Employee-Owned PCs at Work: How’s It Going?

We’ve been hearing frequent debates about whether it’s safe,
sensible, and ultimately workable to let employees use their own personal
computers as their work systems. In an increasingly mobile and cloud-based technology
environment, the questions are becoming ever more urgent.

IT Business Edge
has gone
into the trenches
, visiting Carfax and
interviewing its CTO, Gary Lee, to find out how its program,
which involves about 30 percent of its 500 workers, is going. It’s a
revealing look at what works well and where the challenges lie. Lee says:

We’ve allowed
employees to purchase PCs for a while now, essentially providing an
interest-free loan so they can update their personal PCs. So we think it’ll be
an easy transition. Friday afternoons are personal development time for our
developers. They go off and try new things, so they do downloads we wouldn’t
let them do on a Carfax PC. They bring their machines into the development
center. When it’s a non-Carfax device and they hook into the wireless network,
we push them back out onto the Internet so they’re not on the Carfax network.

Lee sees his program as an employee benefit (noting that if
an employee leaves, he takes the computer and pays back the loan). He also
acknowledges that smartphones should be included in the program, since more
and more employees get their work done on the road with no computer at all.

There’s much more to figure out, of course, but Carfax is
off to a fast start. You can certainly learn from what they’ve tried so far.

— Don Willmott

Comments

6 Responses to “Employee-Owned PCs at Work: How’s It Going?”

May 13, 2010 at 12:20 am, John T. Vonachen said:

I always had what I thought was unreasonable trouble with the computers provided to be my my last employer. So for a while I used my own computer and it was great. Later my boss decided he was going to get new computers and asked me if I wanted one. I said yes and it was a bad decision. I should have just stuck with my own. Although on a couple of occasions I forgot to bring it in the morning which killed half my day going back to get it.

Reply

May 13, 2010 at 12:20 am, John T. Vonachen said:

I always had what I thought was unreasonable trouble with the computers provided to be my my last employer. So for a while I used my own computer and it was great. Later my boss decided he was going to get new computers and asked me if I wanted one. I said yes and it was a bad decision. I should have just stuck with my own. Although on a couple of occasions I forgot to bring it in the morning which killed half my day going back to get it.

Reply

May 14, 2010 at 6:37 am, Abe Scott said:

Is this article about companies offering loans to purchase personal computers or truly using “personal computers as their work systems”? I also wonder if it’s misstated about when an employee leaves, “he takes back the computer and pays back the loan”, that’s a wonderful deal for the employee. The use of a PC that doesn’t depreciate!

I expect better from dice.com.

Reply

May 14, 2010 at 6:37 am, Abe Scott said:

Is this article about companies offering loans to purchase personal computers or truly using “personal computers as their work systems”? I also wonder if it’s misstated about when an employee leaves, “he takes back the computer and pays back the loan”, that’s a wonderful deal for the employee. The use of a PC that doesn’t depreciate!

I expect better from dice.com.

Reply

May 17, 2010 at 7:17 am, Don Willmott said:

Abe, The exact quote is, “As opposed to us budgeting and giving you a new machine every three years, we give you the money and it¿s yours. One of the pieces we still need to work out is what happens if employment is terminated. It will probably be similar to what we do with the loan. If employment is terminated, the loan is due.” So as you can see, Carfax is still struggling with this aspect of implementation. I didn’t suggest that organizations necessarily copy the Carfax model but that they look at it and learn the potential benefits and pitfalls. There are plenty of both.
–Don Willmott

Reply

May 17, 2010 at 7:17 am, Don Willmott said:

Abe, The exact quote is, “As opposed to us budgeting and giving you a new machine every three years, we give you the money and it¿s yours. One of the pieces we still need to work out is what happens if employment is terminated. It will probably be similar to what we do with the loan. If employment is terminated, the loan is due.” So as you can see, Carfax is still struggling with this aspect of implementation. I didn’t suggest that organizations necessarily copy the Carfax model but that they look at it and learn the potential benefits and pitfalls. There are plenty of both.
–Don Willmott

Reply

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