyone is working extra hard under the molasses of these times. They earned those “perks” big time.

  171. JBeane*

    I work for a public institution was given nothing, although we were allowed to take our whole setup home: monitors, computer, docking station, etc. My wife works for a big bank and has so far received TWO string-free stipends of $500 to upgrade her home office as well as being mailed a company VPN router, an extra laptop, etc. Really different outcomes due to different resources!

  172. Lyudie*

    We are allowed to take home one of our two monitors (not both), keyboard and mouse, headsets, and chairs. If you have a standing desk you can request permission to take it home. You can get reimbursed for some things but they will not cover internet or increased utility bills. Everyone already has laptops. We have a site where you can order things like mice and headsets so as long as it’s on there, you are fine but anything else you’d have to get approved. I’m sure some managers are stricter about approving expensed things but mostly it seems like as long as it’s a reasonable request you are okay. I’m a gamer and do online grad school so I already have a good set up with desk, chair, headset, big monitor etc. so I didn’t bring anything home.

  173. Temperance*

    My office has been great with getting equipment to those who need/ask for it, with a limitation due to availability. (Understandable.) I have a work laptop/tablet combo that has been great. My husband bought me a portable monitor as a gift that has also been super useful.

    My husband likes to WFH, so we already had upgraded internet and he has a ton of random pieces of tech equipment that I borrowed so my colleagues could use our work supplies. My favorite thing is this Skype headset that I use for video calls and to listen to podcasts all day. (Similar ones are on Amazon for $35 – $50, last time I checked, if you’re looking. Plantronics is the brand.)

    They haven’t provided desks and chairs, but that makes sense because my org has more than 5k people across the US. They also are genuinely okay with us working from the couch or whatever if that’s comfortable.

  174. Manchmal*

    I teach in higher ed, and I’m teaching 100% remote this semester. My laptop was already university-provided. Because I teach design, my teaching team got new iPad Pro+Apple Pencil + keyboard case, plus money for apps, because that’s what the students are using as well. There was also an open call to apply for equipment that you might need. I requested a good headset with a microphone ($250 or so), and that was approved.

  175. Potatoes gonna potate*

    When I started my job the CEO who I interviewed with said that if i need anything at all, let her know. This was repeated a few times by others throughout the lsat few weeks.
    I haven’t requested a single thing, I have no idea what I need.

  176. sharmand3r*

    Because of the initial outlook of COVID (need 2 weeks at home, then life will be back to normal… oh to be that blissfully ignorant and hopeful again!), our employer had us take anything we’d need from the office home. I took my monitors, dock, keyboard, mouse, and some office supplies. The bigger thing they did however was double-stock us on everything in case we need/choose to come back to the office. My job really can’t be done well on just a laptop, so it’s easy to switch between setups whether I’m at home or at the office.

    I do miss my phone and my scanner at the office… Probably could’ve taken the scanner home but not my phone.

  177. Jane*

    Large financial services company, everyone already has laptops and cellphones as standard. Standing desks and a full ergonomic setup is normal for us in the office but we didn’t have a big WFH culture pre-pandemic. Everyone is able to expense an external monitor, keyboard and mouse, and a proper office chair up to a certain amount (I can’t remember what the cap was), some people also took home monitors etc on the last day in the office.

    What I really wish they’d pay for but they don’t – high quality headsets. Most people have bought their own (including me), but some haven’t and I’d love it if all of my colleagues would just use a proper headset instead of trying to use their laptop speaker/mic etc.

  178. Bostonian*

    Are we talking about a permanent WFH position, or a position that’s temporarily WFH due to the pandemic?

    I think it’s reasonable to expect more if it’s a permanently remote position. As Alison says, all of the physical necessities for doing the job should come without question: laptop, 1-2 monitors depending on the type of work you do, office supplies, headset if you’re in a lot of meetings, cell phone if that’s part of the company policy.

    I think it couldn’t hurt to ask for a chair to be paid for: it wouldn’t seem out of touch, but you may get a no. Same with internet. I think the heat/electricity borders on out of touch if you ask. Those are things you already need to pay for, but, understandably, will be paying more if you’re WFH full time. It’s a grey area because there’s no way to separate the “for work” utilities and the “for home” utilities.

    If this were only temporary WFH due to COVID, that list of things your company is willing to pay for may be smaller. The coworker with the headset- that may be the only thing she asked for. The company may be only willing to pay X amount per person, and only if it’s necessary items. (My company won’t buy us printers for temporary WFH, which kinda grinds my gears because it’s usually not so stingy with money.) If this is your case, I would say start by asking for what you really need and see how it goes. If the response is nothing but helpful, then you can maybe follow up with some of the other items you’re not sure about (e.g., chair).

  179. Hamburke*

    Before my current job, I worked from home as a 1099 (not sure it should have been but that’s long ago now) and before that, I had a craft business so I have a decent office set up. Additionally, my husband works 100% remote so the office is a separate room in our house. For my current job, I would remote in occasionally but I mostly worked in the office. When the lock down started, my boss asked what we needed. I took home a handful of supplies that I haven’t used up yet (pens, postit notes, highlighters, etc). My ancient desk chair broke while I was on a team meeting so I got a yoga ball for a chair and I picked up a desk calendar which I was missing from my office desk. I have paper sent to me although it’s stacking up since I don’t print a whole lot (we strive to be a paperless office but sometimes it’s just easier to work with a print out).

    The only thing that my husband provided was a desk and chair. They sent him all the computers and screens that he uses (he’s infosec – there’s like a laptop, a server and a second computer + a couple micro/mini computers involved here), printer and a starter pack of supplies. He orders whatever supplies he needs on the company card. He has a client that likes to be on camera, so he actually ordered a green screen and bought nice noise cancelling headphones.

  180. Raven_Smiles*

    When the entire organization went to wfh in March, we were told to take anything home with us that would help us, excluding chairs and standing desks. I already had a good office setup at home, so just operated as business as usual.

    But, outside of covid, the items provided for remote employees are pretty good. Cell phone, dual monitors, laptop, webcam, keyboard, mouse, docking station, headset, and printer if needed. The headset isn’t the best, and almost everyone on my team has purchased their own headset. Most of us travel, so many people make sure that the headset will work for them both at their home office and on the road. I know that some organizations buy chairs and some don’t, but perhaps your will. Our organization also pays for internet access for employees 50+ miles away from an in-person office. For the most part our offices aren’t in major cities, so 50ish miles is under an hour commute for people so I suspect that’s the reason for the 50+mile cut-off. Overall I’ve been pretty impressed with what they offer remote employees. It’s also really easy for me to order supplies (pen, paper, sticky notes) to get shipped to my house. So far no one’s raised an eyebrow about purchases, although I’ve only made one!

  181. MinnieK*

    I work for a healthcare system with 8000 employees, and in order to protect the healthcare workers on site, all non-clinical staff members are working remotely. I’ve been provided a laptop, a docking station, and headset and was offered additional monitors. We use a VOIP system for our phones, so now it just runs through my laptop, which is great because I don’t need a bunch of doctors calling me on my personal cell phone. I was already planning on “renovating” (Ikea-level renovating, not Restoration Hardware-level renovating) my tiny home office/guest room this year, so I had a budget already set aside for that and used it to update my desk, my shelving and storage, etc. I also bought a new personal computer with two monitors because mine was getting rather old and at the time, my organization was saying laptops were not in the budget. Of course, I ended up getting a work laptop 3 months later. I purchased, with my own funds, a dock and a switch that would work with both my work laptop and my personal computer so I can easily switch between the two. I probably could have asked for the company to buy one but it took me so long to find one that would work with my systems and I didn’t want to argue with an IT guy about it, so I considered it a gift to myself. My rule about reimbursements is – do I want to return this when I leave? If so, I feel free to request it from my company. Do I want to keep it when I leave? Then I pay with my own funds. My husband works for an engineering/surveying firm and they allowed him to switch to remote work before they made their official work from home because I have high risk medical issues. They made a package for him to pick up with his work computer, and chair, and some office items, and a small compass, with a little note “so you can find your way back to the office.” (Surveyors love compasses, it was very adorable.) Unfortunately, neither of our companies has offered a stipend for the internet access that we had to upgrade (imagine sending engineering files over VPN). But we are so thankful for the flexibility, and the fact that we’ve been able to maintain full time work status (including the regular COL raise for my husband in the spring) that I’m not really worried about it. But if it will be a financial hardship for you to upgrade internet access (or if you live in a rural area where it is just super expensive) then I think you should definitely negotiate for that.

  182. tech finance*

    My company has given us a $250 allowance for ergonomic equipment. We also can have things approved by our managers on an ad-hoc basis…I bought a reasonably priced set of wireless headphones so I could walk around while on calls I didn’t need to look at a screen for and my boss didn’t bat an eye. We were also allowed to take our monitors, keyboards, docking stations, etc. home.

