Who should pay for the home office?

2nd Jul 2021


When we worked in a traditional office 9-6, offices were paid for by the employer. It would have been very unusual to encounter an individual paying for their own equipment and office space. However, since the pandemic, our homes have been our offices; thus blurring the lines between “work space” and “home space”, and making it harder to define who pays for what. 

Given that some companies are now saving large sums of money on office costs, shouldn’t they be giving some of that back to the employees to kit themselves out with a comfortable work from home setup?

While paying for a whole work from home office might sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be. There are loads of options for companies to help employees with working from home costs. I’ll run through the options for companies, and what should be considered. 

Offering a remote work stipend, or allowance

This could be anything from a one-off payment of £250-£1,000, like Canda; a monthly work from home allowance, like Impala; or an annual payment, like Banked. You can read more about what they offer by clicking on the links to their company pages. 

Remote work allowances can be used for a  variety of reasons. What you wish to allow can be outlined in company policies, or just communicated verbally throughout the organisation.

Work from home stipends are often used for new office equipment, such as desks, ergonomically designed chairs (that don’t hurt your back!), and additional monitors. Sometimes, they are used to cover costs like food and coffee, or things to help with productivity, such as a faster internet connection and subscriptions to productivity tools. 

Some companies even offer generous policies that allow employees to spend their budget on plants, diffusers, and other wellness enhancing products. A great example of this approach can be seen at our partner, INSHUR.

A work from home stipend / allowance can be paid monthly with salary, quarterly, given as a one-time payment, or as a reimbursement for costs incurred by employees and then reclaimed. 

Another option for the employer is to engage directly with a home office equipment supplier, such as Hofy, to provide all the requisite furniture, chairs and so forth to support team members who are working from home.

A great example of a flexible wellbeing provider can be seen at another partner of ours, Juno.

 

 

Considering a co-working allowance

A really interesting trend that we’ve seen taking off at Flexa is the number of our Flexified partners that are providing an additional allowance for a co-working space. Although we’re all big work from home fans here at Flexa, we’re also hugely supportive of this movement. 

For some people, the necessity to work from home at all times can be a deal breaker; this is often the case for those who live in a house or flat share, or employees who have young children. We truly believe that the future of working is choice, so enabling team members to work from a co-working space, at times, is something that we really value. 

When we benchmark companies through our unique Flexification process, we actually provide additional points for companies who not only support flexible working, but also provide a budget for a co-working space. These companies are offering genuine choice in the working environment, which is great to see. An example of this approach can be seen at our Flexified partner, Frontastic.

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Benefits of offering a working from home stipend or co-working budget

Competitive edge: only 20%-25% of companies currently share the cost of remote working with their employees. Becoming a leader in this area offers a low-cost, low effort opportunity to grow your employer brand profile and, ultimately, find great hires. Additionally, you will be likely to see a retention benefit with current team members (avoiding the fate of those companies that will suffer from the Great Resignation!)

 

Improved productivity and happiness: it can be hard working from your kitchen table everyday, or not having a laptop stand and keyboard. Ensuring that everyone has the tools needed to do their jobs efficiently, rather than relying on individuals to financially prioritise this and pay for it themselves, will provide an upside to the company through happy employees and more efficient work-time!

 

Better flexibility: an allowance for co-working spaces improves the standard of your flexible working environment by giving employees the choice to work from somewhere that isn’t their own home. Candidates are looking for this benefit, as working from the same space everyday can harm creativity and productivity, but co-working spaces can be expensive for individuals, so it’s a brilliant perk for companies to consider. 

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