When most agencies sent their employees home last year, there were additional expenses that cropped up. Bigger monitors, cell phones, internet, etc.
Now that agencies are heading back to the office (or even if they’re staying remote) they’re deciding which of those expenses are the agency’s responsibility and which are the employees?
Here’s how agencies are approaching this additional cost.

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Hey, everybody Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, still coming to you from the beautiful Pacific Beach, California. Several of you have wondered and asked me why I’m here for so long. I’ve had a couple of peer groups in a row decide that they wanted to hold their meeting here. As you know, with our peer groups we spent three days together talking about best practices, challenges that they’re facing, commiserating on the hard part, celebrating the good news. And one of the topics that came up in both meetings, was the idea of how are you handling employees expenses if they’re still working from home. So if you are either you’re staying virtual or you have not gone back to the office or like most agencies, you are back in the office but maybe one day a week, you are working from home. Your employees are using some of their personal investments, cell phone, internet things like that on the agency’s behalf. And the reactions from agency owners have been quite wide in the range. So one agency owner said, you know what? They had a cell phone and they had internet before we started working from home. Our work is not taxing their cell phone. They’ve got an unlimited data plan. They have unlimited data on their internet. So we’re not reimbursing because we’re not adding to their expense. Other agency owners have said, you know what? We are going to, we are giving our employees a stipend every month. 50 or 75 dollars to help offset some of the expense of the cell phone or the internet. Other agencies are saying you know what, we’re not giving stipends but what we are doing is once or twice a year we are asking our employees to file an expense report. Which by the way, that’s how they’re handling the 50 Which by the way, that’s how they’re handling the 50 or 70 dollar stipend as well, through an expense report. So your employees are not taxed on the stipend. We’re asking our employees to file an expense report so that we can reimburse them, but we’re not doing it every month. And other agencies are saying, what we’re doing is we’re asking our employees to make specific requests. I want another monitor. I need a better desk chair. I need better lighting so that I’m not in shadow on a Zoom call, whatever it may be. And then we’re purchasing those items on behalf of the employee so that they remain a company asset rather than something the employee owns. So if you’re wondering how to handle these additional expenses or inconveniences that your employees are experiencing know that, A, you’re not alone. And B, there is a wide range of reaction. I would say the lion’s share of agencies are doing the monthly stipend through an expense report of 50 or 75 dollars. The trick is you need to make sure that you clearly communicate that’s a work from home temporary benefit, and that once everybody’s back in the office, obviously you’re not going to keep doing that. Unless that’s what you decide to do because your employees are still doing some work at home. So whatever you decide, know you’re in good company. Other agencies are probably doing exactly what you’re doing But I wanted to give you the range. All right, I’ll be back next week. Talk to you soon.

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