The work from home market is exploding, and because of this, your employer may be willing to pay for your job-related expenses. Moreover, we are in the midst of a large-scale transition. As a society, we are moving away from centralized corporate office environments. Instead, we are opting for more of a “Hoffice” or home office culture.
In 2020 alone, 88% of the world’s corporations decided to encourage their staff to work from home. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, 4.7 million people were already working from home in the United States alone.
Enter 2021. We have all learned a great deal about working from home over the last year. Many of us are settled into our makeshift home office full-time or are increasingly asked to do remote work part-time. Others are newly entering the work-from-home marketplace. Regardless of which stage we’re in, let’s make the most of it.
Often working from home can require additional costs. We may or may not be prepared for this extra spending. You’ll likely notice an increase in utilities and the cost of extra bandwidth. Plus, there is the cost of setting up and maintaining a working office.
So then, the question becomes, “What expenses will my employer pay for if I work from home?” Let’s read on and find out!
State and Federal Laws
It should be pointed out, there are no federal laws that require companies to provide home office compensation. However, the place you live may determine what reimbursements you qualify for.
Some states do have laws that support the employee. They require companies to cover basic office expenditures. These laws are in place to prevent employers from transferring company overhead onto their workers.
If you live in the following states, you may qualify for reimbursements: California, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and DC.
Less than 25% of American companies offer a regular stipend for their telecommuting workforce. In light of this, what expenses is an employer likely to pay to a work from home employee?
Expenses That May Qualify Include:
- Internet Access
- Necessary Office Equipment
- Printer and Ink
- Company Phone and Data Plan
In most cases, the employee pays out of pocket. They are then reimbursed later.
Why Employers Love Work from Home Employees
Working from home is great for nearly everyone involved. We may be aware of the perks for employees, but hardly anyone is talking about how working from home empowers employers. This matters because, as an employee, you want to understand how your employer profits from remote work. From this vantage point, you are better equipped to negotiate compensation with your manager.
Don’t be shy. Talk with your boss. Tell them what your needs are. In today’s market and with current technology, it greatly benefits an employer to have employees that work from home.
How Home-Based Employees Benefit Employers
Employers with the majority of their labor force working from home get to cut back on many expenses. Annually, it can cost a large corporation $14,800 per staff member for office space! Wow!
Therefore, providing a small, non-taxed payout to a work from home employee is really not an exorbitant expense. This is especially true when a company can write off its expenditures come tax time.
Other incentives may include:
- Employee satisfaction leads to employee retention. This translates to lower turnover and less training.
- A diverse international labor force means employers can hire the best.
- Overall there is an increase in productivity and efficiency.
- Employers can save on utilities, property rentals/building contracts, insurance, vendor fees, and the like.
For a large, multinational corporation to spend a few hundred dollars to help out their remote workers is the right thing to do. This is especially true when considering their overall operational cost savings. Let’s crunch some numbers, shall we?
For example, let’s say a corporation has 67,000 employees. If they can get most of them to work from home, let’s say 90% of the time, that is a huge savings. They will save almost 4 million dollars per DAY! That’s a bombshell revelation right there!
For this reason, feel free to ask for a little compensation.
Extras That Some Employers Are Providing
As we found out, employers are not required, in most states, to provide compensation. Fortunately, some companies do offer work from home perks and cover some expenses.
With all the benefits that we see employers gaining by facilitating a work from home corporate model, we can better understand why it is in their best interest to provide essential accommodation for at home workers.
Here are some additional expenses your employer may pay if you work at home:
- A Portion of Utilities
- A Percentage of the Rent
- Postage and Shipping Supplies
- Online Subscriptions
- MS Office
- Communication Apps
- Design Programs
- Office Supplies
- Office Furniture
Be sure to do your part as well. You may need to fill out an expense report. Detail work-related costs accrued by working from home. Also, be sure to attach applicable receipts. This enables your employer to track costs. Plus, they can make appropriate deductions for tax purposes.
As a professional, what is your market value? Meaning, what are other skilled personnel in your field making? Are you above the pay average or below it? This may be important because it can help you decide if you want to approach your employer about a raise or reimbursement for home office related expenses.
If you are already making well above the market average, yet are not receiving any kind of additional compensation for working from home, then the issue may be moot. Besides, you have to consider that working from home saves you a lot of money. In such a case, this savings can offset the cost of running a home office.
On the other hand, if your salary is significantly below the market value for your position, then some changes will be in order. You may want to not only ask for a raise but also ask for additional compensation for the costs you accrue while working from home.
Additionally, your relationship with your employer is often a direct indicator of the kind of compensation you will receive.
For instance, some companies have no standardized reimbursement program. However, many will accommodate employees with a legitimate need and who ask for reimbursement.
Bringing It All Together
To conclude, more and more companies are offering a work from home framework for their employees. In such cases, it is not unreasonable to ask your boss for compensation. As running a home office can be expensive.
If you are setting up your office from scratch and need a variety of equipment, computer hardware, and even furniture, then this is a small price for your employer to pay.
As we have seen, the more companies send their employees home, the more they will have a dramatic reduction in the cost of doing business. Consequently, some of that cost savings should be extended to the employee as well.
Unquestionably, employers know this. They are more likely to offer a one-time expense payout or even a regular stipend that enables their employees to do their best work while working from home.