Remote Work Supplies and Minor Equipment Policy

This policy defines the circumstances under which a faculty or staff member can be reimbursed for business expenses incurred while working on a remote basis two or more work days per week.

Responsible University Office & Officer

Ron Moraski, VP Procurement

REVISION HISTORY                                                           

Effective Date: 07/15/2021

Revised: 11/20/2023


Who Is Governed By This Policy

This policy applies to everyone working at the University, or working on behalf of the University, who plays a role in procuring products and/or services with University funds.

Who Should Know This Policy

The employee or student requesting reimbursement should know this policy along with:

  • Senior Executive Officers
  • Deans
  • Senior Business Officers
  • Chairs of Departments, Directors of Institutes and Centers
  • Department Administrators
  • Divisional Administrators with financial responsibility and oversight
  • Program Directors
  • Principal Investigators
  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Post-doctoral fellows
  • Graduate research assistants
  • Junior Officers and Non-Officers with financial responsibility and oversight

Applies to faculty and staff regularly conducting University business on a remote basis two or more work days per week. 

Policy Text

Individual Schools / administrative units may institute more restrictive guidelines; in cases where there is a discrepancy between this policy and a School or administrative unit’s policy, the more restrictive policy will apply.

Any furniture and/or equipment purchased by the University for remote use is University property, and as such, should be returned to Columbia (or, if a department chooses, purchased from the University after any items that contain University data have been wiped clean by IT) when it is no longer needed or when an employee leaves the School or department.  University suppliers and related procurement processes will be the preferred method to purchase any new equipment.

Departments should take care with sponsored project expenditures, only allocating those that would be allocated when that same person is performing work on campus. Departments with any questions should consult the award budget and may reach out to Sponsored Projects Administration with questions.


The following technology needs may be provided by the employee’s administrative department:


  • University-issued laptop(s)
  • Headset(s)

As needed:

  • Cell phone (and related service plan)
  • Additional computer screens / external screens to laptop
  • External keyboard / mouse
  • Printer / scanner

WiFi/home data plans and land lines will generally not be covered, but individual circumstances may be considered by exception. For example, WiFi jetpacks (or hotspots) may be purchased by a department for an employee to improve connectivity.


Routine Office Supplies

Departments may periodically order office supplies through the University supplier (Staples) for home delivery. Purchases must be approved by an individual other than the Requester.

Please Note: Requesters transacting in the CU Marketplace will be able to enter Ad Hoc ship-to locations when placing an order when permitted Marketplace suppliers such as Staples, B&H, CDW Connection (formerly Gov Connection) and MRA International. This additional workflow step is meant to control the use of Ad Hoc Locations. Requisitions that use an Ad Hoc location will route to a Financial Approver.



Employees may submit requests to their department for additional needs (filing cabinet, chair, office lighting equipment, other technology needs such as a router).  Purchases should be made by the department for the individual, using University suppliers.  The items in this category (so not including those listed under Technology and Supplies) would have a cap of $400 per employee (in total, not per item, and one-time only or until the useful life of the equipment expires), and individual Schools / departments may have a lower dollar cap.  It will be incumbent upon the department to be responsible for the tracking of purchases and associated dollar cap.

Requests for specialty equipment (e.g. ergonomic chair, sit/stand desk) related to a medical condition should go through the Reasonable Accommodation process managed by Disability Services (as is done for an on-campus setting).   

Utility expenses (electricity, gas, etc.) are not eligible for reimbursement.


Travel / expenses for coming to campus

The University expects remote and hybrid personnel to be within commuting distance and to be prepared and willing to attend events and meetings on campus as required by their manager. Commuting during regular business hours to campus on a regular or as-needed basis will not be a cost covered by the University. 

Infrequently, to best conduct university business, an employee’s assigned work location may be outside of commuting distance to campus. In these instances, travel to campus may be covered by the University. These exceptions must be approved by the Vice President for Human Resources or the University Controller prior to any travel expenses being incurred.