    We don’t reimburse for internet, but our employees are all highly compensated and we’re a tech company in Silicon Valley…it would be highly, highly unusual for someone not to have sufficient home internet already.

  183. Alice*

    My department sent use all external monitors (my team all had laptops already) right away.
    Six months later, the larger organization is getting around to providing more tech on its traditional glacial schedule. End of July: request additional tech; now: no idea if the things I requested (which were approved) have been ordered. I’m moving at the end of September and I am starting to wonder if I need to go to the purchasing department and change the shipping address….
    What they haven’t been able to provide is consumable supplies — notebooks, for example. Apparently it’s just too complex to handle reimbursements and not allowed to ship directly to staff homes. It still grinds my gears a bit; it’s not the money but the fact that the systems and policies are so inflexible that leaders just throw up their hands and say “not possible.” The learned helplessness just rubs me the wrong way. But if a little bit of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is the worst part of my org, I’ll take it :)
    They won’t pay for chairs/desks, but they will let you take a chair home. They won’t let you take furniture that is too heavy for one person to lift, to avoid back injuries.
    What I would like, but don’t feel comfortable asking for, is a new computer with enough processor power to run the Zoom background tool.

  184. Beekeeping*

    When our office went remote, they gave everyone $250 to help furnish their home office space. $250 obviously doesn’t go that far if someone needs a whole new home office setup (but was appreciated), and some people also borrowed their monitors and desk chairs from the office to use at home until we return.

  185. BlueWolf*

    Our company provided two portable monitors, keyboard, and mouse in addition to the actual desktop that we took home. The original plan was that we would be going to the office only once or twice a week, so they wanted to make sure we would only need to bring our desktop back and forth to the office (the desktop is smaller than a laptop even). Of course, they ended up closing completely except for a small operations staff to handle mail and facilities needs. A couple months in, I asked to have one of my monitors from the office because the portable ones were a bit too small and made it harder to review documents effectively. They arranged for one of our operations team to bring my monitor down to me outside the building. I think they would also provide a headset, but I didn’t need one because I already had a basic pair of headphones with a built-in mic that works just fine. I haven’t tried asking for anything else, so I’m not sure what else they would be willing to provide.

  186. Jules the 3rd*

    My employer’s a fortune 500 tech co. I worked from home for a decade, then back in the office for a couple of years, then COVID and we’re all wfh.
    10 years ago, company paid an internet and phone stipend to encourage people to wfh. That cut off about six years ago, as broadband became common in our area.
    Now, the normal for our work to provide is:
    Laptop, chair, headphones, mouse, keyboard, monitor. Probably 2nd monitor for programmers. Tablets for sales / field people. High-quality internet meeting software (we do not zoom…)
    Not provided: Desk, internet, phone service, phone.
    We can BYOD on phones or tablets, but it has to have a security app.

  187. Indie*

    I am self – employed (incorporated), so my company paid for the entire home office. Only the laptop is provided by my client, although I also have my own. I know that the employees got a few hundred dollars stipend to furnish their home offices that could be used for anything office related while the company provided the small tech (laptop, mouse, keyboard, headset). From what understand, that money was enough to get a nice screen or a nice chair but not both.

  188. Lilly76*

    We were provided laptops in waves ~if you didn’t have your own equipment to use prior to being given one then you were required to come to work. I work for a local government department that is considered essential. They completed issuing all 800 laptops this week. They don’t provide internet stipends but there is cellular internet built into the laptop. Client facing staff received specific equipment to be able to provide telehealth services. We were allowed to order a mouse and a headset. No choice ~1 model for each. I only transitioned to wfh maybe a month ago because I lacked the equipment until they issued my laptop. I bought myself a external monitor for 80 and have zero regret as it made my life so much easier. If I was unable to wfh as effectively as on site I would have been required to return as we are essential services and exempt from everything.

  189. Jamberoo*

    We went remote first week of March, and the company allowed everyone to expense up to $300 in necessities, provided IT approved of each specific item first.

    We are now remote until June 2021, and have been given an additional $1k that may go toward the aforementioned, including internet and whatnot. Approvals are no longer needed, and we’ve been directed to be reasonable in our spending prior to applying for reimbursement.

    I was able to retrieve whatever I wanted from my office desk, but didn’t need to haul home my external monitor — a request to IT ended with me getting a new one shipped same week.

    I am extremely grateful (and a little embarrassed) by how much my company has done, haha. I also fear their generosity has gone to some people’s heads, like the guy who insisted our groceries should be expensed now that he’s not getting free breakfast and lunch from the office… or the guy who got into an email war over his demand that the company shell out for $1k+ ergonomic gaming computer chairs for all. Some people you cannot please no matter what.

    1. Jane*

      We had more than one person used to expensing evening meals when working in the office ask if they could expense their evening meal at home! For all the talk of savings from commuting costs, some of my colleagues who used to work ultra long hours and basically only pay for lunch and travel into work in the morning (breakfast, dinner, snacks, drinks, late night travel home provided by employer) are probably a bit worse off financially.

      1. Jamberoo*

        I retracted my comment about meals on another thread — others pointed out I was not being very thoughtful as to others’ situations, and I agree and apologize for it here too.

        The thousand dollar chairs, though — I stand firm!

  190. Sue D. O'Nym*

    Prior to Covid, I was working remotely usually 1-2 days a week. I already had a dual monitor setup for my personal PC, and when I started working remotely, I was able to find a spare docking station for my work laptop, and buy a cheap-but-functional KVM (Keyboard/Video/Mouse) switch, so I was equally functional on my work laptop. I also had an old USB headset that I unburied from a box at the bottom of the closet, and that’s been very helpful for taking calls. (Windows 10’s support for Bluetooth is abysmal)

    Also, immediately prior to Covid, my department completed a cube move and supply equalling effort after having several new people join our team. I managed to get 2 new monitors at the office. Then we all started working remotely. Some folks took their monitors home. I figured that it would only be short term, and I had 2 decent (but not as big) monitors at home already, and didn’t bring my new ones home. That, in hindsight, was a mistake.

    In mid June, my company announced a $300 reimbursement fund which we could use to buy other things we needed. I bought a new chair (the old one was causing back pain).

  191. Kate*

    This is a timely comment. My office hasn’t provide anything. My home computer died this week and I asked if there was a work computer I could bring home. The answer was a long winded no, so I ended up buying a new computer. I’m a little bitter though.

  192. Llama Wrangler*

    My employer has provided:
    -Laptops (though slowly and inconsistently until recently — they’ll either buy you a new, very cheap laptop that is a loaner, or contribute $150 for the purchase of your own laptop)
    -$20/month for internet
    -Up to $25 for the purchase of headphones

    I requested and received reimbursement for:
    -A cheap chair (<$50)
    -A cheap bluetooth keyboard

    I purchased on my own:
    -A desk
    -An upgraded chair (which I might return – not actually comfortable enough)

  193. Project Problem Solver*

    My role is fully remote. The company provides my laptop, monitor(s), headset, docking station, and keyboard and mouse. I didn’t actually ask about a chair, because I bought myself a gaming chair instead of a standard office chair because I wanted something better than, well, a standard office chair. They’d supply me a printer if I wanted one, but I’d have to go through hoops to get it and it’s not worth it to me. (I work in a highly regulated industry, and they rightly don’t want customer personal information floating around outside an office – this probably doesn’t apply if you aren’t in an industry that handles that sort of information.)

    In general, I wouldn’t expect the company to pay any of my utilities, though they did provide a VOIP phone. I do not, and haven’t been asked to, use my personal cell phone for work (see: personal customer information).

  194. CRM*

    My employer let folks come in to grab monitors and computers/laptops. If you had a standing desk in your office, you were allowed to take that home too. I also took home my docking station, power strip, and ethernet cable, and nobody batted an eye. They are being really weird about chairs though; they explicitly stated that we cannot take our office chairs, and I heard stories of folks being stopped by security while trying to bring chairs out of the building.

    They are providing us with a $250 stipend to purchase equipment for our home offices, and they offered to provide extra financial assistance towards a home setup to those who are the most in need, so I think most people have been able to get what they need. I would love to have the chair from my office though…

  195. catwhisperer*

    My company gave us two $1k payments (taxed) to purchase what we need and provided recommendations + links to companies offering discounts to company employees. They also provided us with free VC equipment separate from our laptops. If you were hired before COVID started, they gave us a week notice to come in to the office before it was closed to take home anything we needed from our existing desk set-up.

  196. Liz*

    We were allowed to take equipment home, as long as we told them what we were taking. For most of us, that meant big monitors, chairs, etc. For people who did not have an laptop already, they could borrow one. (Desktop machines had to stay in the office because of firewall rules based on IP addresses.)

    I took 2 monitors, my ergonomic keyboard and mouse, headset, my notebook and some office supplies (sticky notes, pencils) that I use for work all the time. I bought myself an office chair when they were on sale, because we’d be able to use it after all this, but I know some people took their chairs.

