One of the most memorable aspects of my first day at TWL was finding the CAD computer wasn’t ready, going home and bringing my in own. It was only for a day or two and, coming from life as a contractor, supplying a computer wasn’t a big deal. That was more than a decade ago, and TWL IT is now rather more organised than it was back then, but a recent news article brought it to mind.
It seems to be a trend that started with cars. I remember contracting for a company where, between my monthly visits, they changed from a fleet of “which colour, because the model is set by your “status”, Toyota do you want?”, to a “car park motor show” of brands and models. The change happened as they scrapped company cars, replacing them with Salary adjustments, subsidised loans and a mileage allowance for company use. Free from the corporate fleet scheme people went out and got the vehicle they wanted, needed, desired.
Now some companies are taking the same approach with IT and it’s web based, cross platform applications or desktop virtualisation that enables it. You like a Mac, use a Mac, I prefer a PC, I’ll use a PC and choose whatever operating system seems best. Variety of hardware is one thing but allowing employees to use their own is another. Technical support is one aspect but probably the easiest. There are business & employment considerations that I think could be more complex. I wonder how well company, and country, contract/employment requirements will handle it?
There are likely to be some things a company can do with respect to capital equipment that an employee (who is not a contractor) can’t. It will depend on your country, state if you have them, tax & employment regulations but as a salary/wage employee:
- Can you depreciate your computer?
- Do you get sales tax refund for the purchase?
- Would any ‘corporate purchase” discount apply?
- If compensation is offered, what about Fringe Benefit Tax (if that applies)
- Some tax schemes may require commercial/personal use to be measured. How do you do that? PC’s don’t have odometers so the vehicle mileage analogy can’t apply!
Apart from financial there are other aspects like;
- Does a “personal computer” warrantee apply for commercial use?
- What happens when your machine dies. You supplied the computer and you can’t work…?
- Insurance, especially for mobile computers, could be interesting…
- It’s your PC, but what about application licenses? Probably not a problem while you’re working but if you create personal data with corporate apps on your machine, what happens if you leave? Do you buy all the applications?
"..everyone works differently. For some, a standard computer or laptop is just the right tool to get their work done. For others, a computer with a little something extra – a different operating system, custom hardware, more memory, etc. – is the best fit for their job."
If that’s really the case, why doesn’t the employer just provide the best fit for their job?
Are you doing this now? Would you consider it? I’m interested in your thoughts, either comment on the post or email (link in the R/H column) if you don’t want to share in a public forum.