Two out of three employees suddenly working from home are not well-supported by their employers, at least not with their technology.
Among the largest US employers, 18.6 million employees working at home are doing so without a work PC. This is almost half (47%) of all US work-at-home employees without a work PC. Pre-pandemic, firms with 1,000 or more employees provided 20.6 million of their employees with at least one work desktop or notebook PC. This measure is based on our TUP/Technology User Profile 2019 wave with 3,935 employed respondents. As of April 15, 2015, 30.3 million online American employees are still working for these large companies with 1,000 or more employees. Of these, 11.7 million employees are working from home with a work PC.
Most employees are effectively subsidizing their employers by using their own personal home PCs, tablets, or working at home without any computing device.
Large companies aren’t the only ones not supporting employees’ technology needs. Midsize companies have 13.6 million employees working at home without a work PC. Midsize companies (50 to 999 employees) have fewer employees (32.9 million nationwide) than large companies, of which 21.6 million were working from home as of April 15th, 2020.
While smaller in total number, small companies have the highest share of work-at-home employees without a work PC. Their 7.4 million work-at-home employees without a work PC are more than twice as many as their 3.1 million working at home with an employer-provided PC.
While employees are still employed and working at home, they must have the resources they need to get their work done. Employees who already had an employer-provided PC ostensibly need one while they’re working from home.
Larger firms are more likely to have IT/IS departments and computing infrastructure and support built around the physical workplace. Most smaller companies need the same capabilities, and if they’re not in-house resources, they rely on a multitude of consultants and VARs/VADs. While remote workers are not a new phenomenon for employers of any size, hardly any were ready for the recent rapid shift due to the pandemic.
Long before the pandemic, employers have relied on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), where employees pay for many of their own devices – from PCs to smartphones. I expect the sudden work-at-home shift to inspire some employers to better provide for their employees. Besides building goodwill, this will benefit employers by having a more consistent set of configurations to manage, which will, in turn, help employees to be more productive and will reduce employer’s support needs. However, based on experience, I expect inertia to continue – with most employers relying on employees to foot the bill for their at-home work technology and its support.
MetaFacts conducted independent research to gather the results used in this TUPdate. This TUPdate included results from the April 15th, 2020 wave of the MetaFacts Work From Home Study, the third weekly wave of a special MetaFacts Pulse Survey study focused on the quickly changing situation. This wave included responses from 396 employees working at home.
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