    They bought me a docking station for my laptop, and the necessary cables.

    Things work will not pay for: furniture, internet, utilities.

  197. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

    My employer has provided me with a desk phone that is mostly helpful and shackled me to a notebook that I don’t want.

    The others in my position were also provided a docking station/port replicator for their notebooks, but I was able to decline it on the grounds that I had an identical model left over from a personal notebook that had died several weeks or months earlier.

    Monitors, HIDs, chair, desk, et al, all came from my own pockets. No stipend/reimbursement–but I was hired as a remote from day 1 and was long remote before Covid.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I realize now I didn’t answer all the questions…

      So, readers who are working remotely, what have you asked for and received?

      I’m the avis rara that prefers to control the hardware, even at my own expense. I’ve always brought in trackballs at previous jobs (they spare my wrists) and until ~2½ years ago, provided my own cell and notebook for this job.

      What have you asked for and not received?

      What I wanted and didn’t get was to continue to work on my own hardware. Either by the company issued asset being a virtual computer, or a miniature tower or notebook, any of which I could log into remotely. The company issued hardware is… here, but it’s a poor compromise–too heavy, bulky and power needy to be mobile, too small and cramped for everyday use, and expensive. And I don’t have room for a second full desk to set it up independently, so it ends up crowded and complicating my family’s personal computing–which isn’t something I signed up for with this job.

  198. lobsterbot*

    Nothing. I’m using my home laptop on my home furniture. I have bought wireless earphones and a usb mouse to make things easier and a copy of MS office which I would not normally use at home. We’re supposed to get fully equipped laptops, but state procurement is slow and we’re very far down the priority list, so I don’t expect anything for a while yet. I’m grateful to be working from home and not have to visit my office and ride the bus and get exposed, and I’m happy my output at this level is considered ok, but man they’re lucky i had equipment that I could use, including a computer, printer and smartphone.

  199. tray table upright*

    I work for a government agency, and over 90% of our staff is currently working from home. We’ve been provided with computers. That’s it. If we had a work laptop we could use that, otherwise they shipped our desktop to us. (Side note, some of our desktops are not wifi enabled because of their age, so we were required to purchase an ethernet cable ourselves). We’re also not allowed to take our desk chairs from work unless they were purchased as a result of an ergonomic consultation. They won’t pay for required upgrades to our internet, or for the purchase of any additional technical supplies (external keyboard, laptop stands, bluetooth headsets, etc.) or ergonomic supplies (i.e. desk chairs).

    It’s been frustrating but not surprising, government-allotted budgets are always so tight.

  200. ThePear8*

    As an intern I might be in a bit of a different boat as far as getting things paid for, but I’ll chip in and say in order to be able to work remotely for my internship the company sent me a work computer – and rather than a standard intern laptop I actually was shipped a very nice, powerful tower since I needed to run some fairly heavy-duty software for the project I was working on. They only shipped the tower, but before they did they asked if I needed them to provide additional accessories like a monitor, keyboard and mouse – I had all those things so I declined, but it was nice to know they were willing to provide them. (although, I realized I don’t have a mic but have been using my phone to connect to audio in zoom meetings – we don’t use video in meetings so it’s worked just fine).
    And while it’s not work supplies, they also sent me a swag box that included a cloth mask and hand sanitizer which I thought was nice. They also recently sent all their employees boxes of healthy snacks from SnackNation, as a little “we’re thinking of you during quarantine” gift.

  201. Butterfly Counter*

    I work at a university that is not 90% online teaching.

    I couple of months ago, I requested a video camera for my home desktop. Suddenly, headsets and cameras were available to ALL faculty.

    Except now cameras are on back order and no one gets any. And I don’t need a headset.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I started applying for jobs toward the beginning of the year and started interviewing when things were really locking down due to COVID, and of course my personal laptop’s webcam doesn’t work. My work laptop had a webcam, but what kind of tacky monster uses their work laptop for video interviews with competitors??? But of course when COVID started meaning everyone was working from home there was a massive run on webcams and they’re sold out *everywhere*.

      So for the first few interviews I used my phone and constructed a ridiculous stand for it so it wasn’t looking up my nose, and then I finally found a webcam in stock, though at a higher price than I would normally have been willing to pay.

      The really frustrating part was that I actually HAD a webcam and I gave it to the charity shop when I cleaned out my desk last year because I thought I was never going to need it. OOPS.

  202. Tantallum99*

    Our company gives us nothing basically. We are not required to work from home, so their opinion is, if you don’t want to buy your own equipment and pay for your own internet, just come into the office (we are essential workers, so even though we CAN do our jobs from home, we are allowed to come in even under the pandemic restrictions). One department (who does 24/7 work) gets a laptop, desk phone, and a headset, but everyone else even has to use their own personal computers to connect. Forget about reimbursement for internet, chairs, etc.

  203. Wendy Darling*

    I have all my own WFH gear, other than a work-provided laptop, because my previous job was 100% remote and provided basically nothing — in theory you could request things but either your request would be denied or they’d send you the cheapest crap they could find, so the stuff was borderline unusable. I had some things from when I was a graduate student and did a ton of work at home, and bought other things (good chair, good keyboard, bluetooth headset) because the other option was to not have them and I’d rather pay out of pocket than go without because work wouldn’t shell out for them. (Especially the chair! My bad back unfortunately doesn’t care about my principles.) At least I got to keep them all when I left the job.

    My new job has been urging me to file a request if I need anything but I actually don’t. On the plus side I am a gadget nerd and I got to specifically choose every item on this desk other than my work laptop.

  204. old curmudgeon*

    I started out back in March using my personal laptop to remote in to my desktop computer at work, while sitting at my kitchen table in a straight kitchen chair. It was, um, suboptimal. I do some fairly complex work, and going from two large monitors to one small laptop monitor was problematic. I also was unable to use skype due to connectivity problems, lack of speakers and a non-functional microphone on my laptop. And by the end of the second day in a straight kitchen chair, I was so stove up that I had to get a phone consultation with my PT.

    My employer initially started out by sending me an inexpensive headset to use for skype. Not ideal, but a slight improvement over what I had before (which was nothing).

    I bought myself a task chair and a desk. I could have gotten permission to go back into the office to retrieve my task chair there, but it is not a great chair and I preferred to get my own. The desk was entirely up to me; my employer figures we can use whatever flat surface is available, which is not really wrong, I just figured that WFH was a good reason to finally get the desk I had been wanting. Other staff in my area have taken home their sit-stand desk attachments and their ergonomic keyboards from work.

    Once it became clear that WFH was going to continue for the foreseeable future (I’ve heard unofficial estimates ranging from April to June of next year for my employer), my grande boss rattled some cages among the leadership to get permission to buy each of us an employer-owned laptop, docking station, keyboard and other peripherals. When we each came in to pick up our equipment, we were strongly encouraged to take home our dual monitors as well, which I did.

    I still have the same cheap headset, but it definitely works better plugged into the docking station of my work laptop than it does plugged into the USB extension cord (I don’t know how else to describe it – my personal laptop has only one USB port, and this allows up to four things to be connected through that single port) on my own laptop.

    So, to sum up, no desk or chair, an inexpensive but functional headset, a new (non-fancy) laptop and peripherals, and my monitors from the office – which is really all I need to do my work. Some folks would likely find that setup inadequate, but it’s perfectly fine for me.

    Besides, I am fundamentally opposed to spending my employer’s money unnecessarily, because I work for a government entity and ultimately my true employer, the one who funds my paycheck, is the taxpayers. Since I am also a taxpayer and since it irks me to no end to see wasteful and abusive practices in government, I try to practice what I preach by spending the absolute minimum amount of taxpayer money that I need for the work I do. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    1. old curmudgeon*

      Oh, one other thing my employer is doing (doesn’t apply to me because I have internet at home) is to provide flip phones for use as wireless hotspots for any WFH employee who does not have internet. That costs my employer about $20K per month, but a lot of folks would be completely unable to work from home without that.

  205. Chickaletta*

    I brought home all my computer equipment, everyone did whether they had a tower or a laptop. Only extra equipment I needed was a webcam which I got. We’re allowed to take our chairs home but I didn’t need to. Employees without internet were provided it, but we don’t get upgrades (the whole system is strained, even employees with top of the line internet plans are having connectivity issues). Everyone also gets a one time $100 added to their paycheck to help with office supplies.

  206. Anne Elliot*

    I have a docking station/monitors/mouse/keyboard set-up at work for my Ford Model T laptop, and the same set-up at home for my personal Ford Model A laptop (newer model), which set up I bought myself for personal use with the personal laptop. But the Model T doesn’t dock to the Model A set-up, because the computer company changes the shape of the plugs/connectors to make you upgrade chargers and accessories every time you get a new computer. (Don’t get me started on what I think of that as a business practice.)

