The transition to working from home was difficult for many, and downright impossible for some. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies switched to remote work virtually overnight. The sudden changes threw people’s lives and work situations into uncertainty.
To offset the unusual circumstances, some companies have been offering stipends, reimbursements, and other bonuses to staff who were forced to work remotely. Although the practice is still relatively uncommon, it’s extremely helpful for workers and might catch on as more work is done remotely. Here’s why companies are offering stipends, which ones are doing it, and what it may mean for the future of work.
Getting Paid Extra to Work From Home
Doesn’t it sound great? Not only can you work from the comfort of your own home with no commute, but you’re even getting a bonus to do it! However, the reality for most people working from home unwillingly is not so idyllic.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 30 percent of Americans said they could work at home in 2018. While a home office sounds awesome, most people don’t really have the means to convert an entire room in their home to an office. Whatever workspace they create at home will likely be makeshift, and less comfortable than the office.
In addition, the supplies and resources available in an office will usually be a lot more than the average person has lying around at home. Plus, working full time at home will run up your electric bill a lot quicker than if you spent most of your time at the office. Long story short, working from home can be uncomfortable, tedious, and often expensive as you set up a home office. Companies that offer stipends or reimbursements for office spending are looking to help their staff with a transition that many find uncomfortable.
Moreover, fewer people in the office means fewer expenses for a company. Putting some of that money back toward supplying staff not only makes sense financially, but it’s also the right thing to do for employees.
Which Companies Are Doing It?
In late May, Google announced that the company would reimburse staff for up to $1,000 of spending on work from home essentials. Other major tech companies like Facebook and Twitter have tweaked their WFH policies, but few have gone as far as Google.
Some states, such as California and Massachusetts, have laws in place that protect employees from bearing the burden of work-related expenses when forced to work from home. While companies in those states can apply those laws differently, for the most part, that means they reimburse workers.
There’s no comprehensive list of which companies offer these kinds of benefits, but plenty do. Look into the laws in your state and reach out to someone within your company to see if there’s an existing policy!
What Does the Future Look Like?
Although most Americans weren’t well equipped to work from home before the pandemic, a majority now say they’d prefer to work from home as much as possible, even after restrictions are lifted. Forty-four percent even said they’d take a pay cut if it meant they could work from home in the future.
Work from home is a key part of the future of work overall. Stipends from companies, or reimbursement programs like Google is offering, can help allow more workers to shift into an arrangement they prefer, while potentially saving companies money on the whole.