The best and most impactful way to support your remote and hybrid employees, wherever they live.
In a "Navigating COVID: Returning to work" report from SHRM, they found that 68% of organizations say they probably or definitely will adopt broader or more flexible work from home policies for all remote workers. (SHRM, 2020).
Fast forward to today, where people across the globe have become accustomed to working remote due to COVID-19 (and don't want to go back!), companies are being forced to adapt to the needs of their most important asset: their people.
The ideal method for supporting your remote employees, which is also the most flexible and scalable option for HR, is a remote perk stipend - also known as a remote work allowance or remote employee reimbursement.
With stipends, an employer can offer more perks with less money, and to ensure it's available to everyone regardless of where they work, and who wouldn't want that? Remote workers will likely be a part of every organization's future. That's why we developed this guide to everything you need to know about remote work stipends.
Here's what is covered in this guide:
First, a definition:
A remote work stipend, or remote work allowance, is a sum of money given to employees for them to use to access perks while working remotely.
A remote work stipend can be used in one or both ways:
Further details on what they are:
As mentioned above, when setting up a remote work stipend, there are two approaches:
Below are three examples highlighting the unique approaches regardless of remote work policy:
They provide one stipend for their remote people:
They provide three stipends for their team:
Learn more about how Compt helped Webflow make perk allowances possible at their company.
They offer the following perk allowances for their team members:
To learn more about these in-depth and the thinking behind them, check out their post on employee benefits at Basecamp.
To learn more about these perks and their budget vs spent in 2019, check out this in-depth post about Buffer's perk stipend audit.
To learn more about Appcues and their remote work stipends, check out their story.
There are many more examples of companies doing this successfully. If you want to hear what our customers are doing, click here to talk with a Compt lifestyle benefits specialist.
Input some basic data into our Perks Vendor Cost Calculator to identify how much you're spending on all of your vendors for any remote work stipends you offer, and how much you can save by consolidating with Compt.
Many companies are turning to stipends, or some reimbursement policy, to solve for their employees in more meaningful ways. Not only does the perk stipend model offer significant upside to how your company manages perks and benefits from the day-to-day management and tax perspective, but it also helps promote other strategic areas of the business such as your culture and values, attracting and retaining talent, inclusivity and employee engagement. Perk stipends also represent the most popular new lifestyle benefit that companies have introduced after the pandemic.
One of the most impactful and relevant benefits of offering a remote stipend as a perk especially today is that it's adaptable for ANY working environment - whether that's back to the office, 100% remote, or something in between in your own version of a hybrid work model.
Here are even more specific benefits of a remote stipend or reimbursement program:
Strategic benefits for employers:
If you're still wondering why your remote team should have perks, here's a piece detailing why your remote employees need support like your on-site team members.
Here at Compt, most of our customers who set up remote work stipends select one or more items from the following broad-based categories for their employees to spend in.
The broad-based categories is a deliberate approach to remote perks. With a broad-based approach, you're able to avoid building out a long list of vendors and initiatives you'll cover. If you do want to pick specific vendors, then you may want to go with a vendor-based approach.
Some examples include offering $100/month, $500/quarterly, or $2,000 annually.
If you are interested in getting insight into what the most successful companies do, we can share some insider information. You can also decide you want to offer a stipend only to remote team members or one to them in addition to what you offer all employees.
In the examples above, you'll notice that they most often surround a category of spendings like health and wellness, continuous learning, family, or travel.
Doing it this way allows you to create a custom program for your team and then allows 100% personalization for them.
If you're looking for ideas for spending categories beyond a remote stipend, consider tying them to your company's culture, goals, or important cultural initiatives.
Managing the perk allowance manually
If you choose this option, be prepared to set up a process to track purchases, receipts, balances, approval and paid 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).
Choose software to help you manage this
Options like Compt can help communicate your programs to your team members, track balances and spending, scale the process for you, eliminate a large portion of work, and provide valuable metrics. Plus, Compt is 100% IRS compliant, making you and your finance team's job much easier.