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My company enforced a work from home scheme where about 90% of the employees are able to work from the comfort of their home, we were approved to bring our workstation home. I was one of the 90% who was assigned a company issued laptop, however my Internet connection is bad at the place I rent in the city where the office is located, so the solution was for me to join the 10% who works in the office. Months passed and I had to replace my laptop with a desktop unit so I can upgrade the RAM for a project, because the laptop is unupgradable.

Now I'm planning to go back to my hometown for all of December, and if possible continue working from there. My home there has good Internet connection so there won't be connection issues. Also everyone else is working from home so I don't have a reason to not work when I arrive in my hometown. I have been wanting to go home for a long time but couldn't because of the pandemic. I have to process loads of government papers and submit myself for quarantine when I go back to my hometown (home quarantine) and back here in the city when I go back next year (government facility quarantine). It will be very tiring and take me a really long time to prepare everything but I really want to go home for Christmas as I miss my family so much.

Is it reasonable or acceptable for me to request a laptop with the same specs as my desktop unit? My old company issued laptop isn't an option because it will be fried before I can even run a simulator. I'm going alone in a ferry ride, two long bus trips and more than 1km of travel by foot to reach my hometown (located in a mountainous area). I can only carry around 10kgs of stuff based on my previous trips, so carrying the desktop with me isn't an option.

Will it be annoying and too demanding? My higher ups and HR has done so much for me I don't want to offend them. Should I just file a leave for all the days I'll be missing from the office? If I do this, is there a possibility of my company being equally annoyed of me asking for a very long period of leave as of me asking a powerful laptop? What is the better option?

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  • Since you are going for a whole month, would simply taking the desktop machine be a viable alternative? You don't need to be mobile every day, you just need to move it. – nvoigt Oct 7 '20 at 6:37
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    @nvoigt I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that I'm going alone in a ferry ride, two long bus trips and more than 1km of travel by foot to reach my hometown (located in a mountainous area). I can only carry around 10kgs of stuff based on my previous trips. – bazooka Oct 7 '20 at 6:43
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    Is paying a courier to move your computer home, and then back to the office a possibility? – DewiW Oct 7 '20 at 7:17
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    What about using your laptop just to connect to the desktop remotely and let your desktop make the heavy computations? – nicola Oct 7 '20 at 9:22
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    @bazooka it's not that much of a hassle if your company is set up for it. Lots of people do that at my company. – Kat Oct 10 '20 at 3:43
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Is it reasonable or acceptable for me to request a laptop with the same specs as my desktop unit?

Well, it seems so. Only you can work the numbers out, but, if they bought you a laptop and then an expensive desktop, it looks like the value of your work outweighs the cost of both equipments. The worst they could say is "no".

I can only carry around 10kgs of stuff based on my previous trips, so carrying the desktop with me isn't an option.

I'm afraid the company might disagree. The amount of connections you're planning to take carries a high risk of it being stolen, damaged, or lost. Instead, they can ship your desktop through postal service and get it insured. It's likely cheaper to do so, as well.

Shipping your computer also frees some space in your bag in both trips. Could come in handy.

Should I just file a leave for all the days I'll be missing from the office? If I do this, is there a possibility of my company being equally annoyed of me asking for a very long period of leave as of me asking a powerful laptop? What is the better option?

Maybe, but you said everyone else has been working from home, so bear in mind you would be the one standing out (negatively). Also, you cannot be sure you'll be back in a month, since you could get exposed to the virus and be forced to stay in quarantine for a lot longer. In that regard, the computer is a safer bet: it signals you intend to keep on working. You can always request a leave later, if needed.

Plus, remember new equipment could arrive or become defective during your time away, rendering you unproductive while waiting for a replacement. The desktop assigned to you already works for your needs, and it's probably easier to fix, should any parts stop working.

Ask for the laptop if that's the most comfortable option, but do not insist if they decide to ship your current desktop instead. If the goal is to focus on spending quality time with your family, you should avoid as many potential issues and conflicts as possible. Be willing to settle for the option that brings you the most peace of mind.

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    This. I think I will settle with shipping my desktop unit if my manager doubts about my company issuing me a new laptop. I haven't thought of doing that, I feel a bit stupid haha. I think it's the most effective way since I honestly think filing a very long leave of absence isn't a very good idea. Thanks for the advise, it is very much appreciated! – bazooka Oct 8 '20 at 5:33
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    @bazooka I'm glad I could help! Good luck and enjoy the time with your family! – Ramon Melo Oct 8 '20 at 14:50
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Approach your manager, explain the situation, and ask them for a laptop.

It's apparently a normal thing for employees to have in your company, so it won't come across as unreasonable or demanding.

They may have to say no, but it sounds like they're willing to work with people to enable working from home, so you've got a good shot. And there may be other alternatives available (such as a VPN) that they can suggest.

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    thanks for the advise! I'll try this and see what happens. – bazooka Oct 8 '20 at 5:26

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