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Equipment to help you work from home

14 Jan 2021

As we are now back in lockdown many of us continue to work from home

We know from What works? that some colleagues don’t have the right equipment to do this, so here are two new ways to get hold of items to help you work from home:

Purchasing items

From Thursday, 14 January 2021 staff will be able to ask their line manager and local budget holder if they can purchase items up to the value of £50 to help them work from home.  Items may include things like footrests, keyboards, a mouse etc.  You must gain approval from your budget holder before making any purchases.  You can use the usual expenses process to claim back what you have agreed can be spent using the reference: ‘Small items for working from home’.  Please bear in mind before making a request to your budget holder that they will have to fund any equipment from existing budgets so they may not always be able to approve your request.  It will also not be possible for staff who have purchased and paid for small items themselves prior to 14 January 2021 to retrospectively claim for these through the expenses process. 

Office furniture

The University’s Furniture Store has invested in new supplies of recycled office desks and chairs – please visit the StaffNet site or email for more information.  If you require an item from the Furniture Store please speak with your line manager first to gain their approval before contacting the Furniture Store directly.  If the Furniture Store can supply the item you will have to arrange collection from campus, taking into consideration the current national restrictions on travel and our coming on to campus guidance.  If you are unable to go to the Furniture Store to collect items you should speak to your line manager who may agree to fund delivery of items to your home.

Household expenses

Colleagues can make a claim for household expenses in the form of income tax relief through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).   Details about this tax relief and how to claim it are available on the HMRC website.

Laptops and IT equipment

Since March 2020, IT Services has delivered more than 1,000 laptops to staff working from home, and to students under the HelpMeGetOnline scheme.  This is a massive achievement and thanks go to all colleagues involved in making this happen.

Demand for devices to support working from home is still very high. While IT Services has a stock of standard Windows 10 laptops, requests which involve ordering new equipment are taking at least six weeks to arrive, due to a global shortage of laptops and supply chain issues. Lead times are even longer for Apple devices and higher specification laptops, which can lead to significant delays in getting IT equipment to staff.

It’s important that all laptops are requested and provided through IT Services to ensure that they are fit for purpose, secure and supported.

To help, temporary staff have joined the IT Services equipment deployment team to ensure that when laptops do arrive from the supplier they can be prepared for use and reach staff who need them more quickly.

Improving processes

At the beginning of COVID-19, IT Services was asked to put in place an emergency laptop loan service and prioritise getting these to business critical areas of the University. It’s recognised that the current process was introduced at speed to support what was expected to be a short-term arrangement and that this now needs to change. Therefore, the approach to supplying IT equipment is changing over the next few weeks as follows:

  • All staff will be able to request a device that meets their standard needs. We will no longer expect staff to use their own personal devices.
  • Where a more advanced device is required, eg; to carry out a research project or conduct complex data analysis, then the uplifted cost should be met locally by the Faculty or department. Revised IT equipment catalogues will be developed to support this.
  • Once a request for a device is approved by the Faculty or department, IT Services will prioritise deployment using the following criteria:
  1. Broken or damaged devices that need fixing;
  2. New starters/returners without devices;
  3. Devices not fit for purpose. 
  • When a colleague leaves the University, their manager is responsible for recovering all devices and returning them to IT Services for redeployment. If the device is not returned to IT Services the cost of a replacement, eg for a new starter, will need to be funded by the Faculty or department.
  • Requests for monitors and other accessories over £50 which cannot be purchased using the expenses system as outlined at the beginning of this message, should always be requested via the local requisitioning team in your Faculty or department. IT Services do not usually provide or fund these. Local requisitioning teams should refer to the current guidance on purchasing and payments for goods and services.
  • All requests for devices must be submitted via the IT Support Portal or by phoning the IT Support Centre – details including links to the appropriate forms can be found on the IT Services website.

NB: IT Services are currently working through the changes and amending processes. It is anticipated that the new arrangements will be ready in the next few weeks. For the latest information please visit the IT Services website