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Equipment & Workspace

hands on a laptop keyboard from above, clean desk with paperclips and houseplant

What to know when setting up a remote workspace.

Cornell employees are currently not available to assist with in-person workspace set-up or to resolve any technical issues onsite at an employee’s home location. Virtual technical support is available to employees working remotely.


Standard Work Equipment

Departments/units will work with their remote employees to provide a Cornell-issued computer and related equipment (monitor, keyboard, mouse) where needed to perform the responsibilities of a position. This equipment is expected to be returned to Cornell upon separation from the university unless the department makes other arrangements with the employee. See Security Practices When Working from Home for more information regarding remote work computing expectations. Employees working remotely will continue to be in their department/unit’s established computing equipment replacement cycle.


In cases where employees believe they need special equipment to work effectively due to a medical condition, they should contact Medical Leaves Administration (MLA) to pursue a disability accommodation.

Other Equipment Requests

Other special equipment requests should be directed to an employee’s manager and local HR rep. Any such consideration and decision will be at the discretion, and expense of the local college/ unit or local department as appropriate.

Office Supplies

Employees who need any special office supplies to complete their work on behalf of Cornell should discuss how to best secure those supplies with their manager. Office supplies may be shipped directly to an employee’s home (e.g., office supplies purchased from a preferred Cornell vendor via eShop) rather than requiring an employee to pick them up from campus.

Mobile Communication Devices & Services

Except when required by law (in states other than NY), the university does not pay for or reimburse employees for business use of personally owned mobile communication devices or for remote Internet services.

Please refer to Cornell’s Mobile Communication Devices policy 3.24 for further explanation.

Cornell employees may be able to receive a vendor discount on mobile communication devices/ services through certain carriers who have negotiated this arrangement with Cornell.

Cornell Information Technologies has created a resource page with suggestions for remote employees who may be experiencing internet or cellular service challenges.


Employees are strongly encouraged to maintain an ergonomically appropriate and safe home workspace following the university’s recommended ergonomic practices. Individual ergonomic remote workspace assessments and guidance are available to Cornell employees by sending a request to

If you do not typically work remotely, you may experience challenges adjusting to a different environment, especially if you are accustomed to working very physically.  Build physical movement into your day. 


  • Choose a location in the home that has limited distractions and ample natural lighting
  • Maintain good posture where you sit
  • Take regular breaks (5 min of every hour) to look away from the screen and improve circulation  
  • Stay consistent with your eating, sleeping, and exercise routine as appropriate
  • Structure your day, building in social time with colleagues and others
  • If you have peripheral devices, connect an external keyboard, mouse, headphones, and/or monitor to increase your comfort
  • Maintain boundaries to prevent overwork – unplug at the end of your work time