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Should a business pay overhead costs for home workers?

10

Nov

2009

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When a busi­ness moves employ­ees into home­work­ers, should the busi­ness pass on a pro­por­tion of its over­head cost sav­ings to make up for the increased facil­i­ties use at home?

This is one in Minutecoach’s LinkedIn Q&A Best Answers series, widened out and rewrit­ten for those not on LinkedIn. If you’d like to read the orig­i­nal, you can use the link at the end of the article.

There is no moral imper­a­tive for a busi­ness to do this, just busi­ness com­mon sense and ‘perks’.

Some com­pa­nies who offer home-working toward the high end (sales reps, man­agers, etc.) will pro­vide a tele­phone line, broad­band con­nec­tion, printer, portable dock or home com­puter, VOIP/virtual switch­board etc. because these tools are cen­tral to the busi­ness oper­a­tion and the busi­ness needs to con­trol and pos­si­bly audit usage, secu­rity, expo­sure, call track­ing, etc.

Other busi­nesses at the low end (call check­ers, some home tele­sales, etc.) expect their out-workers to have infra­struc­ture in place, so adverts typ­i­cally read “…must have broadband.”

Rea­son­able expec­ta­tions for start­ing homeworking

Were I being selected for home work­ing, I would be upset if the com­pany did not make allowances or arrange­ment for the increased phone bill and would expect them not to mess with my cur­rent domes­tic line but put a new one in. It would be great if they paid to upgrade my broad­band con­nec­tion, or install one if I didn’t have it, and I would expect them to pro­vide any phys­i­cal tools (printer, hubs, wiring, wire­less router, etc.) I needed to do my job.

I’d be sur­prised, delighted (prac­ti­cally aston­ished) if they offered to pay £10 per week towards my extra costs of being at home. Cur­rently most peo­ple are only too grate­ful for the oppor­tu­nity to be at home part of the week, and the busi­ness knows that.

By way of con­text, if you were the direc­tor of your own com­pany in the UK, you could claim for all this extra use with­out even putting in any evi­dence, as long as it is not for fixed costs like coun­cil tax, rent, insur­ance, etc. Yes, you too could claim £3 per week, no ques­tions asked…

Orig­i­nal LinkedIn Question

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