Benefits & Leave 8 min

Work from home stipends: a guide for employers

Written by Barbara Matthews
May 31, 2024
Barbara Matthews


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If you have remote employees, a work from home stipend is a great way to ensure that they are physically comfortable and, as a result, productive.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways you can encourage your team members to use their work from home stipends, and provide some tips and best practices for ensuring your stipends provide value.

So, let’s jump straight in.

What is a work from home stipend?

Work from home stipends — also known as remote work stipends — are a financial allowance for employees who work remotely. They are designed to help cover the expenses involved in setting up and maintaining a home office. 

According to a recent Forbes Advisor survey, home office stipends are the third-most desired benefit for remote workers.

Are ​​work from home stipends taxable?

This depends on the tax laws in your employee’s location, although, in most countries, stipends are considered taxable income.

What do work from home stipends cover?

You should specify in your stipend policy what exactly your employees can use it for. Generally, they aim to cover the following:

Office furniture 

Most work from home stipends are primarily intended for ergonomic office furniture. This equipment is fundamental to preventing strain and injury over long periods, and ensures that your team members are comfortable in their working environment.

Some examples of ergonomic furniture that could be covered by a stipend include:

  • Ergonomic chairs

  • Desks

  • Monitor stands

  • Lighting solutions, like desk lamps

  • Storage solutions, like drawer units or shelves

Technology and equipment

Most companies provide laptops and relevant peripherals (such as a keyboard and mouse) as standard, meaning they’re not included as part of the employee’s stipend. However, there may be additional supplementary equipment or hardware that the employee needs to be productive, such as:

  • Monitors (or extra monitors)

  • Graphic tablets

  • High-quality webcams

  • Noise-canceling headphones

  • Microphones

Software and subscriptions

Again, if your employees require software or subscriptions to do their job, these should be provided as standard — not as part of the stipend. However, your employees may require additional software or subscriptions to make their lives easier or to boost their productivity, such as:

  • Wellness apps

  • Organizational tools

  • Role-specific support tools

Internet and communication expenses

A robust WiFi connection is crucial for home-based remote workers. Therefore, some companies are happy to cover all (or part) of their employees’ internet and communication expenses, including:

  • Internet plan upgrades

  • WiFi coverage enhancement (e.g., WiFi extenders or mesh network systems)

  • Work-related mobile data and calls packages

  • A dedicated phone line


Working from home also means an increase in household utility bills, which can be covered in part by a stipend. These might include electricity bills and internet bills, as well as an allowance for groceries or food deliveries.

link to What are the best benefits for remote employees?

What are the best benefits for remote employees?

From health insurance to home office stipends, these are the best benefits and perks to offer your remote employees.

Advantages of work from home stipends

Work from home stipends come with a lot of benefits for both you and your team members, including:

Enhanced employee productivity

By providing ergonomic furniture and the latest tech equipment, companies ensure that their remote team members have a work environment that’s conducive to productivity.

Ability to attract and retain talent

According to a recent survey by FlexJobs, 96% of working professionals stated that the ability to work from home at least part of the time would best support their mental health. Offering a work from home stipend on top of that is a great way to make these individuals even more satisfied — and more likely to stay with your company. 

Cost savings for employees

Stipends reduce the financial burden of setting up and maintaining a home office, meaning your employees will be less stressed and more productive.

Disadvantages of work from home stipends

There are, of course, some downsides too such as:

Financial burden on employers

You might have to reallocate funds from other areas to pay these stipends, depending on how large they are. This could potentially put a strain on your financial resources. However, it’s worth remembering that you would have needed to pay equipment costs, energy bills, and other outgoings if your remote employees were working on-site.

Potential inequality among employees

Stipends can create disparities among employees. For instance, those who work in areas with a higher cost of living might find the stipend insufficient compared to colleagues in regions with lower everyday expenses. Unless managed fairly, this discrepancy can lead to feelings of inequality and dissatisfaction, negatively impacting employee morale.

Additional administrative work

Implementing stipends involves setting clear policies, determining eligibility, and managing ongoing payments. This process can be complex and time-consuming.

There is also always the risk that the stipends will be abused. Ensuring that they are used as intended requires receipt monitoring, which can add to the administrative load.

Fortunately, you can easily mitigate this work by using a global HR platform, like Remote. Our platform allows you and your people to easily manage expenses.

Examples of work from home stipends

At Remote, we offer all our people a generous work from home stipend — and we’re not the only ones. Some other examples of companies that offer such stipends include:

  • Basecamp. Basecamp’s parent company, 37signals, provides up to $3,000 for desks, desk chairs, computer accessories, and other office furniture during the employee’s first year with the organization.

  • Buffer. Buffer offers home office allowance of $500 per employee, as well $200 per year for tech accessories and an additional $200 per month for “coffee shop working.” It also offers an internet reimbursement scheme.

  • Webflow. Webflow provides a monthly $380 stipend to each of its remote employees for their home office needs.

  • HubSpot. HubSpot provides a $1,000 stipend for its remote employees.

Best practices for work from home stipends

To ensure that your work from home stipend program is effective and successful, consider the following tips:

Clarify your team’s needs

As with any benefit, your stipend is a waste of money if nobody is finding it useful. Therefore, it’s essential to understand the needs of your workforce and tailor the stipend according to those needs.

To find out what your employees need:

  • Conduct surveys. Ask your workers to answer surveys to gain insights on how to improve their home office setup. Make sure that the questionnaire covers various home office aspects, such as furniture, technology, and other work-related tools.

  • Set up one-on-one meetings. If you want a more detailed understanding of your workforce’s needs, set up one-on-one meetings with individual team members. Doing so can help you better understand these workers’ unique requirements.

  • Analyze specific remote job roles. Revisit the specific tasks assigned to each remote role and double-check that these employees have the resources and tools they need to deliver optimal performance.

Define your policies clearly

Develop clear guidelines on what the stipend covers and clearly outline the process for receiving the stipend.

There are several ways you can offer your remote work stipend:

  • As a one-time stipend (a lump sum for newly hired employees to set up their home office.)

  • As a regular stipend (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual allowances for purchasing necessary items)

  • As reimbursements (monthly or annual reimbursements of exact costs)

Set a realistic budget

Budgeting for a stipend program is a balancing act between supporting your workers’ needs and maintaining your company’s financial health. 

Review your company's current financial situation and evaluate how much you can realistically allocate to the stipend program without compromising other critical areas of the business.

Monitor and adjust

After implementing your stipend program, monitor its effectiveness. 

Gather feedback from employees regularly to gain insights into what’s working and what’s not. Be prepared to make adjustments as necessary, depending on changes in the cost of living and your company’s financial performance.

Manage your stipends with Remote

Work from home stipends are not just a form of financial aid. They represent your company’s investment in its employees’ comfort, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.

If you’re thinking of offering this benefit to your global workers, Remote can help you develop and implement an attractive package while staying legally compliant in all regions. We can also simplify the administrative process, making it quick and simple to manage your people’s expenses.

To find out how exactly we can help your business, talk to one of our friendly experts today.

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