When you land a remote job or work for a remote-first company, you’ll often notice there is something called a “work from home stipend” or also a “remote work stipend.”
This employee perk is offered to all remote employees at the company.
But what is a WFH stipend? Why should all companies hire remotely have one? How can you best utilize this money that your employer offers? And can you request a stipend if you currently don’t have one?
I’ll explore this and more in this guide to all things stipends. Let’s dive right in!
What Is A Work From Home Stipend?
A work from home (WFH) stipend is a fixed amount of money that is set aside by the company for remote employees to use for their home office and other remote work-related expenses. This bonus benefit is in addition to salaries, which can be paid as a lump sum or on some recurring basis.
What is the average remote work stipend?
Typically, you can expect an average total stipend sum between $250 – $2,500. The amount you receive when working from home varies by company. Some employers will pay monthly or yearly, and others offer it as a one-time stipend bonus when you are hired.
When you begin searching for remote jobs, most of the remote companies will include what their stipend is in the job listing. Other companies that are hybrid may or may not directly add it to the job they are hiring for.
However, you also can find some stipend information on a company career page on their website or through employee review sites like Comparably.
Is a work from home stipend included in a salary?
A work from home stipend is completely separate from salary and is generally still taxable. The amount of stipend the company offers is fully available for you to use as needed for your remote work setup or further learning.
Additionally, some remote companies offer reimbursement instead of a work from home stipend. This is where you will pay for your home office items and then submit them to your company so they pay the amount spent back to you.
Both options have their pros and cons. But either way, having these options is still a great perk overall when working remotely.
Examples of what WFH stipends can cover
Typically, companies offering this remote work bonus cash must go towards home office equipment, further education, or other related expenses that help you be more productive.
However, your employer may allow you to use it as you see fit. Just check with your manager and their work policy on any stipends.
But here are some common ways to use this money:
- Put towards home electricity.
- Internet and cell phone plans.
- Laptop or computer system.
- Essential hardware like display monitors, keyboard, mouse.
- Headphones or microphones.
- Printer, paper, ink.
- A desk and ergonomic computer chair.
- Learning and professional development subscriptions.
- Stress and mental health accessories or apps.
- Access to shared coworking spaces.
- Food and drink during the working day.
There are lots of great things you can do with the stipend to establish a home office that maximizes your creativity and productivity.
Ensure you understand your company’s policy though, as some stipends are only allowed for specific things. And others, the lump sum of cash is yours to do what you’d like.
How to Request a Work From Home Stipend as an Employee
While a vast majority of remote companies will have stipends or at minimum, a reimbursement plan, some organizations that are new to work from home might not have anything at all.
It doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to offer something, it may have not fully crossed their minds as they move into this future of work. This is where you will need to be proactive and ask about a work from home stipend to cover some of your remote expenses.
Before you ask your manager about implementing a stipend policy, you’ll want to be prepared to back up your request. If you are disorganized and unprepared, it makes getting a “no” really easy.
So here are some steps to request a WFH stipend:
- What are the common costs for your home office? If the company doesn’t send specific remote equipment, then you’ll want to write down what each costs you. Think laptop, display screen, chair, computer hardware (mouse, keyboard, cables, etc.).
- Any monthly recurring costs for working remotely? Think about the internet costs, if you go to coworking spaces, learning platforms to help your professional career, etc. These are also worth including and show the benefits to you and other employees these have.
- List out the benefits a work from home stipend has to the employer and employee. Think about productivity, how it attracts top talent, encourages workplace satisfaction and employee retention, tax benefits to the employer, or anything else you can think of to show the positive impact.
- Utilize this post and look at other remote companies’ policies on stipends. All the most successful remote organizations in the world offer a stipend to their employees. And all are some of the most sought-after companies to work at.
- Look up the laws or legal requirements, especially if you work remotely in another country. Depending on your location, there might be different laws that a company has to follow when it comes to benefits like stipends. Just do some light research and gather any articles if needed.
Once you feel confident in your numbers and thoughts, schedule time to chat with your manager. Give a general overview and write a short document of everything, as well as any questions that needed to be addressed in your conversation.
Potentially, they may formally work with HR or may ask for you to submit the request. Hopefully, your company will take it seriously and formally introduce something to the team!
If you get pushback
It is very possible that your manager or HR will not be open to a stipend right now. Potentially, it requires more planning and expense analysis or they brush it off as something being looked into at a future time.
For example, you could request a one-time payment to cover the expenses of setting up your home office. This payment could cover a desk, desk chair, computer monitor, etc.
