Let's Talk: Remote Stipends

16th Aug 2021

with Jodie Craig, Internal Technical Recruiter at Prolific.

What is the one benefit you’d like to highlight?

We’d like to highlight one of our latest benefits, which is our remote stipend!

What is a remote stipend? 

At Prolific, under our remote stipend, we offer every employee £150 per month (£1,800 per year, before tax). The amount is simply added to our employees’ payslips so it goes straight into their bank account each month, it’s for them to spend on whatever they like. We don’t tell our employees what to spend the money on, but the idea behind a monthly stipend was to promote happiness and wellbeing, and encourage our people to create their ideal home working environment or treat themselves to something that brings them joy.

When was it introduced?

We introduced this benefit in July, so it’s very new. We implemented it as part of a refresh on our remote strategy. There’s still a way to go with that but promoting happiness and wellbeing was a priority for Prolific, so we launched it last month.

Why did the company want to introduce this benefit?

We really wanted to go a step further at Prolific, and make a more tangible effort to promote wellbeing within our company. It’s all well and good to tell your employees to take time off or take time out for exercise and self care, but the monthly remote stipend actually gives our employees the flexibility and control over what it is they’d like to do and providing them the means to do it. With the money going straight to our employees, it’s there for them to spend whenever and however they like, which we feel also promotes a level of inclusivity; it’s completely up the individual, plus it’s not something we monitor or have to approve, so there’s absolutely no judgment on what people spend it on, or additional admin on the employees.

How did you implement it? 

Whilst our Finance team had the heftier task of fine tuning the implementation, it was fairly easy to roll out to our teams. We made a company-wide announcement and explained what the monthly stipend is and how it works, and then it was just a case of it showing up on peoples’ payslips and going from there!

What was the cost implication? 

It’s an additional £1,800 per employee, per year, so that’s the cost implication to Prolific. We decided, however, that it’s important enough to go ahead with. If we make one less hire this year, then it’s totally worth it. Having a monthly remote stipend is also likely to make it easier for us to attract talent and hire for other roles, not to mention it promotes a much more inviting company culture and working environment. 

What was the reaction from your employees?

Really positive! As we were redefining our remote work strategy, lots of new benefits and treats were being introduced to our employees, but the remote  stipend was definitely the one that stood out and caught everyone's attention. It completely aligns with Prolific’s values; being friendly, trustworthy and inclusive. It reiterated to our employees that yes, we do really care about them and want them to thrive and be happy with us. 

What positive repercussions have you seen since it was introduced?

It might be a little too early to say, but I’m confident we’ve given everyone a boost and that this is something that’ll contribute to them being happier and more productive. Speaking from my own experience, I used to have a personal trainer but once the pandemic hit, I couldn’t really afford it and like many people, my physical health took a bit of a hit. Prolific’s remote stipend meant that I could start back up with my personal trainer this month, which has been amazing for me. 

Why does this benefit matter to your company and your employees?

It’s been a really challenging year for everyone, so I think now is a great time to introduce it and set the standard for how we want Prolific to scale. It’s something everyone can use to bring themselves a little bit of joy. Internally, we have a really open culture around mental health and mental wellbeing, so the monthly stipend is a tangible resource that we’re giving people in order to support them and improve their wellbeing. 

How has this benefit helped towards attracting new talent?

As Prolific’s Internal Recruiter, I always want to direct prospective employees to our external handbook. In the handbook, we include all of our benefits, our operating principles, our culture and values - basically everything there is to know about Prolific. Candidates are always grateful to receive the handbook and many comment on how much they love the transparency and that it appears we genuinely care about our people. Whilst it’s still early, I can imagine that including the remote stipend in our handbook will only increase the amount of positive feedback we receive and work towards attracting even more talent to Prolific.

People are actively seeking out employers who care for their employees and offer genuine flexibility, so we hope that our new remote strategy, which includes the monthly stipend and many other benefits will go a long way towards ensuring we are being as flexible and inclusive as possible.

What advice would you give to employers looking to offer this benefit? 

We’d encourage anyone to introduce a remote stipend. It gives people an opportunity to actually choose what they’d like to do and put it towards what makes them happy as an individual. I’ve worked for companies in the past who have something similar, like a “wellbeing allowance” but there always seemed to be strings attached over what you can and can’t send it on, or you have to expense it and then it might not get approved because the company doesn’t think it’s related to your wellbeing. At Prolific, we believe it’s not up to us to decide whether it’s good for your wellbeing or not, which is why we’ve done it in a way that means it’s not overseen by us, there’s no judgement, and I think that’s the more inclusive way to do it, because we’re not enforcing our beliefs on anyone and it’s left up to the individual to decide what contributes to their wellbeing. 

Prolific are a fantastically flexible employer who provide their employees with a wide range of wonderful benefits. If you'd like to find out more about Prolific and browse their latest vacancies, check out their company page!