Guidelines on Providing Equipment for Working Remotely

Find guidance from Human Resources and other areas in handling requests for equipment and supplies from employees who are working hybrid or remote schedules.


  • Because the Department, Lab, Center, and Institute (DLCI)'s budget must pay for these expenses, administrators should use their departmental spending guidelines when reviewing/approving purchases.
  • For research funded areas, DLCIs may not purchase equipment for remote work using grant/contract funds unless such purchases are explicitly budgeted and approved in the award agreement.


Usually provided by DLCI

  • Computer (with MIT-licensed software, Microsoft Office, and other standard MIT software packages)
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Cables
  • Headset (for phone and/or computer)

Provided by DLCI for remote work when needed for particular role

  • Printer
  • External monitor (for those working on laptops)
  • Docking station
  • Whiteboard
  • Noise-canceling headphones

Not paid for or reimbursed by DLCI

  • Home internet connection (whether ongoing service, upgraded service, or new service)
  • Upgraded cell phone; costs of cell phone
  • Increased utility expenses
  • Purchase of an air conditioner

Office supplies

Office supplies are usually not provided by the DLCI, but DLCIs may choose to provide:

  • Printer supplies such as paper and cartridges
  • Paper, pens, stickies, etc.    

DLCIs that provide supplies may consider a dollar allowance for supplies, or a numerical limit on number of items (such as the number of cartridges), since these items can also be used for personal reasons.  

Technical support

  • DLCI and/or IS&T provides technical support for MIT-owned technology
    • MIT does not generally provide support for personally owned equipment, even if used for MIT work

Office furniture and equipment  

Generally, MIT does not provide office furniture for remote work. Exceptions made by some DLCIs include office chairs, laptop stands, or standing desk converters (height-adjustable desk stands) for employees working remotely, to address ergonomic concerns. The DLCI may require the employee to have a remote home workstation review and assessment with EHS before any purchase is approved. As noted, where an DLCI provides a sum of money to employees to defray expenses of remote work, the employee may choose to use that sum for office furniture or equipment.

Vice President for Finance (VPF) Guidance

Certain MIT-owned equipment must be tagged by the Property Office and logged in its database, whether that equipment is on-site or remote. VPF is providing guidance regarding MIT property used off-site and offers DLCIs a template email request to DLCI staff and inventory form for logging all MIT-owned off-site equipment. VPF also offers guidance for department administrators and staff on purchasing work-related items that are shipped to an employee's home. See Guidance for Purchasing and Tracking Items Shipped to Employee Homes for Remote Work on the VPF website.

Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Guidance

Working remotely from home can cause ergonomic issues if workstations are not appropriately set up. EHS has developed an Ergonomics page with many helpful materials, including a self-assessment tool and some tips that do not require the purchase of equipment. EHS also provides group training for DLCIs by request. A remote home workstation ergonomic review and assessment may be requested through the Ergonomic Evaluation website.

Human Resources Guidance

  • Where MIT requires or encourages remote work, the DLCI should, at its cost, provide the basic technology and technical support to do the job. See Technology, Technical Support, and Related Items above.
  • DLCIs will generally provide a computer (preferably a laptop), keyboard, and mouse at the DLCI's expense. In some cases, a printer and printing supplies (toner and paper) may also be a necessity.
    • These items may be equipment that the employee was using at work and has taken home, or may be new equipment purchased by MIT and shipped to the employee's home. If there is equipment in the workplace that the employee wishes to take home, they should contact their DLCI about access and logistics.
  • Equipment and technical support provided by the DLCI should be provided uniformly to similarly situated staff. 
  • The DLCI may find it helpful to maintain a log of all MIT-owned equipment being used off-site for remote work. See Vice President for Finance (VPF) Guidance above.
    • Note that MIT-owned property is covered by Institute insurance at replacement value. This insurance has a $1,000 deductible, which the DLCI must pay. 
  • MIT-owned equipment must generally be returned to MIT at the end of employment.
  • If an employee requests specific equipment or furniture as an accommodation for a disability, please consult with the Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office. The cost of any accommodation is paid by the DLCI.