My former employer had a policy of not covering telecommuting user’s home internet service. They felt all employees would have broadband internet anyway, and it was therefore not necessary to cover it as an additional expense. This seemed a bit rigid. What about the handful of employees who did not have home broadband? Or who relied on cellular service for internet? It is also important to note that these weren’t voluntary telecommuters either. They were simply not offered office space, and in some cases had office space taken away and were sent to work from home.
Over the last few years, it became somewhat more palatable to potential telecommuters as broadband really has become ubiquitous. But we’re now being faced with a new problem, bandwidth caps. I pay for home broadband service, and its reasonable to think that I would. I was happy to allow business traffic to go over my broadband service when it was an unlimited resource. Unfortunately, it isn’t anymore. It’s finite. I’m going to be bouncing off this cap regularly. We pay for home internet access, we should be allowed and able to use our home broadband to it’s fullest extent. So I don’t feel bad bouncing near the cap with frequent Netflix/Hulu usage. But how will my employer feel about me being unable to work because my internet has been shut off? My employer didn’t pay for it. And now that my employer is using up a finite resource, shouldn’t they pitch in? Eating the Cherios was fine when I had an unlimited supply of Cherios. But now I have to pay for every box, and it doesn’t sit nearly as well.
I’m hoping others run into this problem soon, so we can have a larger discussion about bandwidth caps, telecommuting, and what everyone’s role is.