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How to select spending accounts that balance the needs of a distributed workforce

Learn how to effectively manage spending accounts for your distributed workforce and find the right type of benefits for your diverse team.

 Min Read 

A closer look at the workplace landscape

The concept of the ‘new normal’ is paramount for modern enterprises and employees alike. Since 2020, the traditional work model with employees operating in the office has changed drastically. Hybrid or fully remote workforces have emerged with many employees now opting to work outside of a physical office space.

Research has found that many remote employees have experienced a boost or a similar level of productivity as they would when in a physical office.  Thanks to technological advancements, employees can access business files, tooling, and systems from wherever they are—giving way for opportunities to work virtually anywhere in the world. As a result, companies across all industries have recalibrated operations to support remote and hybrid teams.

The shift from traditional workplace practices has driven employers to re-evaluate how to best support teams with a focus on employee benefits. Just as the workspace model has transformed, so has the need to offer more dynamic, flexible, and personalized benefits to retain high performers and attract new employees.

With the workplace and workforce modernizing rapidly, how can enterprises, moreover Human Resource (HR) leaders and managers, provide and manage benefits that appeal to individuals on a global scale? Providing personalized spending accounts for your distributed workforce is an essential component to attract and retain star employees.

Spending accounts are a type of employee benefit plan that allocates a fixed expense sum for employees. Employees can use funds to cover costs they would typically incur while working for the company. Data finds that rather than offering a cash reward or stipend, employees are typically more motivated by a non-cash incentive of equal value.

Here are recommended steps to help determine how to construct spending account programs that support distributed teams.

Step 1: Understand your workforce distribution.

A distributed workforce is just that—distributed with people working in various locations both physically and geographically. Some employees operate out of a physical office. Others work from home. The team is located all over the globe.

When building the framework for employee spending accounts, it’s critical to take a deeper look at the distribution of the team. Knowing where employees are located, how they operate, and what they need to succeed is critical. Look at the company’s working model to determine who’s fully onsite, fully remote, or hybrid. The output will help inform the types of spending accounts beneficial to employees overall to set them and the company up for success.

Step 2: Evaluate spending accounts that flex to fit employees’ needs.

Your company’s benefit programs may need some adjustments, especially to keep pace with an evolving employee-employer marketplace.

Use the information distilled from step 1 to evaluate spending account programs that align with the distribution and needs of employees. Factor the best means to keep distributed teams connected, such as tooling (cloud storage), services (WiFi), or equipment (laptop), as well as whether they physically work onsite, remote, or hybrid. Then, look at the variances and what’s meaningful to each group.

  • Office-based employees may prioritize a transportation allowance or an onsite cafeteria.
  • Remote workers may prefer equipment or reimbursements to cover expenses incurred for their home office setting, such as internet service and meal delivery programs.

Each modality’s needs are different, and it’s important to treat them as such.

Step 3: Offer holistic employee benefit programs that support health and wellbeing.

Benefit programs are not one-size-fits-all; what benefits one employee may not work for another. It’s important to tailor-fit the program for the individual types of employees in your company and offer holistic plans. Take a moment to go beyond geography and the workplace, looking towards programs designed to support health and wellbeing.

Research shows employees are more conscious of their physical and mental health. Employees are prioritizing their overall wellbeing, a big reason why remote work is so attractive now. As such, many employers are providing online-based medical services and telemedicine consultations—as well as fitness programs that include gym memberships, group exercise classes, or streaming fitness subscriptions.

Leverage modern benefit management solutions.

Determining the right benefits aligned to the needs of a distributed workforce can be tricky and overwhelming. Using modern benefit management solutions, like Forma, helps employers to design and deliver flexible, inclusive global programs at every scale in a modern way.

With Forma, you can hand-select personalized spending accounts programs for your diverse workforce. With a growing marketplace that supports the languages and currencies of more than 60 countries across the world, employees can enjoy benefits whether they’re onsite, remote, or global. The all-in-one employee portal brings together our marketplace, relevant content, and fast claims processing, making personalized benefits a delight to discover and activate.

Employees can easily explore a myriad of options to find the benefits that work best for them. To guide employees towards what they need and help your HR and Finance teams succeed, Forma’s Customer Success Team is there for you. (All humans, no robots.)