Home Button

About Telework For Teleworkers For Managers For Organizations Technology Resources

For Organizations

Intent of Telework

Management Concerns

Building a Telework Program

Define Management Support

Assemble a Program Team

Determine Program Goals

Employee & Work Suitability

Workplace & Legal Issues

Policies & Forms

Equipment Decisions


Manager Participation

Telework Coordinator

Program Communication


Manager Evaluations


Some experts claim that employers shouldn't expect a telework program to succeed unless it provides employees with the same tools at home that they have at the office. That’s true if the expectation is for employees to be able to do everything at home that they do at the office. So providing the “right” tools really means providing those that allow teleworkers to meet expectations. Additionally, tools required to telework may be minimal for employees that telework only occasionally, while those that telework frequently may need a complete home-office setup. Of course the organization will have to consider cost, but first think about need, particularly in terms of telework program goals. Here are a few things to consider when making decisions about equipment:

Security Requirements
Network Access
Internet Connectivity
Other Devices
Office Furniture
Office Supplies

Security Requirements: How sensitive is the data that teleworkers may need to access or work with from a remote location? Working with sensitive data does not necessarily preclude an employee from telework. It just means that appropriate security precautions must be in place.

... back to top

Scalability: How many employees will be teleworking this year, next year, five years from now? As the number of teleworkers increases so may the need for bandwidth. When first starting out with only a few teleworkers, an organization may not need to provide them with access to the corporate network. Eventually, when a larger number of employees are working from home, access to tools and data on the corporate network and more sophisticated networking may be essential.

... back to top

Computers: If employees use their home computer, the employer has no control over what other software is in the computer, what is being uploaded or downloaded, or how other family members may be using it. Probably the most an employer can do is require current anti-virus software and frequent backups. Employers who are not comfortable with this usually purchase computers for their employees.

If the employee uses one computer at home and another one at work, it may be necessary to purchase software licenses for each. This usually isn’t a consideration if the employee carries a laptop back and forth. Although laptops are usually more expensive, this may be a better solution. Laptops may be either dedicated to a single employee (probably one that telework’s frequently), or they may be shared; e.g. checked-out by employees who will be teleworking.

... back to top

Software: Things to consider are licensing and software version compatibility. Employers that do not use an office network may want to consider software for teleworkers that allows them to swap files between their office and home machines.

... back to top

Network Access: This allows a teleworker to connect to the office network, usually via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which gives the home computer access to the organization’s network over a secure Internet connection. When employees are connected in this way they may have access to all the information at home that they would have at work, which can enhance the potential for teleworker productivity. Employees who are not able to access the corporate network or web-based tools and applications, may not be as productive. They will most likely rely on email or portable storage devices, like flash drives, to move files back and forth between the office and home. If they forget files that they need at home, they may have to ask coworkers to email what they need.

... back to top

Internet Connectivity: Some employees have work that requires a great deal of time on the Internet, making a high-speed connection essential. Some employers require that employees provide this while other employers are willing to pay for it. Some employers couple it with VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to provide a low-cost telephone service with the same connection.

... back to top

Telephones: For employees that will be making and receiving client calls from the home office, the employers may want to install a separate telephone line or have a home-office phone connected to to the organization's central phone system. Some employers provide cell phones or PDAs. On the other hand, if employees seldom use the telephone for work, or only telework occasionally, their own home phone may be all that is required. As with computer connectivity, there are numerous vendors offering solutions. The decision of what level of telephone connectivity to supply will also depend on the size of your organization and the number of teleworkers, and the number anticipated. Organizations may want to discuss options with their current vendor.

... back to top

Other Devices: Will the teleworker need other equipment, like a printer or fax machine? Since printers don’t have the same security considerations as computers, employers are often content to let employees use their own. Some employers will provide paper or cover the cost of ink or toner. It’s one more consideration in forming a telework policy. If employers want the employee to have web conferencing capability, a webcam will be required.

... back to top

Office Furniture: Few employers provide office furniture to the home worker. The most common exception is for an office chair. For health and safety reasons, some employers require that teleworkers have an ergonomically designed office chair. Since these chairs are often more expensive than typical office chairs, the employer may provide the chair or reimburse some or all of the cost.

... back to top

Office Supplies: Employers typically provide printer paper, pens, pencils, post-it-notes and other small office supplies. Some employers purchase gift cards from office supply stores that teleworkers can use for supplies.

... back to top

Tools, equipment, and security are discussed in greater detail in the toolkit's Technology Section.

In the Toolkit

Equipment & Tools

Determine Employee Outfitting Costs Form (pdf)

Determine Employee Outfitting Costs Form (word)


On the Web

This will contain links to related information on the Internet

About the Telework Pilot Project

Site Map

Search only teleworktoolkit.com

This page was last updated on May 23, 2009