    My company agreed to upgrade my Ford Model T to a Ford Model A so that I could use my personal docking station and accessories with my work laptop. That’s worked great, and now that I’m back in the office they’ve upgraded my docking station here to a Ford Model A set-up as well. I’m very appreciative of that, because who knows where I’ll be working going forward and this way I can just un-dock the laptop and take it with me and the transition from office to home is very smooth.

    The only thing is that I have dual monitors at work but not at home. They said I could take one of my work monitors home if I wanted to but I haven’t bothered.

    1. Anne Elliot*

      Oh, and they also bought me a webcam for the office for videoconferencing, which is a lot of what I do now and I did almost none of it before. I bought one for myself for home.

  207. The Other Dawn*

    The company allowed us to take home our dual monitors, chair, keyboard, and mouse. Since I really needed a home office setup anyway, I brought home only my desk chair and asked for a second docking station (my work computer is a Surface with a docking station). For a while it wasn’t clear if we would be going into the office occasionally or not so I didn’t want to take my whole setup home with me, just in case I decide to go in from time to time (I have). I ended up buying my own sit/stand desk, a new chair, two big monitors, a keyboard, mouse, and mouse pad. Although the company would have reimbursed me for most of it, I chose to pay for it myself. My thinking is that if I ever leave the company I want to be able to keep my home office setup for the next job. I also don’t want to have to worry about damage to anything that I would have to pay for. Now I just need my home office to be finished. I’m currently working at the dining room table.

  208. It's the little things*

    We receive up to $1500 of reimbursement to purchase items for our home office (I am perm WFH, not COVID related). I used it to buy some office furniture (desk, credenza to put my printer etc), chair, printer, whiteboard, a box of paper, pens etc. My company already provides my laptop, monitor, and cellphone. I can order additional stationary type items as I need them.

    We are not allowed to have utilities reimbursed, so no wifi, desk phone, heating etc. The theory there is that there are other savings we make by not being the office, like commuting costs, parking, office clothing.

    We also cannot have items bought with the funds replaced, so if my printer went out, that would be on me – but anything bought with the reimbursement is also considered mine, so if I left the company, the printer would stay with me.

    1. It's the little things*

      oh and they will buy any employee a headset, you don’t have to be perm WFH for that

  209. Thankful for AAM*

    I work for a city. They wont approve work from home, in part bc they cannot provide equipment for everyone. And bc they cannot manage ppl in person so remote would not work.

    I am really unhappy that many of us can 100% do our jobs from home but are not allowed to bc they cannot provide a computer for everyone.

  210. Gallery Mouse*

    The company I work for has a global presence but is smaller than our direct competitors. Although we present well to clients and the public we also have ZERO budget for anything extra (think celebrating birthdays, work lunches or flowers when someone welcomes a child or passes away…none of that and a kitchen filled with aging cups and cutlery to boot). It’s actually depressing to think about and had I known any of this I might not have taken the job as morale is often low.

    We have provided nothing to our employees during this WFH time aside from the original laptops and work phones they were assigned at hire. Some do have a headset but they probably paid for that out of pocket.


  211. SOUPervisor*

    I’m at a medium sized company (30 employees) and we were all sent home with our desktop computers, phones, and a box full of whatever office supplies we might need. The phones are VoIP phones, so they don’t need a dedicated phone line. We also all had webcams purchased & shipped to us, since we didn’t have them initially. A lot of people in the office commuted by transit, so when we moved to WFH we could get all the equipment driven to our homes if we didn’t have a car. I brought my chair, but most people didn’t.

    One person did not have internet at home, so the company paid for the install, and I think someone else had the company pay for an upgrade, but that’s been case-by-case.

    New hires are told they are expected to have a dedicated place to work and internet access and have received a box full of all the necessary phone & computer equipment, a printout with assembly instruction, and the card with the contact information for the IT helpdesk on the Friday before a Monday start. So far there haven’t been any issues.

  212. L*

    Although due to my position I have a work laptop/keyboard/mouse, the day before my work county’s shelter in place order started (California) I ran in to grab my chair knowing I wasn’t going to work well with a dinky wooden old dining room chair as my 8 hours a day sitting space.

    Last month I was in to print out some things (our office is “closed” but we can go in and take care of some things if we want to; it’s a large building so the social distancing is extremely easy) and take care of some things my interim boss told me to take a ream of paper so I did… later.

    I did send a chatty e-mail to the COO/HR recently suggesting a stipend as we’re in the summer months now and everyone is probably running their A/C but I have heard nothing back.

    So tl; dr “nothing” although I have a suspicion if we asked our direct bosses on an individual basis we may get approved for small things.

  213. Emma*

    At first, we all thought this would be over a lot faster than how it turned out. We all brought our laptops, desk phones, and headsets home and for most people that was all we got. But last week, they announced that they would be reimbursing us for expenses related to setting a home office, up to $250. They’re including desks, chairs, monitors, and any expenses related to increasing internet speed.

  214. Fried Eggs*

    I just started a new job. We are working one day/week in the office and the rest at home. Only having 1/5 of the staff in the office on any given day makes distancing easier and basically isolates each team from the rest of the company.

    Company is purchasing one set of monitors/keyboard for me for the office, and one set for home. And sending me home with my home-office equipment in a taxi once it all arrives at the office.

  215. cheeky*

    My company is highly safety-oriented, so those who can work from home have been and will be until at least the end of the year. We are reimbursed for the use of our home internet and personal cell phones, we are able to expense equipment like external monitors and ergonomic equipment (mice, keyboards, etc.). If there’s a personal ergonomic need, we can arrange to bring home our desk chairs. We get individual ergonomics evaluations by professionals. Most of us have work laptops, and those who did not and were using desktop computers were assigned laptops.

  216. J!*

    We get a “technology allowance” every quarter that we are supposed to use for these type of work-related remote expenses. We’re not issued work cell phones but are expected to be available via cell, so it’s supposed to offset that sort of thing. But it’s also something that we get outright and don’t have to apply for reimbursement, so our organization leans on that benefit when we ask for stuff.

    I got a standing desk converter riser for my dining room table about a month into quarantine/work from home that has been super helpful. I also picked up a separate mouse and keyboard that I can plug into my laptop. (Without them when the screen is high enough to keep me from slouching, my hands are not in a great position for typing, and when my hands are at a comfortable height for typing the screen is too low.) All of that was covered by one of the four technology lump sums, so it worked out.

  217. itsame*

    My partner’s work already issues a laptop and headset to every employee for anywhere work use, and then a docking station with keyboard and mouse in the actual office. Folks were allowed to take things home or purchase equivalent items within reason (ex. reimbursing my partner ~$200 for his computer chair, partially paying our phone bill… I think they covered internet upgrades for a few folks that had potato quality internet, etc.)

  218. gilmoregirl*

    My company has been really incredible once we made the pivot from WFH. They’ve always provided us with laptops, but once WFH became the norm for the entire company, we each got a $1200 stipend, plus and additional $1400 stipend a few months later. They an online store for us to order any cables or extra devices we might need!

  219. lilsheba*

    This is a new job for me so I’m starting off working from home. They sent a tiny laptop but it works like a powerhouse, a nice huge monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse. I already had a chair I bought for my old job to work from home, except I got recruited for this before I could start that. I’m supposed to get a phone and I think a headset too. In the meantime I’m using my cellphone through a software phone portal they have setup.

  220. Tango*

    I work for one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world. In a child company, but still.
    – At a corporate level, users that would benefit from an external monitor, dock, mouse, and keyboard have been identified and arrangements made to get that equipment to them via a third-party supplier have been made.
    – We’ve recently been given a website we can sign up for that will allow us to order up to $25 of basic office supplies and up to $10 per month thereafter.
    – I just saw a link where we can get up to 25% off desk chairs, desk, and similar… but it’s still coming out of our pocket.
    – There is a limited reimbursement plan in place for internet (assuming you do not have internet through the employer), and I believe I saw something similar for people who are having to use their personal phones for work.
    – Ink and paper for personal printers is not considered a basic office supply and is not covered.

    The last I have mixed feelings about. My experience with this company is that people print a lot of things that don’t need to be printed because they find it easier to identify changes to be made on a hard copy – something I absolutely understand. But at not point can I think of anything we have to print. (I’m in IT, I almost never need to print in the office and have not needed to print at all since WFH began.)

  221. MyDogIsCalledBradlyPooper*

    Not much different than what others have said.

    1) Laptops were provided for those who did not already have them. Some people took their desktop monitors, keyboard, mice, headsets, webcams if they wanted.

    2) There were a handfull of users without Internet access at home. These users we provided with mifi devices.

    3) Arrangements were made with key suppliers if someone needed to upgrade their desk, chair etc at home. They would pay for these themselves but at our company discounted rate.

