I have recently started a new job in which I have been using my own laptop. I have also been given what seems to be a broken chair in that there is no support on the back. When you lean back on it it just keeps going presumably till I fall off. This is causing me back pains.

Since starting I have been using my own laptop (I'm a developer). Recently another new starter was given a new company laptop, where as I am expected to continue using my own.

How should I look at getting a new chair as well as a company provided laptop?

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    Hi Alec, this seems to be more like a rant then a question that we can answer. Are you able to edit this to highlight what the question is? – Michael Grubey Jul 19 '13 at 9:40
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    Alec - I guess my question is, on Day 1 - how did you end up using your laptop? – Michael Jul 19 '13 at 9:45
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    You should never do company work on personal computing hardware as a general rule - who is providing the software? The licences? Insurance? Is it even covered if it gets stolen from the office when you're in a meeting? Ask for a meeting and outline that you feel that your using personal equipment for business use and shouldn't be. – Michael Jul 19 '13 at 10:01
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    Thanks for that Joe, real useful. I don't want to seem like I'm just complaining at everything. – Alec. Jul 19 '13 at 10:17
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    Just ask for a new chair. This isn't "complaining" as long as you don't whine about it. "Hey boss, is there another chair I can use? This one's falling apart" and then show him. That chair shouldn't even be int he office if it is as you describe - it's unsafe. Either that, or there's a lock/adjustment you aren't seeing. – alroc Jul 19 '13 at 11:39

When faced with a poor chair I have seen several solutions to the problem:

  • steal a chair from another office or the conference room. This is harder to do if the ones in the conference room are a different style than the ones used in offices. You don't want to get caught doing this so don't do it while everybody is watching.

  • ask the office manager or your supervisor. They might just get one from an empty office for you or they may have to get one from storage or even order one. You could say "Is there any way I could get a different chair, this one is ... and causes me a lot of back pain?"

The laptop issue is serious for the company. Your personal machine might not be automatically backing up key documents according to company policy. The machine might not be running virus protection, or it might be out of date. Some companies even require full disk encryption to protect company and customer data. There are also licensing issues for the software on your machine, and the fact that they might have to install software they paid thousands of dollars for onto your machine. Which you could keep by walking out the door.

You have to ask your manager about getting a company machine. List the issues discussed above and then ask for a timeline for resolving the issue. You will also need to talk about the type of machine need to do the job. In a small company without a big bureaucracy they should be able to submit the order in a day or two and get the machine delivered not long after that.

The one issue that also needs to be understood is your contract. Are you and employee or a contractor? In some cases they expect the contractor to supply their own tools, in other cases they provide the tools.

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