Employee Expenses For Remote Staff: A Practical Guide

Business leaders need to look after their employees completely. Expenses are regularly incurred in this aim, funding different aspects of their worker’s well-being. 

Part of these needs depends on space and place.

As remote working measures have grown in popularity, employee expenses have become more complicated. Which steps are necessary? Is there any wasteful spending occurring? How can these arrangements be optimised to the benefit of all? 

Remote working is still a new concept in the grand scheme of things.

Therefore, industries and regulations are constantly being reshaped and remoulded as this fresh type of work culture finds its feet.

You may be trying to work things out in a similar circumstance yourself.

Therefore, here’s your practical guide to help you manage employee expenses for remote staff. 

Think About Obsolete Expenses

It’s worth thinking about how work conditions change cost paradigms. The rulebook has been altered somewhat, which means you need to strategise things differently for remote work. 

Some of the more common employee expenses could be made redundant with the advent of remote working.

Paying for lodging, on-site food and entertainment, company cars, and other modes of travel may now be rendered obsolete. 

Certain redundancies will be obvious, but it’s important to stay aware of what has become outdated so that you’re channelling your resources properly.

Caution is particularly advised if you’re overseeing a hybrid workforce, whereby employee expenses crossover between in-office and remote workers. Ensuring everyone is paid only what they are entitled to is key. 

Consider the Costs

You can likely expect some employee expenses to rise somewhat, given the nature of remote working.

You may need to provide workers with technology, for instance. However, you can take things a step further here. 

For example, some employers elect to pay for costs such as heating and broadband for their remote workers.

If you’re serious about caring for your workers, then covering these costs is a big-hearted display of that. The timing of your support could be crucial, too, with many struggling to cover utility bill costs across the nation.

That kind of spirit could be rewarded with loyalty, leading to better quality work and reduced staff turnover. 

Of course, if you’re contributing toward remote workers’ bills, you’re also providing them with a more comfortable work environment.

Productivity could be improved in that sense as well, in that there are fewer distractions to be concerned about. 

In the end, there is arguably more room to be more flexible with remote staff expenses.

If you can’t build a nurturing culture with them in a shared workspace, showing your support financially could be a worthwhile substitute for that. 

Define Your Expense Policy

Now that you have considered what expenses are and aren’t justified for your remote workers, it’s time to make things official.

You can do this by revisiting your expenses policy and laying down the law.

It’s important to be very clear and concise with your language when you do this.

While you should be able to trust your remote workers to use their best judgement, there is always a chance more dubious individuals will interpret any vague terminology however they like. 

Work in close coordination with your accounting department as you do this.

Their insights could prove invaluable both in terms of phrasing and what rules you decide to set on expenses. 

Take care to set the same rules for every remote worker.

Some employers attempt to play favourites with expense policies, hoping it stokes competition and thus productivity.

However, you risk breeding only resentment this way, so make sure they’re all entitled to the same benefits and reimbursements. 

Involve HR 

On rare occasions, employees may dispute their expenses. Your expense policy is designed to prevent these misunderstandings.

That said, making a claim can still have an undercurrent of tension attached. 

Remote work makes these types of problems more complicated.

Because they are working from home, some employees could feel more inclined to put up a bit of resistance with the benefit of distance.

Furthermore, it’s been reported that trust in one another can be impeded with remote work, stoking further strain on working relationships.  

Expense claims involve multiple parties working in complete cohesion. They need to have a thorough understanding of one another.

HR may need to nurture more positive working relationships among staff and resolve disputes on occasion.  

If tensions escalate, then more than employee expenses could be affected. The entire culture of the business could be eroded over time, so these uglier instances must be addressed at the earliest opportunity.

People can be bolshier online, and when it comes to money, the mixture here can be detrimental to a business if things aren’t carefully managed. 

Control Spending with Support

If your remote workers need to make purchases on behalf of the company, controlling that spending is crucial.

It allows a mutual understanding between employer and employee, and a trusting working relationship can form. 

Instruct your remote employees on the benefits of a virtual company card with its own built-in spend policy.

You can work with companies such as Payhawk who provide them, enabling you to refine spending parameters further.

They also offer all-in-one financial software, allowing you to monitor bill payments, reimbursements, expense management from anywhere.

Other aspects of company costs can be controlled here, so explore the full range of capabilities these tools offer. 

Numerous spending disasters can be subverted here. There’s no room for communication breakdowns as a result of remote working.

Instead, everything runs like clockwork, giving both you and your home workers peace of mind as you go forward as a unified team. 

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone when managing employee expenses either, remote or otherwise.

Helpful services can alleviate many of the stressful burdens here. The time and money you save can be spent elsewhere, indefinitely benefiting your firm’s prospects in more ways than one. 

Investigate Automation 

Tracking expenses manually can be time-consuming. Technology can help eliminate much of the busy work of financial admin and keep all processes running smoothly. 

Automation has a significant role to play here.

When employees submit any expense-related document for approval, it can be signed off in a faster fashion.

Additionally, even the most dedicated professionals are human, making mistakes with filings and recordings on occasion.

Automation technologies greatly reduce the chances of that happening in your business. 

Due to automation, accounting teams are better equipped to track expenses and should not be stressed from an overwhelming workload.

A better work environment is created under these measures, greatly benefitting employee satisfaction and productivity, which helps your company’s performance. 

You can also reduce the need for paper reports if all your remote employee’s expenses are managed through digital means.

This greatly reduces the chance of crucial paperwork becoming lost or buried into obscurity within an overcrowded filing cabinet.

Removing the need to chase signatures might save time, and printing costs can be significantly reduced. 


Employee expenses require very careful management from everyone within a business.

Business leaders need to define their expenses policies acutely, claimants need to understand what is expected of them, and HR personnel need to foster teamwork.

Support should also be sought out from dedicated businesses and integrated technologies.

After employing these efforts, managing employee expenses for remote staff should be more manageable.