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FAQ – Work Supplies When Working Remotely

April 20, 2020

  1. What are work supplies?
    Work supplies are goods that are used and often used up in the performance of work. Work supplies include utilities, internet access, printing paper, pencils, pens, staples, notepads, scissors, binders, equipment, computers, printers and software.
  2. Do I need to use my own supplies in order to perform my work remotely?
    Likely yes. Performing work from a remote location such as your house means that you are effectively paying for the utilities, internet access, and possibly some of the other inputs necessary to perform your job remotely.
    As provided in our telecommuting policy, University Policy 4:16, personnel working remotely are required to provide their own utility service. The university will provide the supplies it can, in order to support your work. But as the policy indicates, where university supplies are not or cannot be provided, you will need to provide your own supplies.
    All applicable SDBOR and university policies govern the use of:
    1. Personal supplies, when and while used for performing work for the University; and  
    2. *University supplies, at all times.
      These policies include a general prohibition on personal or non-University-business use of such property.
  3. How do I obtain University resources to use for my work?
    Contact your supervisor. Describe your particular supply needs. Specify how those supplies are needed to accomplish your remote job tasks. Indicate whether you are aware of supplies that are available in your department for such use. In short, keep the lines of communication open. Supplies may need replenishment or new needs may arise, making it critical to communicate proactively.
    If you are interested in obtaining a cell phone stipend because of additional, personal cell phone use for University business brought on by the COVID-19 response, review University Policy 5:13 and fill out the linked “Request for Cell Phone Stipend or State-Owned Cell Phone” form.
  4. How will I know what work supplies I need?
    Look to the essential functions of your position—specifically those essential functions you can perform remotely. What do you need in order to accomplish them? Those are the supplies that you should seek from the University, if you do not have them already. You should always look to the university first before paying for supplies out of your own pocket.
  5. Will I be reimbursed for the use of my own supplies in my remote work?
    We have no expectation for reimbursement for using our personal supplies in performing our work, as provided in University Policy 4:16.  That is why it is important that you engage your supervisor to see what supplies can be provided by the university first.
    From our remote work location, we are only tasked with performing those duties that can be performed remotely. Most of these duties do not require large amounts of, or sophisticated types of, supplies. Only obtain what you absolutely need.
    Lastly, note that you may receive beneficial tax treatment for supplies purchased for your work. Please consult a personal tax professional for more information.