The best remote companies recognize that having a remote-first (or pure remote) team introduces challenges and opportunities that can be addressed, at least in part, by remote-specific policies and perks that correspond to the lives of remote workers.

In our work with hundreds of remote companies, there are some fundamentals that we've uncovered, as well as some more interesting and unique ones, and we thought we'd share them here:

Here's what we found the leading remote companies doing:

Table Stakes:

(We consider these policies and perks to be great, but in many ways the essential ingredients of being a competent remote company.)

  • Home Desk Stipends: Teammates are only as effective as their workspace and tools, we've seen the best companies acknowledge this by makin sure that their teammates have great desks, chairs, monitors, microphones, and equipment to make collaboration and productivity a non-issue! From shipping new employees standard set-ups, to providing a gift card to set up their space, to providing a reimbursement, there are 100 ways to do this effectively.
  • WiFi Reimbursement: Great collaboration requires great connectivity, and the best companies recognize that it's in their interest to encourage and enable their team to upgrade to high performance internet for great conference calls, presentations, etc. A small cost with a high ROI in the grand scheme of things!
  • Phone Reimbursement: Arguably less important than the internet reimbursement. Same logic applies. Especially true for sales staff who might be using their phone for work more heavily.
  • Flexible Hours: The majority of great remote organizations push a document-centric/asynchronous workflow wherever they can, while empowering their employees to live their best lives with work and outside of it. Rigid 9-to-5 schedules are relics of the past.
  • Education / Events Stipends: Great remote companies are empowering their workers to learn, network, and grow. Of course not all companies can afford to do this, and not all employees want to do these things, but we applaud those making it an option.
  • Generous PTO (NOT Unlimited): This might be a 'hot take' but unlimited PTO tends to be a curse as much as a blessing. It can make it difficult if not impossible to get paid out for it if you leave or get terminated, and it leaves too much ambiguity on what you're 'entitled' to take off.
  • Fitness/Wellness Stipend: Many of the best companies we've seen are encouraging their employees to hire personal trainers, get massages, get gym memberships etc. Recognizing that a healthy and happy employee is an effective and productive one!

Creative Perks:

  • Travel Allowance / Stipends: GitLab really pioneered this one, and we think it's a great idea, employees are given a basic allowance to visit colleagues and/or cowork with their team.
  • 'Catering' / Meal Allowance: We've seen partnerships with the likes of DoorDash and Uber Eats, gift cards, or even basic reimbursements, treating your team to a meal or two can make their work-from-home lives so much nicer. Huge bonus points to the teams that find ways to make social lunches happen for their more time-zone-aligned teammates!
  • Company Retreats: Whether its a decadent trip to the tropics, or a modest get together at a park, whether its every quarter or once a year, we love seeing the companies that pull their people together to build camaraderie!
  • Home-Office Bonus Pay: We've seen some companies specifically cover an extra bedroom and/or coworking subscriptions to give their team fantastic workspaces.
  • Virtual Team Events Budgets: We've seen some companies that provide managers with a discretionary budget to bring things in like comedians, magicians, trivia hosts, etc to make virtual team events more fun and memorable.

Basics:

  • 401K
  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • HSA
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave
  • Stock Options / Stock-Plan

There are many more things to consider than this list captures, but we think this is a representative snapshot of what the best perks/policies look like for a high-performance modern remote organization. We will add to this when we discover new and compelling policies and perks!

What have you seen? What do you think is most important? Send us a note, or drop a comment!

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