IBM to Employees: You Pay for Internet Now

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-04-03 Print this article Print

Work at home for IBM? Well, your cable bill is about to go up.

InformationWeek is reporting that IBM workers who work out of home offices will no longer be reimbursed for Internet access. While this trend may not surprise most of you who already pay for Internet access at home and happen to work there, it's been a longstanding practice at IBM since before the Internet was your source for everything. The new rules go into effect for IBM employees on May 1.

From the article (InformationWeek obtained an internal IBM memo):

"Today Internet access has become pervasive around the world and in-home Internet contracts have become commonplace along with cable and other telephony services," IBM said in the note, dated March 30. It added that it "remains fully committed to mobility and flexible work arrangements."

IBM officials declined to comment, but the move is likely a cost-cutting measure -- and it could mean big savings for the company. Of its 115,000 U.S. workers, about 46,000 are based at what IBM calls "alternative workplaces," a definition that includes home offices. Assuming each worker pays about $30 per month for a broadband connection, IBM stands to save up to $16 million annually from the move in the United States alone.

IBM is certainly not alone in finding ways to save money and stay profitable. Given IBM's latest round of employee reductions in the United States and Canada, this latest perk-busting incident seems kind of trivial, yet it is another sign of the times in a recession that looks to be with us for a while.

On the bright side, those who have jobs with IBM and work from home can now claim Internet service on their U.S. tax returns next year. Thanks, IRS. That's roughly $360 a year back in your pocket.

Who wins? Verizon, Time Warner and all the other service providers. |

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