Written by Darcy Hryn-Bird
We have been working from home for close to a year now. Who would have thought this back in March? During this time, many members have been limping along in their homes making do with a less than optimal workspace. To that end we want to reinforce with you the fact that the employer has modified the eligibility criteria of our Accountable Professional Development Account (APDA) to give members a chance to access these funds to improve their remote workspace.
Members will need to apply for this one – time access to receive up to the equivalent of one year’s allocation to help cover the costs associated with establishing/modifying a remote workspace. You will have received an email from the employer noting the time periods that the employer will accept applications for access to your APDA. One window has passed already but the next window is from February 1 – May 14, 2021. The application process and more information can be found in the “Working Remotely” channel in PAWS, under Home Work Space. Currently, this window is the only point for members to access their APDA for these purposes.
The payment will be considered income and will be taxed. All requests will be paid to you as a one-time payment. You can only submit one request, but that request can include multiple items.
We also want to remind people that there are other options available to you to improve your workspace and these have been in place for some time. You might want to consider the following before you consider using your APDA.
- Is there equipment and technology that already exists in your office that you could use to enhance your remote workspace? If so, reach out to your supervisor to submit a campus access request and make arrangements to retrieve this if you haven’t already.
- Will your unit pay for any furniture or technology that may have been in the works already? This equipment and technology would remain the property of the University.
If these options alone cannot assist you in creating a remote workspace then looking to accessing your APDA could be an option. What is different about purchasing equipment and technology through this one – time offer is that whatever you purchase will remain with you and cannot be brought back to campus when we return. If you are purchasing furniture, there is no requirement for you to use the furniture from the University’s quick pick. Purchasing computer equipment through these funds, however, is not recommended by the University as they will not be supported by ICT.
Lastly, if you want to ensure that your remote work space is ergonomically correct for you or you just need some tips on making your space a healthy space, you should look to the University’s website on office ergonomics or request an ergonomic consult.
Please reach out to ASPA if you have any question.