    4) All employees were setup with a telemedicine provider so they can do online dr appointments – this covers a wide range of services. This is one area where our company has gone above and beyond.

    5) A pilot group of employees were given access to udemy. A number of managers were looking for strategies for helping manage remote employees as we WFH was not generally done prior to the COVID-19 lock-downs.

    I have gone in a couple of times to gather some office supplies – notebooks, pads, pens etc. Not sure if my staff are doing that but I would support them if they are.

    We are starting to allow individuals to go back to the office and work if that works best for them. We are monitoring this so no more than 50% of the people are in the office on a given day.

    Interestingly my directs need to be on-site for a brief period of time next week. It will be the first time we will all be in the office on the same day. While we only need to be on-site for a 15 minute test/certification are appointments are spaced out enough that we may not see each other.

    I know the company is putting together a small care package for all employees at our site – cloth masks, disposable masks, hand sanitizer etc. But they are not arranging for delivery. It is up to each manager to pick-up and deliver or mail to all employees. While I like the gesture. Its going to be a headache as a manager.

    Still no word on when we will be required to be back in the office on a regular basis. I think we waiting to see what happens next week when the kids go back to school. Some of our other locations have already announced that they will be home until the end of the year.

    As a manager I was surprised how quickly my people adjusted to this. Our customers have not been impacted significantly. Some work had to be delayed while we got everything setup to work remotely. I think I was the one that had the most troubles working from home. There have been some days where I just needed to get away for my temporary desk and go for a walk

  222. Lizy*

    It’s hard to decide what to ask for and what not to ask for! I think it’s a matter of being prudent, honestly.

    At my previous job, I knew the CFO had no problem telling me “no” (and I had no problem hearing “no”), so I just basically asked for anything haha! I worked remotely for the last few months of that job. They provided me with a laptop, and I used my existing home monitor as a second screen. I did expense a wireless keyboard and mouse (and kept it after I wasn’t at that job anymore). The keyboard and mouse were pretty basic, so I didn’t feel bad about getting them when I knew I’d only need them for a couple of months.

    I’ve been at my new job since January, and honestly am spreading out purchases based on my personal preference and “needs”. For example, I got an ergo keyboard and mousepad ASAP, but have waited to get other things like a keyboard tray for under the desk. I’ve debated about asking for a new chair, but the one I have isn’t horrible, and I (accidentally) broke 2 monitors already and so I feel a little bad about asking for a big purchase like that. I might ask for one next year once I’ve been here for a hot minute.

  223. Ladycrim*

    I was given a laptop and the option to either use a company-supplied wifi hotspot or get a monthly $100 stipend on my internet bill. (I chose the stipend.) I wanted to take home my desk chair, but was told it would be a “liability issue”. I asked about getting reimbursed for buying one, but was met with a lot of hedging. I decided my back and hips were more important than my wallet in this case, and bought one myself. No regrets.

  224. L*

    My office has been amazing about this stuff; we brought our laptops home and still technically have access to the (empty) office for things like printing. But they also give us $50/month for Internet, cover our phone bills or provide a company cell phone, and have made it clear that we can ask for additional items when needed. I just got a desk chair and we can also ask for things like standing desks and external monitors (although they’ve been asking us to try to go into the office and grab those things when possible, since a lot of us already had them).

    My sister is in operations and said one of her employees asked for reimbursement for her air conditioning, which my sister thought was insane. I think the normal heating/cooling/electricity in your house is not standard to ask to be covered, but most other things seem to be fair game.

  225. Anon Even Though I'm Praising*

    -laptop, monitor, keyboard, mouse
    -printer for the very few who need one
    -$50 internet reimbursement
    -$50 phone reimbursement
    -$60 monthly (converted from a weekly in-office lunch perk) to spend on basically whatever we want

  226. Starting New Job in a few weeks*

    I am starting a new job in a few weeks that is all WFH right now. My current job is 50/50. At my current job, I have a laptop that docs to a big monitor when I am in the office and an iPhone. I wonder when I should ask my new employer about WFH equipment. Thoughts?

    1. Former Retail Manager*

      If you have accepted the position, I’d ask now. I’d reach out to your contact and inquire as to whether you will be working from home (maybe you already know that) and if you will be, are there actions that you need to take to obtain the necessary equipment? If they say they’ll ship it to you directly, I’d ask if that person knows what will be included. If there is something not mentioned, that you think you’ll need, I’d ask who you should contact and what that process looks like.

  227. A*

    I didn’t ask for anything on top of what I already had. I already had my work laptop, and my home office setup isn’t large enough for my multiple monitors so I didn’t need those. Could have taken my mouse and an external keyboard, but I don’t mind not having them.

    I know some of my colleagues have requested, and had approved, requests for ergonomic chairs or other accommodations. I don’t think my employer is covering minor office supplies, although I don’t know any that has asked.

    It helps that my employer has always had a flex WFH policy, so we all used to WFH at least one day a week and therefore already had our preferred setups. The policy states that the employee is responsible for at home office setup costs (unless it’s something unusual like a fax machine) unless the employee is fully remote. I’m sure there are exceptions, but its never really come up.

  228. Software Engineer*

    I asked for and received a nice headset for all the meetings I’m on. I was also able to have my IT equipment in my office packed up for me so I could do a curbside pickup.

  229. Ellis*

    One of the things this pandemic has really highlighted for me is how little my company does for us as employees. There are other signs of this, but I’ll try to stick to the on-topic aspects.

    We were all expected to shift very quickly from working full-time in an office to working at least partly (and in most cases, completely) from home, with no provision of anything: we are using our own computers, phones, chairs, etc. Those of us who were working partially from the office needed to use our phones as webcams to do our jobs from the office, as suddenly, everything was done via video and our work cameras didn’t have webcams on them. We are not permitted to let our clients know our private phone numbers, and so for several weeks were having to call clients from our personal phones with numbers blocked, which meant we weren’t actually able to talk to clients, as they are disinclined to answer blocked numbers.

    After a few weeks, a few people were provided with work cell phones: they are flip phones. That is the only supply/accommodation I have heard of anyone from my company receiving. All office-type equipment has had to stay in the office.

  230. cat on my foot*

    I started a new gig recently after losing one to the pandemic. I’m working in government, and they shipped the full laptop/dual monitor/hub setup to me so I didn’t even have to drive across town to pick it up. High speed internet is part of my lease and I had a workspace set up already, so I don’t if they are helping people who don’t.

    It was much easier to get new equipment remotely than it was in office! (last gig was also in state government)

  231. its just me*

    Our users connect to their work computers (and can literally use anything to do so, tablets, PCs, macs, laptops, phones) so we do not provide or pay for equipment or internet. We have purchased headsets, cameras etc for meetings etc. Our users are in / and out of the office and as long as distance can be maintained so are encouraged to work from home, but it isn’t mandatory. Our area is yellow and may be green soon so our risk is low. We have some users that don’t have a pc at home, don’t have a smart phone (so that they can do MFA ) so those users come in each day – we also have some users who could work from home that simply can’t for many reasons – so they still come in.

  232. Nacho*

    My company gave me a laptop and a headset (which I don’t use since my personal headphones work better). We also have USB to HDMI adaptors at the office we use to connect our laptops to our monitors, and I got permission to take mine home with me. They also gave everybody a small bonus to cover the cost of electricity and internet now that we’re working at home.

  233. (insert name here)*

    Most of the company was already set up to work from home as needed. The company just asked that if we brought home anything more than our laptop, to let accounting know for asset tracking.

    Most people had laptop, mouse, docking station, & monitor. Some may have brought home chairs, but mostly no. There were a couple personal printers or scanners that went home and anyone who had a nice headset brought it home. People who didn’t have a headset or needed an external webcam can request them from IT. We have permanent remote associates. If you’re local you are expected to go into the building to get your stuff, but they ship webcams or docking stations out of state.

    We all have standing desks at work. As far as I know, no one brought theirs home, but there has been some discussion of ordering newer, smaller, cheaper ones, or seeing how to get the big veridesk ones home, though that would require approval from your manager since they cost $300-$400. Also regular office supplies were available. Everyone’s desk phone also rings to their laptop, so you don’t need a phone unless you are in a job that puts you in the field and those people already had phones.

    I’m sure if my home printer or scanner broke they would find a way to get me a new one. If I told my boss I needed something, as long as it was reasonable, I’m trust that they would provide it, but i would have to make the 30 minute drive to go pick it up.

  234. Crystal*

    Our office is about 95% working from home and 5% in the office. We’re all Zoom all the time now. I couldn’t get my employer to spring for a $9 earbud-and-microphone combo for the one employee in the office full-time to join Zoom calls. I paid for it myself.

  235. Rez123*

    Our work place was very careful with wording of the wfh contract. It says we are allowed to work form home up to 5 days a week. With this phrasing they only have to provide us with a laptop. We could also take mouse/keyboard/headphones/monitors that were on our desks but then we would have to bring them back and forth if we came to print something in the office. If it is phraised that we can do remote work the they would have to provide a full set up.

