back to article IBM cuts internet comp for work-at-homers

IBM's newest cost-cutting scheme is eliminating its program that lets employees working from home claim internet access as a business expense, according to InformationWeek. An internal memo reportedly sent to IBM employees and obtained by the publication states employees worldwide can no longer obtain reimbursement for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no idea why they would pay for someones internet service

    like the cry babies will go back to 14K dial up

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll get over it

    Well if they do it here, I'll lose my 2Mb ADSL (ooh yes, count it, 2Mb, the best 2002 has to offer). But since I'll be able to shop around for a better deal on the landline, I'm not that bothered.

    Alternatively, I'll take an 'admin' day every month to go into the office to do all that Blue stuff now I can't do it at home. This will cist them a billable day at the clients, which is somewhat more than the 30 or 50 quid a month our beloved 'procurement experts' managed to beat good old BT down to.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Wanker or Lying Wanker?

    we don't comment on rumors or speculation

    Knowing several IBM folks who have all told me that IBM will no longer cover broadband and they just have to eat it....I call Lying Wankerasaurus on them.

    She knows all about pulling one.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    IBM remote site employees

    It's worse than that. IBM is planning to force many of these employees who currently work from home (even though most of them already paid for their own Internet) to physically relocate to consolidated service centers and work on site. Why they want to do this seems insane considering the cost of office space to house these people, but evidently IBM have some crazy idea that putting service delivery workers together in boiler rooms and forcing them to work outrageous shifts will result in some kind of synergy. It also creates a denial of service threat if the facility is affected by some natural disaster. Putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak. In my view it's just going to tweak people off to the point that they will hate the company. And we all know what happens when you do that. It can only lead to bad things. I'll leave that up to the imagination of the readers, but I think it's pretty obvious the sorts of things companies and governments reap when they piss the wrong people off. And right now IBM is pissing off a lot of people and even more if they buy Sun and lay off another ten thousand or so employees. At the very least these people will be disloyal and not be terribly dedicated. At worst you could see deliberate sabotage or theft. One of the things that made IBM a great company was the way they treated their employees. Now they will sadly likely see the price one pays for mistreating them.

  5. Remain Quiet


    Back in jan 09. in the department i work in, we all got cut 10% or we had to walk, then in end of jan 09, they laid off 16000. now, i just got another info that 3 department got closed yesterday in canada.

    Big blue, is leaving big bruises..

    you should do an icon with Sam picture as the devil. i think its time some ppl show his true face.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Home internet cut in Oz too

    There may not have been a "memo" in the classical sense of the word, but we were also told during the week via e-mail and over the phone that our home internet connections would cease being paid by IBM on 1 May. So I'm just going to use a super expensive wireless broadband connection that I am reimbursed for, and it will cost more than my DSL connection. I swear that the finance department must be run by 5 year olds.

    And never mind the fact that there are not enough desks for all employees to come into the office at the same time. I guess those people who no longer get their internet paid for at home and who cannot get a desk at the office get a day off with full pay. Cool!

  7. raving angry loony

    @AC re: cut in Oz too

    No, it's a game of musical chairs. Anyone who used to work at home and who now can't find a seat at the centralized office is laid off.

  8. Ian Michael Gumby
    Thumb Down

    Do you think IBM cares?

    IBM is cutting expenses anyway they can.

    If it means making it more difficult for a worker to get their job done, they don't care. If you quit, they don't have to RIF you or offer you a package. They save money and they can move your job offshore.

    IBM also wants to have their cake and eat it too. Without home internet access being paid for, do you really plan on cutting it, or downgrading service? More likely, you'll just take it on the chin.

    If you have to go in to a mobile office, so what? You can't recoup your gas or mileage so the money you spend traveling to an office is probably more expensive than your internet.

    If you flip to a 4G wireless card, you'll need your manager's approval. So if you're on a client site, you'll have more difficulty getting it approved than if you're in S&D.

    Right now, if you're a client of IBM, you may want to start considering alternatives and you should definitely review the QoS in your contracts...

    But what do I know? I'm just an ex-IBMer ;-)


  9. Anonymous Coward

    Classic Externalizing of Costs

    Cell phones required for work are not expense-able anymore by most companies either. I suspect the consolidated work centers are so they can track time and treat everyone like day workers. --- Just Like Mexico, India, China, and Wal-Mart.

    Again, this is a classic externalization of costs to boost profit. American Management will do anything rather than learn to manage differently. They always take the "no brainer" route whenever possible to avoid doing any real thinking. Perhaps IBM needs to go back and read that motto they are so proud of?

    The stockholders/investment managers are of course the real driver behind this. The Social Contract was broken long ago and we have returned to the mill-town mentality of workers as labor units to be combined with supply and manufacturing units to produce goods at a profit. All we need now are the captive markets(colonies) and the world economy will stabilize at a new lower standard of living for most with a small property-owning leisure class devoting itself to bad poetry and high-sounding philosophy. Cue the communists. Their ranks are growing again.

