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The problem with employer-provided tools is that they sometimes barely meet the minimum requirements. Sure it gets the job done, but it’s no fun.

I’d rather buy and manage my own device, which is then powerful enough for my needs.

If your employer doesn't provide the tools you need it's time to talk to them about how much time you lose due to crappy hardware and how many hours of your salary would pay for a better machine.

From experience it's usually that the employee thinks they need the most powerful 15" Macbook pro when their job entails something like writing blog posts or running code in AWS

And from experience, those squeaky wheels get the grease and the engineers flog along with what they have because they are too busy to put the necessary amount of complaining in.

Can confirm. The ergonomic setups of some non-tech staff I've worked with has definitely out-paced myself.

But some of the differences lie in understanding how to work around constraints.

I've been putting off requesting some specific administered software removal from my own machine for months because I keep getting caught up in much more pressing work. In most cases I'm able to just work around it. In other cases, it just eats up time. But I can see the path through to a solution more clearly than any corporate wrangling.

Different budgets, different departments, different people.

In smaller or more nimble companies you or rather your line manager can influence hardware budget as an offset of your salary v productivity. Also in some larger organisations where departments/teams are more autonomous and have more slack your manager may be able to influence that.

But in many large organisations, those who decides what standardised underpowered hardware you shall have may never have even met your line manager and they can not influence that policy.

I have once worked with a client that handed out a completely hamstrung laptops with barely any memory and slow disks to all contractors. Project builds would take 30 minutes or more, and I'd watch paint dry by reading slashdot(a long time ago), jousting on chairs in the corridor etc... Plus more time lost as you don't realise instantly when the build has finished and the time to reload all the context back into your own brain's memory...

The difference in cost between a top spec machine and the one they handed out was less than the invoice cost of the lost productivity in a day or two. I was there for two years... Granted after a while I did get better and better machines but never good.

Though I no longer really work for clients that do that, and my last few contracts have been BYOD which is fine by me. As long as they provide a quality external monitor and the sit-stand desk then I'll bring my own macbook.

Which is nice in theory, but irrelevant to the employer when they can just tell you to 'work smarter' or face a PIP. Expenditure: $0. Of course the long-term cost is higher, but that's not a line-item expense.

Honestly, I've been there; coding on a single 15" screen. Eventually most employees brought in a second monitor from home.

It's a good signal, these people are cheap and are going to nickel and dime you time to move on.

People who are willing to bring their own device are helped by a few people who refuse to and just work less efficiently as a result. This puts a limit on how much surplus the employer can squeeze out of the more efficient employees as the less efficient ones set a lower floor for productivity.

Then it is time to change employer.

That’s a stupid hill to die on. Pick your employer based on important things like comp, work life balance, advancement opportunities, etc. If you have to fork over $300 to buy your own work phone then so be it, buy one and move on with your life.

Yep, move on with my life to another employer.

If the other employer pays more or works you less you should move anyway, BYOD or not. If the other employer e.g pays less then you’re an idiot to take a 5 figure paycut or work 10 extra hours a week just to avoid buying a $300 phone. BYOD policies are irrelevant in the grand scheme of career planning.

In the grand scheme of things, one should not weight only BYOD policies, but they are certainly a red herring, a sign of employers that don't give a damn.

That’s not what a red herring is, but you are correct that it is a red herring.

wouldn't the ideal be that the employee gets to pick his own tools in coordination with the employer. And the "minimum requirements" is often so short sighted, compared to what an employee costs, spending 500 or 1000 Dollar/Euro more on a proper device should be net positive given increased productivity (both from device being more productive and employee being more happy)

You're doing it on their time, not yours. If they don't want you to be productive, you don't have to be.

I very much agree. I'd still look for a different job sooner or later. My time is much too valuable to spend it on underpowered computers.

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