  236. Former Retail Manager*

    My employer let us take home anything at the office from our cubicle that would make the job easier (monitor, desk chair, keyboard, etc.) and they also provide a laptop, paper, ink, printer, headset, etc. I think that I’d draw the line at asking for reimbursement or additional compensation due to heating or cooling costs as the transportation savings are likely to balance out. And even if they don’t balance out, it’s not really your employer’s issue if you want to keep your house like a meat locker in the summer or tropical beach in the winter or that you had to adjust from running your AC or heat at a drastically different level than you did before. I also think that the quality of technology and willingness of your employer to accommodate your ability to work from home is likely to correlate to the size and profitability of the organization. I wouldn’t expect a small business to have the ability to spring for much. And conversely, a large Fortune 500 company would likely do a decent job of getting you what you need.

    If you’re going in as a new hire, I think that most things are negotiable and I’d ask for what you think you’ll need and specifically ask what you’ll need to do if it turns out that you end up needing something else in the future that you didn’t foresee. Who should you talk to? Is there a dollar limitation?

  237. emmaline*

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry … we’ve been working from home since March, and the company has provided absolutely nothing.

  238. Pigeon*

    My employer made it very clear that they would not be providing or subsidizing any home office equipment, much less utilities. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, they are a global business that should be able to provide reasonable support as we transition to WFH (especially since they’re making a lot of noise about letting employees self-determine how they want to work in the future, subtly and not-so-subtly from some execs encouraging this to continue). On the other hand, our industry has been devastated by covid and it makes sense they will not spend a cent they don’t feel is absolutely necessary.

    Also in the balance is we’re all very well-paid professionals, and are already provided with laptops and often cell phones. So we have the basics and it shouldn’t (in theory) be a hardship for anyone to acquire necessary items for a work space at home. But everyone’s circumstances are different and I’m sure for some it was difficult. Personally I’ve spent several hundred dollars improving my office space, but I’m also in it for the long haul because I love working from home.

  239. Lisa*

    I bought a new laptop and an Ethernet cord to use. But it isn’t that fast. The tech people think it is adequate, but not a business speed computer. I’m an hourly worker, so if I now can’t get as much done because the computer is slower, do I work more to make up for it? Or do I figure that I paid for the computer, and f they want me to work faster, they can supply me with a better computer? I’ve worked many extra hours over the months, and paid for tech to make sure the laptop was running at top speed, but I’m pretty torn about doing more after a couple of incidents what I felt taken advantage of because of working from home. Still, I want to be ethical even when they aren’t.

  240. Phil*

    We had work from home long before COVID. At the time, our company had mainly desktop computers, so it was a BYO kind of thing for computers, with the understanding that work from home is a privilege. They switched to laptops about six months before COVID, because they were going to a hot desk setup (ugh), so it was easy enough to switch most people to work from home. They let us take home monitors, keyboards etc if needed.
    No mention has ever been made of paying for some or all internet or electricity bills, however, here in Australia they’ve allowed us to claim work from home expenses on tax for the ever-extending lock down period, either by documenting all expenses and work time thoroughly and claiming the exact amount, or by claiming a default amount per hours worked and just providing proof of hours worked (which can be as simple as a timesheet). If you work from home outside of COVID lockdown dates, it’s always been a thing that you can claim expenses via the first option.

  241. Kodamasa*

    Nothing. We were given basically nothing. We were expected to use our own computers, own supplies, own furniture, etc. After the first few months the extra strain on my aging computer literally blew it up; fried the power system. Only then did they “let” me bring home my computer. However that meant setting up an entire office set-up because it’s a giant iMac. So not only did I have to buy a new computer, I had to buy a desk, chair, etc and try and find a space in my tiny house that my dogs wouldn’t hit and knock over the iMac, which I then would be responsible for replacing. Honestly it has caused way more stress and resentment than I think they know. I work for a public university who’s experiencing drastic budget cuts, but I don’t think that’s entirely the reasons for this mess. I can see not helping with furniture and increased utilities; taxpayers get angry when state employees get basically anything. But work equipment? It wasn’t until I literally could not do my job that they did anything there.

  242. It's Me*

    I work on a digital team, so I already had a work laptop. After five months of working at home and potentially another five to go, my boss purchased a $60 office chair for me (it had to be under $100 so she could just get it without approval.) She also asked us to put together a list of other things we needed. I’m getting a mouse, a wireless keyboard, a monitor, a wifi booster, and an e-reader.

    We’ve asked that work pay some kind of utilities stipend, but thus far no go. I’d also like to ask if work would cover at least part of the expense of getting a new desk, because mine is falling apart, but I haven’t asked yet.

  243. zolk*

    Absolutely zilch. We can bring some equipment from the office home, but it requires a painful IT process that doesn’t take into account staff working (normally) in multiple buildings. Otherwise, no money for anything, no group discount on better internet, zilch.

  244. SS Express*

    My workplace generously allowed us to bring home our office equipment, but not our computers as they’re desktops and can’t be moved. I’m using my personal computer and my own phone, and claiming the related expenses as tax deductions. I don’t think I’d have much luck asking them to purchase anything for me.

    My husband’s workplace has laptops for everyone, and pretty much the day covid hit HR walked around giving everyone headphones to use with them and said “don’t come back until this is over”. They also reimbursed everyone up to $300 for office equipment if they needed it, and I reckon if he needed anything else they’d probably arrange it.

    Unsurprisingly my workplace has also been strict about having absolutely no distractions and maintaining the same level of productivity, whereas my husband’s zoom calls always involve appearances from several team members’ kids.

  245. Rara Avis*

    Took home my laptop and ergonomic setup (external keyboard and mouse.). Really wished I had a good chair at home. (Sitting on wooden dining chair.). Employer announced reimbursements of 50% (up to $300) for things needed for working at home. Two months later they decided to forgo receipts and just add $300 to everyone’s paycheck

  246. Pat mcg*

    I worked remotely for 12 years. At first, the company (a large financial institution) paid a stipend to cover high-speed Internet access, and provided all technology equipment. That got whittled down as time went on, until only computers, monitors and keyboards were provided.

  247. MoopySwarpet*

    We have had a handful of remote employees (prepandemic) that we’re also long distance. We paid for internet and cell phone and provided a computer, printer, and reasonable workstation requests. The main requirement for us was that equipment was returned when we parted ways. Furniture was not ever a part of that since desks and chairs are difficult and expensive to ship. We would not have paid any portion of rent or utilities. We also paid for normal office supplies (ink, paper, file folders, etc.)

    I am now working 98% remotely and my coworkers are working a variety of 50-99% remotely. I’m not sure what they’ve all done, but I absconded with an office chair because I did not have one at home. We are not being comped for internet and I was not previously being comped for phone so I still am not since this is supposed to be “temporary.” If/when I don’t need it, I’ll return the chair.

  248. JeanneM*

    I got a work laptop, that’s it. My department head wants to try to get us at least partially reimbursed for internet but I doubt that’ll happen. I work at a public library, so there really isn’t much else they could give or do for us. I think a few people got cell phones at some point and the switchboard operator brought her headset home.

    And some people in my department didn’t even get the laptop. Management only announced that we were closing about four hours in advance, and the IT guys weren’t able to get them set up for us until basically the last minute. So the people that either weren’t there at all that day or had already left didn’t get them and are using their own computers.

  249. Jessica C*

    We have closed our office and switched to 100% remote work. At first we had to leave most everything in the office, but now we’re being encouraged to take anything home that would be helpful.
    I brought home my desk. I bought an office chair, but I’m allowed to go get my office chair now. My boss bought me a headset. The people who needed them took home computers, but I bought my own as well as two monitors. I could have checked out monitors from work. Each quarter we get an “office extras” allowance ($100) for anything that would motivate us such as potted plants, office snacks, take ourselves out to lunch, etc. We also have a monthly office supply allowance for anything we really need to do our jobs such as pens, notebooks, and that sort of thing.

  250. A Manager Who Must Not Be Identified*

    Pre pandemic, I worked from home for about 2-3 hours a day, so I had most items already. Two monitors, docking station, keyboard, mouse, stand up/adjustable desk, cell phone, and a bluetooth headset (everything but the cell phone was a personal purchase). I also traveled a lot, so I had a mini mobile office in my backpack that went with me everywhere.

    My staff weren’t so well set up, and at first our company refused to provide anything other than their laptops and power cords. I quietly sent them home at the beginning of March with everything they could carry: monitors, docking stations, mouses, keyboards, chairs, headsets, adjustable desks (think Varidesk). I took a risk, but didn’t care: my employees were going through a pandemic, endured a huge system/IT change that was planned long ago, and had to work during our busiest time of year (even in the office, it’s 50+ hour weeks). The $500 each in equipment they took home was a small price to pay for a productive staff for what is now looking like at least 13 months out of the office.

