In a word: absolutely.
Even before COVID-19 turned employees into teleworkers, companies were willing to compensate workers for home office expenses. Knowledge workers in tech are now receiving several hundred dollars a month to offset costs related to work from home.
Some of this budget will be devoted to improving the home network. Keeping employees connected was identified as an early need for business continuity, but now that companies have seen the benefits of remote work, they’re permanently adopting work from home.
Chalan Aras, Vice President of Products at Citrix Systems, sees an obvious way for organizations to cover the cost of supporting remote work.
“One observation we’ve had, at least in the Silicon Valley, many employers offer reimbursement for commute and transportation,” Aras says. “Whether it’s $50 or thereabouts, there’s already some money in many employer’s budget for employee benefits to accommodate where they live. Considering other savings, we do think there’s an opportunity for this.”
Savings actualized through smaller office overhead and a reduction in cost-of-living expenses will allow companies to finance an employee’s home office. This includes premium services to improve and protect a teleworker’s connection.
Companies were already reimbursing for an employee’s commute and transportation costs; why not allocate those budget items towards giving a teleworker the best connectivity experience possible?
Adding residential infrastructure to the budget will result in happier and more productive employees. More so, as the new normal sets in, prospects will expect some form of stipend or compensation for transforming their personal space into an office.
Work from home is expected to extend well into 2021 and beyond. Many companies intend to maintain distributed workforces even when it’s safe to return to the office. The new normal will be a mix of work from home and office time.
“There are, of course, desires to go back to work,” Aras says. “Our expectation is that this will be a very different mode of work rather than what we had pre-pandemic. People will be working at work and some will be at home. It will be more flexible. There will be many different situations where people need to work from home or want to work from, so we expect this to continue.”
In order to support this kind of flexibility, residences need to see some of the same upgrades and services that keep offices online. Considering savings found elsewhere, work from home stipends are an easy way for companies to maintain a modern and productive workforce.