  10. Andus McCoatover


    Heh. Thought that was an acronym for "I've Been Moved". At last, I can put that on Wikipedia and cite El Reg as the authorative source. That'll guarantee it's online for dozens of milliseconds.

    Oh, one thing - when I read "F. Bloggs didn't return our calls before publication", why doesn't El Reg write instead "F. Bloggs couldn't be fuc*ked to reply". Few of them in a week, you'd get serious callbacks! Telegrams, no less!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting the message yet, peons?

    >>> In my view it's just going to tweak people off to the point that they will hate the company.

    >>> And we all know what happens when you do that. It can only lead to bad things.

    The stated aim of treating people less well - ok, badly - is to increase "voluntary attrition". i.e. You'll hate it so much, you'll leave and we won't have to pay you severance.

    >>> And never mind the fact that there are not enough desks for all employees to come into

    >>> the office at the same time. I guess those people who no longer get their internet

    >>> paid for at home and who cannot get a desk at the office get a day off with full pay. Cool!

    But who could you complain to any how? Your first line manager? They are the equivalent of cannon fodder, simple process administrators and buffers for the constant stream of bad news and "keep up the good work" bulls--t.

    I think that its appropriate to phone 199 when network connectivity is lost at your place at work, even if its at home. Raise it as high severity - employee is unable to perform any duties.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM also cuts costs by cutting tea & coffee facilities

    Back in 2006 IBM Australia decided they could cut costs by no longer providing employees with tea and coffee facilities, instead 'encouraging' employees to bring their own refreshments to work. Whats next IBM? Coin operated toilets? Pay-per-use elevators? Buy your own computer workstation (oh sorry, you've already thought of that)...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sam calling Mark calling Sam

    Exactly same stupidity within hp.

    Both companies seem to share the same business consultants.

    Or the "CIA, Competitive Analysis Agencies" within hp and IBM always find out:

    "Hey, they're doing this and that now! So we must do it, too!"

    Just like kids (or overpaid consultants).

    Or, wait a minute, could it be at the end, that every week or so Mark calls Sam or vice versa,

    and the whole talk goes around "Hey chap, listen, this is how I screwed my slaves this week!"

    or at the end the simple "Mine's longer than yours.."

    It's a sad world..

  14. Ciaran McHale


    I read somewhere that rent on office spaces works out to be several hundred pounds per month per employee. Having some employees be home-based workers saves a company a small fortune, because the typical expenses incurred by a home-based worker (broadband, business calls from their home telephones, an occasional bit of stationary and so on) is probably less than 10% of the office-space rent per employee. Trying to pass those home-office expenses to the home-based employees is a move that will cause resentment.

  15. Charles Manning

    Get real kids...

    Broadband is cheap.

    Find something more important to bitch about.

  16. Harry
    Thumb Down

    Sounds like a perfect solution ... but only to an ACCOUNTANT

    Its said, with good reason, that the definition of an accountant is somebody who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    I know of one who insisted on converting our local coffee shop from "boil up a jug" to capsule operation ... in order to be able to prove that the unpaid volunteers who serve there weren't drinking more than their permitted share of free coffee. But the capsules cost 10p more than the bulk coffee they replaced. Thus the materials bill was now £10 per week more than it needed to be ... and no way could the volunteers possibly be guzzling anywhere that amount.

    It was the sort of solution that made sense only to an IDIOT or to an ACCOUNTANT -- yet one which the overpaid bosses were too THICK to understand either.

    Isn't IBM going down exactly the same path? Cut out the £10 per month that allows people to work from home on maybe two days per week, and then what? You have to rent more OFFICES to accommodate them. And you're going to be able to rent those offices for significantly less than £10 per month?

    What sort of person can't work that out? Oh, I forgot, its ACCOUNTANTS and their OVERPAID BOSSES.

  17. Telic
    Thumb Down

    Travel Expenses

    In many companies, traveling sales and service staff get reimbursed for use of their own car in business duties. It makes sense to likewise reimburse tele-travelers for use of their Internet connection.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Intel cut it too this week

    Seems to be a trend in the industry with Intel cutting it off starting April 1 also. Wonder if they'll not require their employees to login from home in the evenings and weekends anymore? Not likely.

  19. pctechxp

    Most people that work in IT

    Don't get free home connections so you've just been lucky so deal with it.

    @AC from Oz, could be worse, you could have been shown the door, which would you prefer? Pay for your Internet or be unemplyed and unable to pay your bills, hmmmm, tough choice.

    As for using your expensive wireless link, I doubt you'll get away with that for long.

  20. skeptical i

    I haven't pencilled out the cost ...

