The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work Stipends

The best and most impactful way to support your remote and hybrid employees, wherever they live.

Updated 2/2/23


People across the globe have become accustomed to working remotely.

They have more flexibility and work-life balance than ever before - no wonder they don't want to return to the office!

Companies that adapt to the needs of their most important asset - the people! - are coming out on top in a tight labor market.

The ideal method for supporting your remote employees, which is also the most flexible and scalable option for HR, is a remote perk stipend - also known as a remote work allowance or remote employee reimbursement.

With stipends, an employer can offer more perks with less money, and ensure availability to everyone regardless of where they work. Who wouldn't want that? Remote workers will likely be a part of every organization's future. That's why we developed this guide to everything you need to know about remote work stipends.

Here's what is covered in this guide:

  1. What is a remote stipend
  2. Examples of remote work stipends
  3. Benefits of remote work stipends
  4. What people spend their remote work stipend on
  5. How to create one for your organization
  6. Work-from-home stipend FAQs

What is a remote work stipend?

First, a definition:

A remote work stipend, or remote work allowance, is a sum of money given to employees for them to use to access perks while working remotely.

A remote work stipend can be used in one or both ways:

  1. To purchase home office equipment, a coworking pass, coffee, and anything else that makes their remote work locations comfortable, productive, or successful. It can be a one-time equipment stipend or an ongoing stipend for home office expenses.
  2. To purchase general perks that an on-site team has access to, but a remote employee does not, such as food, health and wellnesslearning and development perks, etc.

Further details on what they are:

  • Stipends can be given out on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. 
  • It is comprised of taxable and non-taxable items. Taxes can be grossed up by the employer or employees can cover the taxes.

11 Examples of Remote Work Stipends

As mentioned above, when setting up a remote work stipend, there are two approaches:

  1. You can set up a stipend to help them build their remote work environment, or
  2. You can set up a general perk stipend that gives your team access to personalized perks. If you're a hybrid company, you can craft this type of stipend so that you support your remote workers and on-site people equally.

Below are three examples highlighting the unique approaches regardless of remote work policy:

1. HubSpot, a hybrid-remote company

They provide one stipend for their remote people:

$60/month tax-free monthly stipend to their remote people

2. Webflow, a company with 70% of its team remote around the globe

They provide three stipends for their team:

  • $250/month for remote work expenses
  • $200/month (for everyone) health & wellness stipend
  • $1,000/year (for everyone) continuous learning stipend

Learn more about how Compt helped Webflow make perk allowances possible at their company.

3. Basecamp, a fully remote company

They offer the following perk allowances for their team members:

  • $100/month coworking space stipend
  • $100/month fitness allowance
  • $100/month massage allowance
  • $1,000/year continuing education allowance

To learn more about these in-depth and the thinking behind them, check out their post on employee benefits at Basecamp.

4. Buffer, a fully-remote company

  • $200/month for "Working Smarter" stipend for coffee shop working purchases
  • $500/teammate for home office set-up
  • $200/year for tech/office needs
  • Internet reimbursement stipend
  • $850/year continuous learning stipend

To learn more about these perks and their budget vs spent in 2019, check out this in-depth post about Buffer's perk stipend audit.

5. Appcues, over 100 employees in 11 different countries

  • $1000 stipend as a one-time payment for office setups
  • $500/year for remote work expenses 
  • Reimbursement for a co-working membership if you don't have office space

6. Gusto, hybrid team with many employees working from home some or all of the time

  • $500 one-time stipend to cover home office expenses
  • $40/month internet stipend

To learn more about Gusto—and the remote work benefits they offer employees—check out their profile on

7. Gimkit, a fully remote company

  • $300/month remote work stipend
  •  This stipend can be used for any remote work-related stipends, including membership to a co-working space or home office improvements
  • Gimkit also pays 30% more than the average worker with the same role and experience in each employee's area

For more information on Gimkit's work from home stipend, check out their write-up on WeWorkRemotely.

