One of the more heated internal debates in while has been whether companies should stop reimbursing employees for cellular phone costs. A number of large companies are thinking of this and a few have been rumored to instituted some policy recently about stopping reimbursements for cellular phones and broadband-at-home. The logic is that users will pay for them anyway since they use them for both work and home and it will save the company some costs. This may not be the right direction to move. To decide, first it’s important to understand which users we may be talking about.
For those that are full-time work-at-home (WAH) or on the road (meaning not in a home or office location) greater than five days per month, or routinely customer facing, I think it makes more sense to make sure you are meeting the requirements of the user with current programs versus cutting right away. These users are already saving money by not taking up costly real estate and are already subsidizing some work costs, electricity, heat/air conditioning, etc.—it wouldn’t be right to ask them to pick up more.
Look to pare down or eliminate services for other users that may have occasional needs but are currently fully reimbursed. Many companies have not put guidelines on who gets what services or how much is spent. No time like the present to get started.
There’s no doubt that everyone wants to save a job and help the company by saving money. But it’s important to do it the right way. Many companies are just finding out how much they are spending on telecom services, wholesale cutting of telecom reimbursements may drive those costs to be hidden again under creative accounting. It’s better to know about it than not.
Are you considering cutting cellular or home broadband reimbursements for your remote and mobile workers? If so, or not, tell me why, would love to hear both sides.