    Months later, Company decided employees could take a lot of these items home, so whew… I was mostly off the hook. For some reason, they aren’t allowing chairs or headsets to go home, can’t figure that last one out.

    I’m still lobbying that we need to get them cell phones and webcams if they are to be fully effective for the next 6-9 months. Unlikely, but maybe I will find a way.

  251. Scott*

    My company provides laptops, a secondary screen, and let you take home your office chair. No complaints here.

  252. Silverose*

    I’m in a permanently remote position (not just due to COVID), client facing in the nonprofit sector. The company typically provides company laptops and cell phones. I was also given a mouse and a WiFi hotspot, but I am still waiting 3 months in for IT to activate the hotspot (and I’m not certain why they didn’t just include hotspot capability on the cell phone), so when I need internet in the field I connect to my personal phone’s hotspot briefly or to a public WiFi spot and just make sure I’m not accessing confidential files on the unsecured network; at home, we’re expected to use our personal internet. And because we sometimes transport clients, they provide car seats to staff who need them for work purposes. My position requires a LOT of driving so we also get mileage reimbursement at a decent rate so long as we turn in the form on time. For COVID, I can drop by the office and pick up disposable masks, sanitizer, disinfectant spray and wipes, etc, for use in my car and with clients. We can also print at the office, but we rarely need actual paper copies of anything.

  253. calonkat*

    State government employee. I bought an office chair/floor mat and headset w/mic. Already had sort of furniture. The agency provided my laptop and monitors. They probably would have supplied a headset, but I use it after hours on my computer, and I’d have felt guilty using one bought with taxpayer dollars.

    My daughter works for a for profit company that provided the laptop only. They may think about providing more, but most people working there are in a far higher income bracket, so they have professionally designed home offices already. I bought her a chair and she’s selecting a desk for long term professional and personal use.

  254. scmill*

    I retired 3 years ago but had been working from home the previous 10. When I moved from the office to my house, the company provided me with the same type chair I had in the office, a large monitor/keyboard/mouse attached to my notebook and a footrest. I just used my own printer since I rarely printed anything. They would have provided me with a desk, but I had a table I preferred that was the right height.

    For the first year or so, I just used my own wifi, but Charter started having major problems in my area and couldn’t get the problem fixed. I convinced my director to install a business line for me, and at that point, my Very Large Employer poked Charter with a cattle prod because they had contracted SLAs in place.

  255. Steve Lacey*

    I was able to take home all of my desk equipment except monitors (not standalone but intergrated into the desks) and the phone. On the way home, I stopped off at a the local equivalent of Best Buy and found the best monitor I could for under 100 eur, because I knew I couldn’t just work off one screen on my laptop. The following week, my company started to make arrangements for office chairs and monitors (a limited supply of those) for anyone who needed them, but I already had an office chair at home, so didn’t take them up on it.
    I regret that… after about 6 weeks, I developed really bad neck pain. I was working on my dining table, which was too low to get my legs under with my chair at its normal height. About the same time, one of the wheels broke. I ended up ordering a fairly expensive chair from Ikea with a high back and specific neck support, along with some plastic risers for the table legs to set it at a more agreeable height for sustained working. The neck pain disappeared, and all has been fine since.

  256. Random IT person on the internet*

    Given all of this (lockdown etc.) happened relatively quick – things like chairs/ tables were supplied by the employees themselves.
    But any other equipment (PC/laptop, headset, screen(s), keyboard, mouse) were supplied by the company (via myself).

    Of course, GETTING things like headsets etc. turned out to be a challenge – most suppliers were out of stock – except for the 400 dollar or more expensive wireless headsets – which weren`t within our budget (though, private purchase and then use for company purposes was not discouraged – just not reimbursed)

  257. Zaphod Beeblebrox*

    We were given a laptop, mouse etc and a mobile phone – our team has a dedicated phone line.
    We were allowed to take our chairs and any other bits & pieces that we wanted to.

    We were provided with expensive bluetooth headsets for the phones – turned out to be useless. I bought a £7 headset from Argos, which is much better!

  258. Serenity Gerbman*

    Our office (small non-profit) is giving staff a $100 a month stipend to cover any added costs of working from home for as long as we are remote. It is added to paycheck.

  259. Anne*

    I work for a big name you know company. I am 100% work from home. Company says tell us what you need. Direct manager says to not order anything or there will be repercussions. So I Paid out of pocket for everything.

  260. NotJennifer*

    Company keeps on asking if there is anything else I need, which make anxious lil’ me worry that there is something I’m not doing correctly, because why do they keep asking? (I am sure they are just asking to make sure. But it makes me question my existence every time.)

    My work needs are very low in terms of “stuff.” I have the minimal technology I need, a small desk set up, and prefer to use my own stuff for non-technology needs. In other words, one of my small pleasures in life is using fancy pens, which are wasted on the run of the mill notepads from work, so I use my own little notebooks too. And don’t need sticky notes at home, since it turns out I have no spontaneous conversations that require me to remind myself of stuff later. All those conversations take place online, or in planned meetings where I can write up notes before I forget, eliminating the colony of post-it notes that used to live around the edges of my monitor.

    Basically at this point I think a lot of us feel like a brain in a jar. Dear employer, just change my brain water regularly, and please don’t break the jar?

  261. RabbitRabbit*

    I brought my work second monitor home on 3/12 and have been WFH ever since. My manager reached out to us not long ago to ask if we had other needs, and I will be getting a work laptop. They can’t offer us compensation for home office chairs but did say I could bring my very nice HermanMiller chair home – unfortunately it’s too bulky to fit in my car, so I had a much less nice chair delivered that I paid for myself.

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      They also said we could order office supplies like before but would have to come into work to pick them up, so I am probably going to pass on that.

  262. GradBoss*

    My company actually gave me more than I needed. Obviously a computer, a large monitor a printer but also a headset that I never use and keyboard and mouse that I don’t need. We let employees take their desk chairs home but we had a field rep who asked for us to buy her a chair and we denied it because then we were just going to have all of these chairs that the company owned after the fact.

  263. Elfin*

    I’m a remote worker by default – one of the good things about the rest of the office now WFH is that I see them more (on zoom) and there was a team audit on what we needed, equipment wise. We already have a WFH supplement (not much, but still!) that supports things like heat & light, and they’ve upgraded internet for one person. I asked for and got a new webcam so that I can do better quality conference presentations & training, and they’ve supplied various team members with laptop stands, etc. They’re pretty good with this stuff, quite grateful.

  264. fancypance*

    I have asked for nothing, because I think it’s super unlikely to happen. Our business is event-adjacent, and with no events happening, our revenues are down by 90%. I’m surprised I haven’t been furloughed. I took a ream of paper home for my printer, and some pencils and paper. Otherwise, I am using my personal computer, mouse, phone, everything.

  265. Erin*

    My boyfriend and I work for two very different orgs of the same giant company.

    I was given my laptop/additional screen/keyboard/mouse. I purchased a desk/chair 3 weeks into lockdown bc I couldn’t handle the discomfort.

    My boyfriend took his laptop/2 screens/a chair/keyboard. He has expensed headphones and I believe his desk.

    The company is saving a tidy sum on utilities and supplies like soap/TP since we have all been extended to WFH through at least January.

    We live in a small 1 bedroom apt in a high cost of living city. We currently pay 3700 per month for rent. We really want to move out of the area and get a bigger place to create a decent work/life balance. And it would be wonderful have actual dedicated spaces for our offices that are not staring at us when we are having dinner, but, the company has only approved one of us to do that (no idea on that part). So, we are staying put and just absorbing the extra costs associated with being home 24-7.

  266. Miri*

    My company reimbursed us for buying keyboards, monitors, mice and headphones, up to £150 per person. This meant we could buy what suited our home spaces, although did have to deal with the logistics of finding tech in stock ourselves (which was not always easy in the early days!)

  267. xandra*

    Man, as a teacher, seeing these comments from folks in the private sector makes me jealous! No internet/phone reimbursement (we are expected to have our desk phones forwarded to our personal phones, Google Voice isn’t a district approved option) and definitely no budget or reimbursement for work from home supplies, even though we will on be on video with students every day, for six hours a day.

    1. Lavender Menace*

      The way that we’ve treated educators through this pandemic has been truly awful in an astonishing way to me, even as we demand that they learn how to teach online and marshal all the resources for that (often at the last minute, when the district changes tacks and decides to do remote after all). I work at a tech company that makes, among other things, educational software – and I keep saying “in a global pandemic, can’t at least 25% of us take some work time to help all the schools figure out how to get their kids and teachers up and running?”

