Equipment Stipends: What You Need to Know

Set your people up for success.

Equipment stipends have been around for a while as they're the predominant way to help your people get the best equipment they need to do their best work.

However, with our swift transition to working from home due to COVID-19, many companies are now leveraging their power to make sure their people have the proper infrastructure and equipment at home to work productively and comfortably.

We developed this guide to give you everything you need to know about equipment stipends.

Here's what is covered in this guide:

  1. What is an equipment stipend
  2. Examples of equipment stipends
  3. What people spend their equipment stipends on
  4. Benefits of equipment  stipends
  5. How to create one for your organization

What is an equipment stipend?

First, a definition:

An equipment stipend is a sum of money given to employees for them to use to purchase equipment to make working easier and more productive.

These are not to be confused with remote work stipends which are another form of work stipend for employees. 

Further details on what they are:

  • Sometimes referred to as a technology stipend in the tech world.
  • Equipment stipends can be given out on one-time basis, or a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual cycle. 
  • While some companies offer these to their on-site employees, they are mainly used for people who work from home and do not get the traditional desk set-up that most in-office people get. 
  • Some companies are transitioning over to equipment stipends so that people can buy everything they need (beyond a desk and chair), like a computer, monitor, mouse, etc. This allows people to personalize their work experience to their preferences and needs.

Examples of Equipment Stipends

Below are a few examples highlighting the unique approaches.

1. Shopify

Shopify gave their people $1,000 at the beginning of COVID to buy office supplies to help ease the transition of working remote amid the coronavirus outbreak.

2. Smartsheet

During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have given each employee $500 to expense items to get their work-from-home office/desks set up.

3. Lively

Employees can spend up to $200 on pre-approved equipment to improve their WFH setup.

4. Chegg

Located in SF, their WFH equipment and tech stipend was at $300 from March 2020 to beginning of May, but it was recently bumped up to $500.

5. Summit CPA Group

Summit CPA Group gives new team members a $3,000 technology stipend that’s put on a prepaid business card, and then they provide a $2,000 a year afterward. These funds are used to cover any broken equipment or equipment which needs to be updated.

Lastly, there are many many more examples of companies doing this successfully. If you want to hear what our customers are doing, we’re happy to advise. Click here to talk with a perk stipend expert.

What do people spend their equipment stipend on?

  • Monitor
  • Chair
  • Desk
  • Monitor riser
  • Laptop stand
  • Standing desk topper
  • Mouse and/or keyboard
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Adapter/cords to connect the above items to your laptop computer
  • Work gear like steel toed boots, batteries, etc.

[If you're looking for the type of stipend to support your people who work from home on an ongoing basis, you might be looking for a remote work stipend.]

Benefits of equipment stipends

Increased productivity

Your people will purchase the items they genuinely need to make their remote work life easier and more comfortable. When people's backs aren't hurting from sitting in their dining room chair for eight hours, they can better focus on their work.

Increased trust

When you give your people an equipment stipend, it shows you trust them to do what's best for them and the company. Many companies find that their employees appreciate the program and very few take advantage.

Equitable

When you roll out an equipment stipend to your people, you aren't picking and choosing a few people to support (the squeaky wheels), you're supporting your people in a fair, equitable, and inclusive way.

Scalable

If you use a software for managing your equipment stipends, you set up a scalable solution that won't bog down HR, finance and IT.  The right software can help you increase your team's efficiency.

perk stipends

Learn more about the benefits of lifestyle perks.

Download the free eBook to find out why perk stipends and lifestyle spending accounts have become the most common new perk.

How to set up an equipment stipend:

1. First determine how much you want to offer your people, within what timeframe.

Look to the examples above if you need inspiration.

2. Decide how you’ll manage the process.

Most common options include:

  • Managing the process manually. 

If you choose this option, be prepared to set up a process to track purchases, receipts, balances, approval and paid-out perks, as well as rejections or ones which need further review. Consider using Google forms to track submissions, excel or Google sheets to track progress, and be sure to create a process to track the nontaxable vs taxable (for IRS compliance).

  • Select an expense software to manage it.  

Expense software solutions like Expensify and Concur are largely meant for business expenses like this and can be very helpful for an equipment stipend. 

If using this option, make sure every employee has access to your company's expense software option. 

This is the ideal option if your IT team is managing the process.

  • Or select a perk expense software to manage it.  

Perk stipend solutions have become more common over the past few years and now essential as companies extend their remote work options into the foreseeable future.

This kind of software can be especially helpful if it communicates your program to your team members, track their balances and spending.

This option is helpful if your organization is planning to work remotely for an extended period of time and you consider bringing your on-site perks online so you can continue to support and serve the needs of your people.

Other types of stipends

In addition to equipment and tech stipends, there are other types of stipends that companies offer their people. These types types of stipends or allowances make it possible for companies to offer more perks, with less money and ensure that they're personalized to meet the needs of their people. 

Additional resources to support your people:

Learn how Compt is helping companies like yours

Let's connect to see how an equipment stipend would work at your company, and how it can help your company achieve even greater success.