Spotlight on Benefits for Remote Employees

As companies navigate the current pandemic environment, one challenge at the forefront for many is engaging a remote workforce. The shift to remote work will not be a temporary one — it is almost certain that many companies will transition permanently to a more remote workforce post-pandemic.

Given this shift, companies need to take a closer look at every aspect of their HR programs and policies — from talent acquisition, to compensation, to performance management, to benefits.

Benefit Program Considerations Specific to a Remote Workforce

Home Office Equipment and Expenses

Employees are in the best position to do their jobs if they have the best tools to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. We recommend that companies support their remote employees by providing them with computer hardware, software and other resources needed to set up an effective home workstation. In addition, companies should consider reimbursement or a stipend to cover monthly home office expenses, such as internet and phone.

Opportunities for Learning and Development

Access to learning and development opportunities has always been an effective employee benefit. Ensuring your remote employees are given opportunities is especially important. The availability of online courses makes it easier to offer remote employees such opportunities. Allowing an employee to advance their subject matter expertise within their career, or to learn a new technology or software program, will make them feel valued and help them to do their job better. This is a win-win for the employee and the company.

Health and Wellness Benefits

An employee’s physical and mental well-being should be top of mind for companies. Employee well-being enhances employee engagement and enablement, which helps to maximize employee effectiveness. Navigating the pandemic is challenging for everyone in your organization. Employees working remotely for the first time may feel very isolated. Many employees are feeling stressed and anxious. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important than ever in this environment. If there isn’t one already in place, we recommend companies consider offering a health and wellness allowance to put towards exercise equipment, fitness programs, etc. to help employees prioritize wellness as well as a myriad of health topics that can be accessed via their intranet. Companies can also help to maximize participation with incentives for completing the activities.

Childcare Benefits

Remote workers will likely find themselves trying to juggle work and family. Having access to quality childcare is critical for working parents, and the lack thereof creates a major distraction. While some employers offer on-site subsidized and back-up childcare, it is important that employers offer comparable benefits to remote employees. Childcare benefits like childcare subsidies, vouchers for local daycare providers, allowances for camps for school-aged children for when school is not in session, or back-up care subsidies will be a much appreciated benefit with a return-on-investment.

Flexible Work Hours

Companies that offer flexible work hours are especially attractive to remote workers. To the extent possible, consider allowing remote employees to find a schedule that works best for them. A strict schedule or micromanagement of remote employees could actually reduce productivity for employees. As long as employees are meeting their goals and performing well, it is recommended to give them the flexibility, within reason, they need to thrive both personally and professionally.


An increase in remote employees makes it necessary for companies to review benefit programs to ensure that the offerings meet the needs of a remote workforce. Since most companies will continue to have a mix of onsite and remote employees, we would recommend that the benefits be flexible so that employees can select the programs that are most important to them.

Written by: Jill Rea, BCR Consultant