  268. Rebecca*

    I’ve been working from home since March. My employer has expected me to use my personal computer and printer for work. I’m only getting reimbursed for printer ink and paper, although I’m still waiting for the reimbursement to come through. I’m an hourly employee working for a law firm. (100-150 employees) I’m concerned about the wear and tear on my personal laptop and the fact that if it breaks I’ll have to purchase a new laptop to be able to do my work.

  269. Never Sleeping Beauty*

    My company was already remote before the pandemic. They provide a laptop and when I first started I received an office phone and headset with lifter (the phone connected to my modem so I didn’t need a landline). That went kaput a couple months back and I was offered a new phone but since it takes up so much space and we mostly just use Teams for calling now I opted to just get a wireless computer headset and if I need to make calls I use my computer soft phone or the Vonage app on my cell. The company will pay for other equipment as needed; you just need to submit an expense report or request. And they offer a small stipend for ergonomic equipment.

  270. mb*

    I already had an employer-provided laptop. After a couple months of work-from-home, I was able to go into the building to get my monitor and chair.

  271. GSK*

    I was a remote worker BEFORE the pandemic hit. My employer reimburses me $50 a month for internet, and $50 a month for cell phone use. They provide my laptop, dual monitors, docking station, keyboard, mouse, speaker, and headset.

    I purchased my own office chair/office mat and use my own desk.

  272. Elizabeth Bennet*

    Just adding my experience for the record…

    At the time of the shelter-in-place order, nothing was offered to aid in WFH, except tech support to get you connected from home via LogMeIn. A few months later, I was offered the arrangement to WFH permanently, and the terms laid forth very much made it clear that this arrangement was for my benefit, not theirs, and therefore not only were Internet and cell phone services required, I would not receive any reimbursement for those expenses. I asked for a work computer, and monitors, and received my work setup – my PC, two large monitors with stands, my soft phone with headset, and (at my in-person request from the IT guy), a wireless keyboard/mouse and a power strip with surge protection.

  273. Lolo*

    I work for a large, well-known consumer goods company. Our org provides laptops and cell phones, and if you want to take your monitors home you can, but they have not provided anything else during COVID times. No office furniture for home, they don’t pay for internet, and no reimbursement if we use our personal printers. (Our office is technically open in a Phase 1 status, so that means no one is going in on a regular basis. People go in to print docs or ship samples as needed.)

  274. Heffalump*

    My employer has provided what I need, which wasn’t much. They provided a laptop, which I use to remote in to my work desktop. I have dual monitors at work, and I took one home. I have to work on-site occasionally, and I wouldn’t have room for the 2nd monitor at home anyway.

    The video port on the laptop is different from the one on the desktop, so I bought and expensed a suitable cable. I found it hard to type on the laptop, so I expensed a $20 refurbished Logitech keyboard on Amazon. I already had a satisfactory chair at home.

  275. CRK*

    When this whole mess started, I quickly bought myself a new chair and desk. I didn’t ask for reimbursement on it because I was planning on getting one anyways. They provided me with a laptop, monitor, mouse, keyboard, and some small office supplies. The laptop was already in the works, the other bits are what I asked for when they told us to consider what we needed. Other coworkers have gotten things like printers or even just printer ink, depending on what they need to get things done. One of my co-workers got a folding screen to give him a clean background for video calls, since he does a lot of them.

    In my opinion, the company should be actively asking what you need, and you should limit it to what you need and wouldn’t be buying anyways. When I said “I don’t have a home office set up” to my manager, she had a bunch of things for me to consider.

    If I were taking a new job right now, I’m pretty sure I would ask at the point where we were talking about compensation, and just ask what help is avaliable for setting up a home office.

  276. Kenny*

    Nothing, just a new interim position offer you have to sign saying you’ll provide your own equipment.

  277. Anon for this*

    My company has a general fitness fund that most employees can opt for as a benefit; what they decided to do was expand the list of things you could buy with that fund to include ergonomic furniture. I used it to purchase a headset an ergonomic chair. At the time, I thought it was great; in hindsight, I realized that I was now forced to spend my fitness benefit on the company’s cost of doing business. I know, first-world problems, but still. (We all already receive company laptops.)

    I’m in management in my job and I’m trying to push our leadership team to make this a real benefit and pay for WFH setups for our team, now that we’re all working from home longer than we originally anticipated. Personally, I think we should be subsidizing wifi and paying for a desk, headset, chair, and ergo keyboard and mouse for everyone. The wifi is probably unrealistic but I’m getting some traction on most of the rest.

  278. tiny moon*

    We’re closing our HQ permanently and our workforce is going from 25% remote to 100%. Our remote employees always got a $300 home office expense reimbursement, plus laptop, dock, and headset; we’ve been bumped up to $600 lifetime reimbursement and a monthly internet stipend. Those of us who are close to the home office also got to take home pretty much anything we wanted—chairs, monitors, etc—but are expected to return them when we leave the company. We’re a tech nonprofit in a small to medium sized city, and I think our leadership have been very thoughtful in their planning.

  279. Vlad*

    My company is being *extremely* supportive in terms of equipment (or at least it feels that way to me): 1. A generous one-time stipend for office furniture, ergonomics, and other work environment items; 2. Ongoing monetary support for any technical equipment (laptops, etc.); 3. Reimbursement of a fraction of our Internet bill!

  280. Rhoda Morgenstern*

    I’m in Outside Sales. I expense $50/month for internet and $75/month for my cell phone. It was an option to have work provide me with a cell phone but I opted for this instead. Work gave me an iPad and they pay for the service, in addition to my laptop. And I have a company car. This spring they gave everyone (including those like me who normally work from home) a $350 stipend for things like office furniture and extra electricity and internet costs. I also have a very nice company backpack, and I expense paper and toner. I expect when my printer dies for my work to replace it, even though I originally purchased it.

  281. Lauren Mohr*

    All I can say is WOW to all the generous companies that supported their employees with an office setup — especially desks and chairs! Please appreciate that.

    Our company “allowed” to use our existing laptop computers to work from home, along with your mouse and keyboard, if you thought to bring it with you before the office closed without warning to comply with state COVID guidelines. Anything else was explicitly forbidden. No purchases to support your WFH environment would be approved, and if you needed upgraded internet access, that was on your dime. An email was sent to all employees outlining the rules for working from home, along with a reminder that standard work hours and lunch breaks were to be followed as if you were still in the office.

  282. You’re Terrible, Muriel*

    Wanna chime in with the excellent experience I’ve had to prove good employers do exist!!

    Throughout the craziness, I’ve been extremely lucky throughout the pandemic both with my secure employment, supportive management and colleagues but also the unexpectedly generous attitude of my (UK, publicly funded) employer.

    We got the order to work from home in March and didn’t get a chance to take much but mouses and our laptops home (especially if you don’t drive like me) there wasn’t even a question over the equipment we’d need to work from home: the department was going to allow us to claim expenses and we would not be unexpected to pay out of pocket for them. We already have work laptops and phones and within two weeks of remote working for the first time we had guidance encouraging us to purchase what we needed, up to set cost limits per item that were more than enough- I got a desk, a chair, and a monitor (and related cables) like was the only things I really needed to be comfortable at home but there were other things that the department had approved like headsets, keyboards and even desk fans.

    Even when I moved back to work from my parents house temporarily (took my laptop and new monitor but that was it) and I felt a little cheeky asking for a second chair to be expenses for me -I literally put it to my manager in those terms when I asked- nobody quibbled about it in the slightest.

    My employer is also giving us a small contribution each month towards WFH expenses like wifi and electricity – not enough to cover it really but it was backdated to the start of March and given how other employers will quibble over a headset or a chair, the willingness to acknowledge the extra expense and contribute /something/ is so appreciated.

    Even though I still hate WFH, it’s made an enormous difference to the experience and I’m so grateful to my employer for it. I realise that in some ways this is just praising them for the bare minimum decent thing that all employers should do but knowing how other employees are treated – even in similar workplaces to mine- I’m really grateful.

    Nobody in my life could believe that my employer was willing to pay for our equipment and WFH expenses so readily, but honestly it didn’t even seem to occur to them not to, there was literally never a question or a fight to be had about it- they just did it. Which is really astounding to me. It gives me a lot of loyalty to them for showing us that they do actually value our wellbeing.

  283. Deborah*

    I just changed jobs, moving from a hybrid IT and customer service position to a fully IT role. My first day at the new company while I was still filling out paperwork with HR, the desktop support guy brought me a laptop. Later I got a brand new mouse, keyboard and headset from him too. I’m working in the office, but I guess they just plan on making it possible to work from home at any time (I don’t have an actual PC, just the laptop). Most of my co-workers are remote, and they have taken home everything up to and including monitors and literal desk phones (the cloud phone system allows your work phone number to ring to an app on your cell phone, or an app on your computer, or the handset.

    The company I left only grudgingly allowed working from home, only for a short time, and people did things like buying their own monitors and desk chairs and even mouse to take into the office.

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