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Buying equipment for staff working from home?

What options are available regarding equipment for staff to use at home that will later be unneeded?

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With home working looking to be required for quite sometime I am somewhat concerned about the ergonomics of the workstations that staff may have available to them.  Some staff may have suitable workstations already but others may be working in kitchens, lounges or bedrooms using regular household chairs, which might be fine for the odd day a week, but I am concerned about on longer term basis.

I don't think it is going to be practical to send the chairs or desks from the office to them and obviously when things return to normal we are not going to want a bunch of extra office equipment.  This are the possibilities I have thought of so far, any thoughts about these?  Any other good options worth considering?

Purchase equipment for staff and sell second hand later to recoup some of the cost

Purchase equipment for staff, then after we return to office working those who wish to keep the equipment, can do so paying tax on the 2nd hand value

Staff to purchase what they want (after being advised of our risk assessment) and claim the cost against taxes directly with HMRC

 

Replies (16)

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RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2020 10:41

"Staff to purchase what they want (after being advised of our risk assessment) and claim the cost against taxes directly with HMRC"

So the staff are buying all this stuff you're telling them they need ?

Very generous.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By Duggimon
19th Mar 2020 10:48

I think that's only one of a number of potential options, and is one that is unlikely to be a goer.

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Replying to Duggimon:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2020 10:59

Duggimon wrote:

I think that's only one of a number of potential options, and is one that is unlikely to be a goer.

I'm reading it as the staff claim the cost as an expense, thereby standing (probably) 80% themselves. Even if it's accepted as wholly, exclusively and necessarily, a point on which I have my doubts.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
By Duggimon
19th Mar 2020 12:33

He hasn't numbered his list, but the last three lines are his three alternative suggestions. At least that's how I read it.

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Replying to Duggimon:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2020 12:50

OK - well, I still say Option 3 is a free ride for the company and a cost for the employee.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Simpleton2
19th Mar 2020 19:44

Yes true, but we are already a not for profit and will be taking an instant hit of a fifth of our income from having to cancel all our upcoming events, and I expect there is worse to come, so I am not certain what lee way we are going to have beyond absolute requirements.

I expect some employees given the choice may prefer to go get something a little fancier, and if I can advise them on ways to reduce the cost of this I'd like to be able to. Does anyone know if this is actually the correct reading of the regulations here? The HMRC guidance https://www.gov.uk/tax-relief-for-employees/buying-other-equipment starts by talking about employees claiming annual investment allowance, if you follow the link there it takes you to the full page about claiming AIA, but if you follow the link there about claiming AIA for employees it takes you back to the first page. What is the actual process here?

I know at least one member of staff who has purchased a new laptop for the purposes of working from home, would this also be claimable?

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Replying to Simpleton2:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2020 20:15

Simpleton2 wrote:

I know at least one member of staff who has purchased a new laptop for the purposes of working from home, would this also be claimable?

Will they ever use it for nonbusiness stuff?

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Simpleton2
19th Mar 2020 20:27

Almost certainly they will use it for some other personal tasks, but they didn't previously own a laptop and purchased this one after I told them to prepare for an extended period of homeworking, so would that be incidental?

Presuming they made purchase solely for business reasons what would the treatment be?

Does this change if say after 3 months they no longer have the same business reason because we are able to return to the office and now primarily uses the machine for personal reasons?

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By Duggimon
19th Mar 2020 10:53

I'm not sure that the health and safety aspect of their own homes and seating arrangements therein are your responsibility as the employer, even if the home working is imposed upon them.

I would think, therefore, that if you still want to ensure their comfort and good working practices, it is on you to make the purchases and accept the returned furniture when all this blows over, or sell it to your staff at market value. I don't think you can tell staff to buy their own furniture from your approved list.

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Replying to Duggimon:
By Tim Vane
19th Mar 2020 12:04

Duggimon wrote:

I'm not sure that the health and safety aspect of their own homes and seating arrangements therein are your responsibility as the employer, even if the home working is imposed upon them.

The employer has a duty of care wherever the workplace.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
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By Accountant A
15th Jun 2020 20:34

0]y

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Replying to Duggimon:
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By Simpleton2
19th Mar 2020 20:19

Thanks, I expect you are probably right and if staff were buying their own equipment it would be more so they might be able to purchase something fancier or in a style they prefer. Either way I don't have the budgetary authority in this matter, so before I take this to the director in charge I do want to be quite certain what full range of options are.

I have just found that ACAS have released a document about coronavirus and homeworking, https://www.acas.org.uk/working-from-home

I believe it makes it clear that health safety of their homes are very much our responsibility if we are requiring homeworking, and it appears to imply employers should provide the equipment though not with total clarity.

Are there any other sensible options to consider?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Simpleton2:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2020 23:12

Simpleton2 wrote:

Thanks, I expect you are probably right and if staff were buying their own equipment it would be more so they might be able to purchase something fancier or in a style they prefer. Either way I don't have the budgetary authority in this matter, so before I take this to the director in charge I do want to be quite certain what full range of options are.

I have just found that ACAS have released a document about coronavirus and homeworking, https://www.acas.org.uk/working-from-home

I believe it makes it clear that health safety of their homes are very much our responsibility if we are requiring homeworking, and it appears to imply employers should provide the equipment though not with total clarity.

Are there any other sensible options to consider?


Budgetary authority? Option 3 has a budget of £0.00.
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Replying to Simpleton2:
RLI
By lionofludesch
19th Mar 2020 23:13

Duplicate

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By mbee1
19th Mar 2020 13:13

Why just make home working an option now? If it works why not give them the option to work from home on one or two days a week permanently?

It's only our admin staff that can't work from home and we've already geared them up to be able to do so, particularly as they all have children and are affected by the schools closing. We've supplied them all they need to be able to work apart from furniture as this will only be a short term measure (hopefully).

All our other staff have been able to work form home for a number of years and we supply a laptop, work mobile and, if necessary, the furniture. Normally, we like everyone of them to be in the office for two or three days a week but these are unusual times and attendance in the office is only one day on a rota basis, which works out about once a fortnight or so. This will be reviewed as necessary and depending upon Government advice.

Health and safety is an aspect you must consider wherever they're working. I think you're being extremely mean spirited in these unusual circumstances.

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Replying to mbee1:
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By Simpleton2
19th Mar 2020 19:57

Thanks I appreciate your concern.

The option to work from home has existed previously and many staff do so, usually however for just one day a week. But now our nearest station has been closed and the building our offices are in is shuttered with only emergency access, so all employees are required to work from home 5 days a week.

Given experiences elsewhere I am preparing for us to be in this situation for a minimum of 3 months. So I think we need to go about having proper workstations set up, quite beyond what is okay for the odd day here and there. The actual practicalities of setting this up however are bound to vary enormously based on each persons individual home circumstances so I would like to have the largest range of options possible to approach this. Any suggestions you have for making this transition easier for our staff would be greatly appreciated.

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