Half of remote workers say they won’t get reimbursed for home office gear

Big items that remote workers want their bosses to pay for are sit/stand desks, ergonomic chairs and new computer monitors. (Procurify)

Only half of remote workers expect to get reimbursed for work from home (WFH) office supplies and gear such as  stand-up desks, ergonomic chairs and new computer monitors, according to an April survey of 600 workers.

 Procurify, a Canadian procurement management software company with customers in 100 countries, conducted the survey among a random sample of 600 people currently working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey found that 47% said their employers have not offered to cover the cost of supplies the workers said they need.  A total of 41% believe they won’t be reimbursed promptly for WFH expenses.

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Of the 600, 32% had not ever worked from home prior to COVID-19, and another 46% said they are having a hard time focusing on work.

When asked what equipment and supplies would make the most significant improvement to their home office, the upgrades they requested in order of priority were: a sit/stand desk (18%), an ergonomic chair (15.7%), a new computer monitor (14.6%), headphones (11.5%), a printer (9.6%), a laptop stand (9%), a wireless keyboard and mouse (7%), and a Keurig coffee maker (6%).

The survey found that 76% of people enjoy working from home but Procurify said employers could do more to help create a productive environment.

“Although budgets are tight for many companies, businesses should consider how they can help their teams to create the most comfortable and effective environment for their workforce,” Procurify said in an unsigned blog. “Whether that means granting a limited budget for the essentials or sending new ergonomic chairs to the whole team is a decision each company will have to make on their own, but the data is clear that employees are in need of additional support.”

Procurify set up an online contest to award home office upgrades to those working from home. For every entry received, Procurify said it will donate $10 to Conquer COVID-19, a charity to provide protective gear to first responders.

Many tech companies have been sponsoring WFH initiatives for years, but the level of reimbursement for home office equipment and supplies varies widely. Dell Technologies  began its WFH concept a decade ago and now has 90% of its 167,000 workers globally working from home.

Dell has estimated about 700 million computers are used in the commercial sector, not including computers used in the public sector or by children in schools.  Of that number, about 25% are used by remote workers and those who travel heavily.

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COVID-19 has boosted the importance of WFH and some analysts believe companies will institute a pandemic plan for future disease outbreaks. Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, estimated a 35% increase in the amount of time a typical employee works from home after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

“It stands to reason that a much higher percentage of the workforce will remain at home, even after the pandemic has passed,” Procurify said.

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