8. Plaid, "(Ple)mote" first; allows employees to choose where they work best

  • $1000 one-time stipend to cover home office expenses
  • $50/month internet stipend
  • $150/month stipend to cover co-working membership (only for certain teams)

For more about Plaid and their remote work benefits, check out their profile on

9. Zillow, 90% of the workforce works from home at least part of the time

  • $450 one-time stipend for home office setup
  • $150/month stipend to cover WFH-related costs 

For more on Zillow's remote work stipend, check out their profile on

10. Almanac, fully remote company with employees across the globe

  • $400 one-time stipend to cover home office and equipment expenses

For more on Almanac's remote work perks, check out the company's benefits page.

11. Calm, a remote-first company

  • $750 one-time stipend to create a comfortable and productive WFH workspace

There are many more examples of companies doing this successfully. If you want to hear what our customers are doing, click here to talk with a Compt lifestyle benefits specialist.


Calculate how much your remote work stipend vendors cost you

Input some basic data into our Perks Vendor Cost Calculator to identify how much you're spending on all of your vendors for any remote work stipends you offer, and how much you can save by consolidating with Compt. Your CFO will thank you.


Benefits of remote work stipends

Many companies are turning to stipends, or some reimbursement policy, to support their employees in more meaningful ways

Not only does the perk stipend model offer a significant upside to how your company manages perks and benefits from the day-to-day management and tax perspective, but it also helps promote other strategic areas of the business such as your culture and values, attracting and retaining talent, inclusivity, and employee engagement.

Perk stipends also represent the most desirable new lifestyle benefit for HR and finance professionals alike.

Tactical benefits:

One of the most impactful and relevant benefits of offering a remote stipend as a perk especially today is that it's adaptable for ANY working environment - whether that's back to the office, 100% remote, or something in between in your own version of a hybrid work model.

Here are even more specific benefits of a remote stipend or reimbursement program:

IRS compliance:

  • If you use software like Compt, IRS compliance is automatically taken care of for you, making your HR and finance teams' lives' easier. (Note: While it's very common for companies under 100 employees to overlook the need to ensure tax compliance in their perk offerings, growing companies know how critical it is to have all employee compensation-related programs (like stipends) be done "by the book".)

Better perks:

  • Your team gets access to a broader base of benefits without needing to increase the overall budget. Because the pool of money is distributed to people, they pick what’s best for them instead of picking a few perks that everyone gets.  
  • Help employees get what they need when they need it, regardless of where they live. 

Increased efficiency:

  • Decrease the administrative burden on HR by avoiding vendor management in various locations, and/or eliminates the need to manage various software. 
  • Most organizations can agree, perks offered the traditional way wastes money on two fronts: 1. spending money on perks that go unused and 2. spending valuable time on picking, piloting, purchasing, managing, and communicating perks. With stipends, all of that is cut out and everyone gets what they need when they need it -- no wasted money or time. 

Strategic benefits for employers:

  • Align with culture/values: Can be adapted to offer all perks or support company values like a continuous learning stipend or a health and wellness stipend.
  • Scalable: Using a perk stipend allows you to easily scale up (or down) a perks program.
  • Mindful spending: Because employees get the money to pick what’s best for them, they spend more mindfully. Instead of requesting perks willy-nilly, people are more thoughtful about what they spend their money on.
  • Deeper connections: Perk allowances enhances the connection between employers and their team because they infuse trust. When people get to exercise autonomy and are treated that they’re the experts of their own world, the relationship deepens and becomes richer.

Additional benefits of a remote work allowance:

  • A remote work allowance will ensure your company has access to a greater pool of top talent, and a better ability to retain talent who wants more flexible work-from-home options.
  • What people purchase can relate to their home working space, work-life balance, mental health, or anything else that suits them and their always-evolving needs.
  • You provide them with the best, most relevant reward they could receive. As a New York Times piece put it, so many people aim for the "big reveal" but when giving gifts, people want something they can actually use.

If you're still wondering why your remote team should have perks, here's a piece detailing why your remote employees need support like your on-site team members

[Considering between perk software vendors? Check out our guide, Comparing Perks Software: Everything You Need to Know]


Learn even more about the never-ending benefits of Lifestyle Stipends

Download the free eBook to find out why lifestyle stipends are delighting employees, HR professionals, and finance teams alike!


