Should businesses pay employees for home internet?
The telework cost burden
Working remotely has become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic. As organizations grapple with bringing workers back into the office or continuing remote work, I wonder if employee sentiment towards footing the bill for telework has changed?
Before the pandemic workers depended on company-provided internet at corporate offices to do work. Generally, corporate office internet is a more high-end bandwidth connection that comes with IT specialists support. Today, remote workers sometimes find that home or public internet options are not as dependable as company-provided internet. Telework connectivity issues can plague end-users and drain worker productivity. Some issues might require hardware and/or Internet service upgrades increasing telework costs.
AppNeta published its "Future of the Internet Outlook" survey of more than 1,000 adults across the United States exploring internet service expectations and remote workforce sentiment. The survey asked respondents if they had experienced issues with home internet connections? The survey found that slow loading times of websites to be the top complaint at 49% while video calls freezing and service outages coming in at 34% and 35%. Interestingly, 19% listed challenges around paying for internet connectivity.
According to the survey, 79% of respondents say they pay for their home internet. More than a third believe their employer should be paying for home internet if it is used for work purposes. Respondents say that COVID-19 has not changed their opinion on who should pay for home internet costs and of those who believe that the employer should pay, 26% believe employers should pay some of the bill, 40% believe employers should pay the full bill and 34% believe a routine stipend should be provided to cover costs.
As telework continues to expand, businesses may have to look at setting up plans with internet providers for internet connectivity services that can extend into the home. As 5G, public WiFi, and other fast internet connectivity options continue to gain traction, maybe we will see more companies providing telework and home internet coverage as a perk.