Equipment Stipends for Employees: Everything You Need to Know

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.

Last updated on September 8, 2023 by Sarah Bedrick

 
 

Equipment stipends are a reliable way to help your people get the best equipment they need to do their best work.

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 that include other items like internet, office plants, etc.

Further details on what they are:

  • Sometimes referred to as a technology stipend in the tech world.
  • They can also be used for personal protective equipment (PPE) purchases like steel-toed boots.
  • 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.
  • Equipment stipends can be given out on a one-time basis, or a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual cycle. 
 
 

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 remotely 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 the 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 $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 Items do People Purchase with an Equipment Stipend?

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

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 chairs 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 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 benefits.

Download the free guide to find out why perk stipends and lifestyle spending accounts have become the most desirable new perk for employers and employees alike.

 
 

How to set up an equipment stipend:


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

Look to the examples above if you need inspiration.

2. Decide how you’ll manage the process.

The 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 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 stipend reimbursement software to manage it.  

Stipend program solutions have become more common and are essential as companies compete for talent in a tight labor market and try to retain dispersed teams.

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

With this option, there is less lift for HR, IRS compliance for finance, and flexibility for employees!

 
 

Other types of stipends

In addition to equipment and tech stipends, there are other types of stipends that companies offer their people as part of their lifestyle benefits. These 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. 

Sarah Bedrick

Chief Marketing Officer

Prior to Compt, Sarah worked at HubSpot for 6+ years, where she helped to build, scale, and grow the HubSpot Academy division. She is obsessed with understanding what makes a company culture great, being a career and life coach to people in tech, and creating cherished memories with her husband and two young kids. Her favorite Compt stipend category is Health & Wellness.

 

See how Compt is helping companies like yours

Comments from HR leaders about why they love using Compt for their Equipment & Remote Work Stipends

Compt has been instrumental for us to be able to increase employee satisfaction and utilization rates far higher than we could have ever achieved with our old perks approach.

Melissa Salcius

Melissa Salcius

Director of People Operations, Fictiv

Compt helps our team members to be aware of the stipends that we're offering and empowers them to make the choices that make the most sense for them and their loved ones.

Melissa Theiss

Head of People Operations at Column

It’s been a really easy and fun way to offer perks to our employees, which has added to the experience our employees are having. It’s low lift on the HR side which goes a long way with employees.

CHRO, Carrot

Leslie Neitzel

CHRO, Carrot

 
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