    ... and I'm sure I missed some details, but certainly it must cost the company less money per month to let employees work at home (or at the clients' offices, or at the coffeeshop) and reimburse their monthly broadband/ wifi/ other "fat pipe" costs than to have them come in to the office and use the company facilities (bandwidth, water, electricity, parking, wear and tear, printer toner, toilet paper, coffee, space for desks/ cubicles, &c) to do the same job, right? If employees have to pay their own fat pipe costs, many of them might pay for it out of pocket and keep working at home, but many others might come to the office and use the company's (and grab some coffee, take up some desk space, and use the loo while there). Not sure what the actual savings are (which is probably why I'm not an accountant).

  21. Anonymous Coward

    They pay for Home Internet?

    They stopped paying for remote access in this division over a decade ago.... I mean really, those remote people don't like it, they can just piss away the time and money driving to work. I work remote as much as possible to avoid the wasteful commute and save more than the cost of access even at 1x/wk. Do they get reimbursed for their phone service since they undoubtedly call into remote meetings? And, how many are going to ditch the broadband if IBM stops paying for it? Bet next to none drop broadband-- they can't, they are as hooked as anyone else here.

    What IBM should do, is provide a memo that the iNet access is a "condition of employment". This would make the iNet access tax deductible in the US (to the extent the access is used for business vs. personal purposes). Don't expect to see this though, the revenooers hate that sort of thing.... just like the revenooers hate "real" contractors (a real contractor, vs. a "contract employee", can deduct oodles of things that an employee can't deduct. This is partly why a plumber does so well, everything is deductible vs. a sheeployee where essentially nothing can be deducted).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Definitely announced

    This information was posted in the internal w3 IBM news site. It has been announced. Nobody working for IBM has should have any loyalty to the corporation, since they have no loyalty or respect for the individual. IBM is the epitome of greedy corporate pigs. This is a great time for competitors to pickup prime talent as IBM is currently bleeding talent. All that will be left when IBM is "done" are 1/2 wit contractors and nobody with any real experience.

  23. JoePritchard

    I assume that IBMErs only use the connection for IBM business?

    If not, just get over it.

    IBM have provided this perk for nigh on a decade, and as no one forces you to work from home (don't forget many people are nor allowed this option, even now) I'm surprised that they have done so.

    After all, they do provide ofices form which business can be conducted at the company's expense...

    If you use the Internet connection or anything else than wrk then IBM have been effectively paying for private use - perhaps that portion of the bill should be regarded as taxable?

    I'm a contractor; there are many times when I could work from home but the copany prefers me in the office. When I do work from home then unless I've had to get something in specially for that job, I won't even consider claiming or it.

  24. Simon B

    Can you bill IBM for using your internet?

    How about the home workers billing IBM pro rata for hours spent doing work things using THEIR broadband? I dare someone to try it!

  25. Richard


    Hmmm, interesting, do they expect their home workers to pay for a business connection? My experience is that ISP's offer different levels of service to different types of customers. For instance a couple of years back I had 2 BT connections, a private one and one paid for by the company my wife was working for. I was able to VPN to the office via either of the connections until one day the private one stopped working, after checking with my employers to ensure there had been no changes and there were no problems I checked with BT. Eventually after many days and vast numbers of phone calls it was stated to me they don't support the usage of VPN's unless you're on a business account, checking how much that cost was more than double the cost of a private account for no change in the speed. I wasn't going to pay the expense so my employers put in a third line which they paid for.

    If the plug is pulled just revert to how people worked from homebefore the internet, with postage stamps and a fax machine. If they want you to travel onsite and you're main place of work is at home then milage is an expense and you should claim it.

    I would use every means possible to retain everything provided by the company as a permanent employee, otherwise you may as well have been a contractor.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning - Get real kids....

    Broadband is cheap.

    Maybe it is where you live...maybe even at a reasonable cost.

    it's not necessarily everywhere OR at a decent cost for everyone.

    here's an ODFO for your efforts, though.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Why is anybody bothered?

    I am amazed that anybody is actually that bothered about IBM not paying for a poor Broadband service.

    THe thing that IBM has got wrong is the way this has got out. Instead of trying to keep it quiet and the rumour mill working overtime, a memo should have been sent out explaining the reasons why and what you had to do.

    I moed from the IBM service at the beginning of the year. I pay less than a tenner, I get 4 x the upload and download speed and I get a great service from my ISP. I can connect and do work via the VPN exactly as I did before and I am a lot happier.

    Stop complaining that you now have to pay a small amount each month for something that you probably let your family use and therefore should have been taxable anyway!

  28. Anonymous Coward

    A loser's game

    As someone else stated, the cost of internet service varies depending on where you live. Mine costs $60.00 a month and that includes a discount because I have other personal services with the same company. That's $720 a year. Add to that the cut to total compensation that hit a majority of IBMers earlier this year in the form of lowered performance ratings and the whole thing adds up to across the board pay cuts. I am totally grateful to have a job, especially one that I really enjoy, but most IBMers work way more hours than the public realizes and in truth earn an unremarkable hourly rate.

    If enough off site workers return to IBM offices, IBM will experience a remarkable spike in costs and a regrettable drop in productivity. It is truly a no win / no win situation.

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