Article #10 From the "What If ..." Library on Salary Negotiation

What If ...
I'm Negotiating Telecomuting
Telecommuting? Negotiate expenses
Many people are working from home these days, on either a full time or part time basis. Sometimes, the employer demands it, while other times the employer agrees to the request of an employee. In either case, the question arises: just who should be paying for office and travel expenses for the at home employee.
Since you are doing work for the company, the employer ought to be paying for the expenses you incur. If the employer doesn't offer, you should negotiate to get reimbursement-or better yet, have things paid for up front so you aren't dipping into your pocket and waiting for reimbursement.
Some of the things an employer ought to pay for, assuming they are required for the job, include:
  • business travel
  • office supplies  
  • telephone
  • cell phone
  • computer (if you don't have one adequate for the work you do),
  • electricity.
You might set up a company account with your local office supply store so that you can charge office supplies directly to the company. You should also get agreements about liability for any expensive company property you use in your home.
Of course, if the telecommuting is your idea, rather than the employers, you will have less leverage. For example, the employer may be reluctant to pay for a computer for you to work at home when you could do your work at the office. In any case, keep meticulous records of all purchases so that you can withstand any company scrutiny of your spending.