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Free PCs please - 11/2000

Free or cut-rate personal computers

According to a new study by the career Web site Techies.com, which asked workers to rate office perks that matter to them. More than a third of the high-tech employees who completed the unscientific survey picked free or cut-rate personal computers over a host of other new-economy luxuries. All told, 581 of 987 geeks from around the country selected equipment or free home Internet access as their fringe benefits of choice. Spa and gym memberships ranked third among the health-conscious tech set. They're asking for things that help them do a better job, said Cynthia Morgan, who supervised the project for Minneapolis-based Techies.com.

The survey comes as small technology firms and more established companies are taking a closer look at home computers as a desirable, though costly, employment benefit. The issue drew national attention earlier this year, when Ford Motor Co. and Delta Air Lines Inc. announced they would offer personal computers, printers and Internet access to their work force at cut-rate prices.
Following that move, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) introduced a bill to provide a free home computer and Internet hookup to every federal government worker. The proposal now rests with the House Government Affairs Committee.

Most of the perks favoured by high-tech workers in the recent survey make it easier to leave the office: laptop computers and high-speed Internet connections designed for telecommuting, health club memberships to sweat away the stress, and discounted vacations or sabbatical programs.

Yet some question whether it is possible to escape the stress of work by creating an employer-furnished home office.

www.techies.com