Or more commonly, ask your employer to provide you with the equipment that would usually be provided to a person working in the office. Many remote organizations do this and also offer a remote stipend on top of that.
Companies that Offer Work From Home Stipends
Pretty much all remote-first companies offer work from home stipends. But as remote work has grown more common and popular, other organizations are using this bonus to help attract talent.
While there are tons of companies with stipends, here are a few with various ranges.
|Company||WFH Stipend||Learn More|
|Remote Stipend||$500 one time for home office, $1,000 for learning, up to $150 per month for coworking space costs||Remote has perks and benefits listed in its detailed and public employee handbook. Read it here.|
|Google Stipend||$1,000 for home office equipment.||One-time payment to cover equipment and other office expenses for their remote employees. Learn more here.|
|HubSpot Stipend||$60 monthly stipend, and other bonuses.||HubSpot moved to a more hybrid work model, you can read more here.|
|Automattic Stipend||Amount not listed, but on their career page: |
“We offer home office setup and coworking allowances.”
“We’re also happy to pay for any hardware, software, books, or conferences that promote continued learning.”
|If you want to learn more about working at Automattic and their stipend policy, check out their benefits page here.|
|Basecamp Stipend||$1,000 for the home office, every three years. During the first year at Basecamp, you can expense up to $2,000. And $200/month for coworking space.||Basecamp is easily one of the leaders of the remote work movement. You can read more in their public handbook. Read it here.|
|Webflow Stipend||$1,000 to use within 90 days for remote office setup, $380 per month for remote work expenses, and $200 a month to spend on health and wellness.||Webflow offers a nice mix of stipends to use. Learn more about them on their careers page.|
|Buffer Stipend||Get a laptop + $500 to set up your home office. They also offer 4-day workweeks currently as well.||Buffer is a super transparent company when it comes to salaries and benefits. You can learn more about their culture and stipends here.|
|Cockroach Labs Stipend||Besides being a Flex Friday leader, they offer $2,500 annually to support learning and development via workshops, conferences, and events.||Learn more about their culture, flex Fridays, and stipends on their career page here.|
|Oyster Stipend||Oyster provides everyone with a laptop and $1,500 for equipment and office set-up.||Learn more about Oyster’s perks, benefits, and stipends on its career page here.|
|Zapier Stipend||$2,000 for annual learning.||Annual learning stipend for use on courses, conferences, and more. Learn more.|
Why Should Businesses Offer a Remote Work Stipend?
As an employer hiring remotely, you should most definitely consider having a remote work stipend. While you want to be efficient with your company budgets, this stipend can greatly improve your team’s productivity and business revenue.
The stipend typically will improve employee productivity, increase workplace satisfaction, and help attract top talent looking for great remote perks.
Benefits of a remote work stipend include:
- Reduces time managing reimbursements or purchasing office supplies for remote employees.
- Employees will be excited about being able to choose things for their home office, paid for by their employer.
- Helps stimulate productivity, as employees can buy things that fit their needs as it relates to computer items, chairs, and other things to increase their results and motivation.
- Recruiting new hires can cost a company up to 3x to 4x of the position’s salary! So retaining top talent and ensuring they remain happy employees is a must. Offering incentives, perks, and great remote stipends can help improve retention rates.
- Helps your company tax bill at the end of the year as stipends are a business expense. Lowering any tax burden is always a positive thing for your company.
Are WFH stipends mandatory for remote companies?
If you represent a remote company or are hiring remotely, you might wonder if offering a stipend is a requirement. A work from home stipend is not mandatory to offer remote employees. However, it can have many benefits and will attract better talent to the job.
It’s easy to feel like a WFH stipend is an unnecessary expense.
But you need to think about the long-term impact on talent attraction, productivity, employee engagement, and how minimal of a cost it is compared to being in the office.
A stipend for remote employees should be seen as a necessary investment into the success of your business and people.
If you lead a company hiring remotely, then you should encourage a policy that includes a work from home stipend.
This not only gives you a competitive hiring advantage but is certainly becoming more expected by remote talent. Work with company leaders to implement this into the financial planning and any remote work policies.
If you are a remote worker and don’t have a stipend currently, it’s worth connecting with your manager about covering some portion of expenses or for learning opportunities.
Reminder, a stipend should be in addition to your salary, not reflected in your salary or taken directly from it. I’d call that a red flag if that’s what the company does currently.
The other option you have is a reimbursement plan if a stipend request is getting more pushback or will require time. This can still allow you to cover home office items or professional learning in a reasonable amount.
Either way, a work from home stipend is a great perk and incentive.