Best Practices for Remote Work Expenses

Purpose: This document is intended to provide guidance for employees who are temporarily working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic while upholding our commitment to being good stewards of University resources. These guidelines are not new to policy and are intended to be a reminder of best practices to reduce the financial impact to the University and to ensure all necessary expenses are appropriate and reasonable. A clear University business purpose must be provided for all uses of University funds as more fully described in Financial Services Policy and other University policies.


  1. Office supplies and computer equipment should be supplied by the University for the employee to successfully complete work assignments while temporarily working remotely. A remote work agreement is required and should include a listing of all University-owned equipment located at the employee’s off-site workspace. Please refer to University of Arizona Acceptable Use of Computers and Networks Policy and Misuse of University Assets.
  2. Employees should consult their business office or supervisor and arrange to pick up necessary items and office supplies for continued remote work assignments.
  3. The business office should continue to utilize Arizona BuyWays or the University Purchasing Card for office supplies or computer accessories and follow purchasing policies and Financial Services Policy 9.10 Requisitions/Reimbursement to avoid out-of-pocket reimbursements whenever possible.   
  4. Employees working remotely are not considered to be on travel status. Thus, reimbursement for meals or commuting expenses are unallowable with University funds. This includes occasional travel to/from the employee’s work location to pick up mail, office supplies or other items.  
  5. Meal expenses related to a virtual or Zoom meeting, including gift certificates or expenses from a food delivery service, are unallowable. In-person business meeting meals are allowable with a business purpose and agenda when there is a requirement to meet in-person on University premises. Meals provided for in-person meetings must adhere to health and safety measures inclusive of CDC requirements and the University’s COVID-19 Response protocol.
  6. The University will not reimburse or pay directly for home or offsite internet charges for temporary remote work. Departments may consider Financial Services Policy 9.17 Technology Allowance when certain job responsibilities may be enhanced by the provision of various forms of technology.
  7. A clear and thorough documented University business purpose is required for all purchases or reimbursements that are initiated on behalf of the University and must document how the University benefited from the incurred expense.
  8. The University should not pay for an employee to have identical/similar items in multiple locations. This includes, but is not limited to, purchases of computer equipment such as tablets, computers, laptops, monitors, printers or computer software. 
  9. University equipment relocated to a remote location should be maintained and returned in the same condition as when they were obtained. Equipment purchased or reimbursed with University funds is the property of the University and must be returned to the University department upon re-entry to campus, transfer or termination of employment.
  10. Repairs or maintenance on University computing equipment while working remotely are the responsibility of the University and users will consult with their home department IT office. Technologies for working remotely are available along with 24/7 IT Support
  11. Employees should consider utilizing existing office furniture and items to bring home for temporary use before requesting purchases. The following items are unallowable University expenses when they are duplicate items purchased for remote work use:
    1. Office furniture and décor, including but not limited to desks, chairs and stand-up desks.
    2. File cabinets, shredders, scanners and printers.
  12. Electricity, insurance, home renovations or modifications for remote office purposes, and other similar personal expenses, are unallowable.
  13. Costs for maintenance or repair of employee-owned items or related services, are unallowable on University funds.

Related Information

Arizona BuyWays
COVID-19 Response
Business Purpose Guide
Human Resources Remote work resources
Purchasing Card
Financial Services Manual
IT Technologies for Working Remotely