What do people spend their remote work stipend on?

Here at Compt, most of our customers who set up remote work stipends select one or more items from the following broad-based categories in which their employees can spend:

The broad-based categories are a deliberate approach to remote perks. With this approach, you're able to avoid building out a long list of vendors and initiatives you'll cover. If you do want to pick specific vendors, then you may want to go with a vendor-based approach.


Here’s How to Set Up a Remote Work Stipend:

1. First, determine how much you want to offer your team members within what timeframe.

Some examples include offering $100/month, $500/quarterly, or $2,000 annually.

If you are interested in getting insight into what the most successful companies do, we can share some insider information. You can also decide whether you want to offer a stipend only to remote team members or one to them in addition to what you offer all employees.

2. Secondly, select your perk spending categories.

In the examples above, you'll notice that they most often surround a category of spending like health and wellness, continuous learning, family, or travel.

Doing it this way allows you to create a custom program for your team and then allows 100% personalization for them. 

If you're looking for ideas for spending categories beyond a remote stipend, consider tying them to your company's culture, goals, or important cultural initiatives.

3. Once you have this information determined, now it’s time to decide how you’ll manage the process.

Your options include:

Managing the perk allowance manually

If you choose this option, be prepared to set up a process to track purchases, receipts, balances, approval, and paid perks, as well as rejections or ones which need further review. Consider using Google forms to track submissions, excel, or Google sheets to track progress, and be sure to create a process to track the nontaxable vs. taxable (for IRS compliance).

Choose software to help you manage this

Options like Compt can help communicate your programs to your team members, track balances and spending, scale the process for you, eliminate a large portion of work, and provide valuable metrics. Plus, Compt is 100% IRS compliant, making you and your finance team's job much easier.

If you're looking for more, we wrote an in-depth guide to set up a lifestyle spending account here.


Work-from-Home Stipend FAQs

1. Are work-from-home stipends taxable?

Generally, work-from-home stipends are considered taxable income

Work-from-home stipends are not considered part of an employee's wages or salary—so the employer will not withhold taxes from that income, including Medicare or Social Security.

But work-from-home stipends are considered income. That means that they'll increase your taxable income for the year—so in the end, you'll end up paying taxes on your stipend income.

2. What is the average work-from-home stipend?

Because companies approach work-from-home stipends so differently, there's no single average for work-from-home stipends. For example, some companies give employees a one-time stipend to help them set up their home office (like Google, which gives remote employees a $1000 stipend to get their home offices up and running.) Others opt to give employees a monthly stipend (for example, $75 per month) to cover WFH-related costs, like internet, phone, and electricity. And others opt to do both.

Not only are the payment structures different, but the amount of the stipends can vary based on a variety of factors—for example, the cost of living in the area where the employee works from home or whether an employee is fully remote or spends some time in the office.

3. Is an internet stipend taxable?

As mentioned, while stipends are not considered wages, they are considered additional income—and, as such, are also considered taxable.

However, how a company pays for your internet can determine if it's taxable. Stipends are generally taxable—while reimbursements are not. So, if a company gives an employee a stipend, it's considered taxable. But if they reimburse the employee for out-of-pocket expenses—and include internet costs in those expenses? The reimbursement would not be subject to taxes.

4. How many companies offer remote work stipends?

There's no way to know exactly how many companies offer remote work stipends. For example, buildremote assembled a list of 101 companies that offer WFH stipends. But that list is by no means exhaustive and doesn't include small companies—many of which offer a variety of perks to their employees, including remote work stipends.

While there's no way to pin down exactly how many companies are offering WFH stipends, it is fair to say that the number of companies offering remote work stipends increased in the wake of COVID-19, when a huge percentage of companies shifted to full or partial remote operations.


Ready to see how a remote work stipend can engage your dispersed team?

We're here to talk through your company's current goals and challenges with supporting remote team members. Let's connect to show you how employee stipends can help you reach your people any time, anywhere.

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