“Just recently, I saw a CIO at a major firm talking with some peers at a CIO conference about her idea that a firm should not pay for wireless broadband for workers that telecommute because they are saving commuting expenses,” he says.
Hugh says this attitude misses the point. Although it is true employees do benefit somewhat when working from home (less commuting, better time management, etc), the employer also gains in less office space, less office running expenses, happier and more productive employees.
“I have been working on some usage numbers and I have found that employees do much less business calling if they need to pay for it themselves. They make 2.5 hours less of business calls in a month compared with employees who have their phone bill paid by the employer.
“I say congratulations Mr Cheap business manager, you have saved about $30 a month, but lost 2.5hours of productivity.”
Australian salary packaging company SmartSalary which helps employees structure their pay to take advantage of work expenses and tax breaks, indicates the buy-your-own practice is less popular here than in the US.
“The number of employees packaging phones in their salaries has always been low here. Traditionally Australian employers have always provided phones for their workers,” says David Adler, chief marketing officer.
Some workers were packaging laptops last year, but new legislation introduced in May now requires only equipment used 'primarily for business purposes' be included. Adler thus expects the number of employees who pay for their own work laptops to stay low.