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An important decision to make when planning a Telework Program is whether or not to provide equipment to some or all teleworkers. There are pros and cons to either approach. Primary considerations are cost, control, and productivity. Although these issues go beyond the IT department, the telework planning team will look to the IT executive or manager for guidance on this decision. See links to the right for other information in the toolkit.

Some of the factors to weigh in deciding whether or not to provide company-owned equipment include:

  • The type of work performed by individual teleworkers.
  • The sensitivity of data handled by teleworkers.
  • Where teleworkers work (home, on the road, etc.)
  • How frequently employees will be teleworking.
  • Whether or not equipment can be shared by teleworkers (e.g. checking out laptops on telework days).
  • Whether all teleworkers can use the same type of equipment or if different equipment is needed by different teleworkers.
  • The cost of equipment and the cost of IT support.

The organization's position on equipment should be clearly spelled out in the telework policy and codified in any agreements made with individual teleworkers.

Equipment that may be provided and supported can include one or more of the following:

  • Desktop or thin client computing device
  • Laptop (may or may not include a docking station, keyboard, mouse or monitor)
  • Tablet PC
  • Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
  • Phone
  • Phone Headset
  • Cell Phone
  • UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply - to protect against brownouts, power surges & power failures)
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Fax
  • Copier

If the organization decides to provide equipment, alway maintain an accurate inventory and other records. You should always know where equipment is and when it was most recently updated or serviced. The policy should include provisions for the return of equipment should the employee quit teleworking or leave the organization.

Another consideration is equipment installation and servicing. There are various options. Some organizations prefer to have their IT department install and test equipment, and at the same time verify the home office is a safe operating environment. Other organizations will leave this up to the employee. Some organizations require that the employee return equipment to the IT department for servicing or upgrades; others will make house calls.

In the Toolkit

Equipment Decisions

Determine Employee Outfitting Costs Form (pdf)

Determine Employee Outfitting Costs Template (word)


On the Web

Decision Matrix for Purchase of Equipment

UPS on Wikipedia

Thin Client on Wikipedia

Thin Client Computing and Teleworking

About the Telework Pilot Project

Site Map

Search only teleworktoolkit.com

This page was last updated on June 5, 2009