Providing a distributed team with company resources can be a tricky challenge. In a centralized office, it’s easy to drop off your laptop to the IT desk for updating, or leave annual holiday gifts for your team in their cubicles. But, when logistics need to be considered on an international scale, a bunny-sized idea turns into a beast.
The solution? A prepaid employee expense card for every team member. Companies like PEX, Bento, and Emburse offer accounts for each employee that you can easily add funds to remotely, so they can be responsible for their own purchases without overwhelming the accounting department with budget approvals or reimbursement requests.
Now, I can hear the rebuttals already, “If the company is already channeling money to employees via salaries, then why complicate matters by introducing another payment method?”
Here’s the problem: paychecks provide personal funds. When an employee sees a number added to their bank account, their brains interpret the entire sum as their money. If remote workers are expected to spend a portion of it on a work expense, they feel like they are spending part of their money, which can cause hiccups in the allowance being applied as planned.
For example, if a starving intern sees $300 for software next to $50 for groceries, suddenly their brain is trying to tell them that eating steak would be a lot more satisfying than a firewall update. Those circumstances add up, and after a year or two, you’ll have a well-fed, but under-equipped employee who is putting your company information at risk.
Utilizing a prepaid employee expense card offers the best of both worlds - the convenience of autonomous employee shopping plus company-controlled spending. Here are just a few ideas on what your team could (and should!) be using cards for:
Equipment Upgrades - Make sure that your workforce is armed with up-to-date tools for client projects, operational workflows, and information security to keep your team running smoothly.
Professional Development Events and/or Continuing Education Courses Registration - Combat remote work isolation and workforce stagnation with one allowance. It’s a win-win!
Travel Expenses - Save your overworked HR department from the headache of tedious travel and accommodation arrangements. Let your team book their own!
Culture-Building Activities - Allocate an allowance for everyone to spend freely on something fun, then share and discuss your purchases together as a team.
Mailing & Shipping Supplies - Need to get some company swag or project materials to another team member? They’re not in the next cubicle, so you’ll need to cover the bill for the transportation.
Does your company use prepaid employee expense cards or something similar? We’d be interested to hear about your experience on Twitter!