What felt like a temporary laptop-at-the-kitchen-table setup has become permanent — 42% of the U.S. workforce is working from home full-time. In the same survey by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), 65% of Americans reported not having sufficient internet service for workable video calls.
But before you break the bank for better internet speed consider that some employers are footing the bill for these setup costs. Shopify and Twitter both announced that remote employees will receive $1,000 for setting up a home office, while Chegg pays the monthly internet bill for its remote workers (along with $500 for other setups.)
Biron Clark, former executive recruiter and founder at CareerSidekick.com, assured us that, “Companies are saving quite a bit of money by having employees work from home (on office space, supplies, electricity, and more). So workers shouldn’t be shy about asking for financial help in setting up a productive, efficient home office. It’s appropriate to ask for an employer to pay for a desk, monitors, and any other equipment required to perform your job at a high level.”
6 items you can ask to expense
When setting up your home office, you can ask your employer for specific items or a general stipend. If you’ve already purchased some essentials, you can keep receipts and ask for a reimbursement.
- Internet. You can request your employer to pay for a portion of your internet connection if it’s essential for your job and especially if you’ve had to upgrade the package for a sufficient connection while working.
- Desk and chair. An ergonomic desk and chair can be essential for sustaining long days of work. If you don’t have a place to sit and work, it’s a reasonable request.
- Computer and/or monitor. Most workplaces provide their employees with a company computer. You can also request a second screen if it would improve your productivity.
- Headset/mic. Ask for this if your job involves a lot of phone calls or video conferencing, and you need something more extensive than your computer audio.
- Wifi router/VPN. You may need to upgrade your networking equipment if you work with security-sensitive information or suffer from laggy internet.
- Software. If you need access to Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite to do your job, your company should fund that subscription.
Make the case for productivity
Make sure you can tie the item directly to your contribution to the company. Managers don’t want to see a negative impact on morale and work quality because you have to work from home, so they’ll probably be open to your request. Make it easy for them to agree by presenting a strong case for what you need.
Clark says, “Avoid talking about personal factors like debt and stick to business-related reasons. You’ll get better results if you present your request in terms of how it will make you more productive or efficient for the company.”
Mention what you’re accustomed to at work and describe the office set up you currently have at home. You can speak to the physical factors of working long hours for prolonged periods of time without an ergonomic set up. Or you can cite times when you’ve had trouble tuning in to a meeting because of your internet connection.
Be open to creative solutions
There are a few ways your company can help with your transition to working from home. They could purchase and ship your equipment themselves, or maybe they give you a one-time stipend to set up as you see fit. Perhaps they can give you an allowance for a portion of your internet bill. If providing funding for a home office set up isn’t on the table, maybe suggest they let you take home some of the equipment you used in your physical office — like a chair, monitor or desk.
Too long, didn’t read?
If you find yourself working from home for the unforeseeable future, it’s imperative to have a home office setup that is conducive to productivity. If you need to purchase things to create that, it’s reasonable to request assistance from your employer. Many companies are struggling financially right now, so be reasonable with your requests and consider what you would have been provided in your employe’s office.
- How to Adjust to Work-From-Home Life
- Will This Working from Home Period Change the Future of Many Jobs?
- Your Pandemic Budget: How to Save for Another 12 Months
We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.