We currently live in an age of independence. We are raised to finish school, develop a career, get a place of our own, and tackle life’s challenges as an independent individual. As Americans, we value control over our decisions, autonomy, and self-sufficiency.
Many small business employers are already accustomed to putting control of health insurance in the hands of their employees by implementing medical reimbursement plans, health savings accounts, and flexible spending accounts. These programs allow the employee to choose plans, customize benefits, and access them online. It’s a great way to help employees feel in control of their benefits and their lives.
Going a Step Further
But maybe health benefits are only the beginning. Why not take it a step further and give your employees even more control over certain aspects of their work? As a small business owner, have you ever thought about allowing employees to bring their own laptop to work, use their own cell phone, use their own vehicle (rather than fleet vehicles) to perform their work, and then reimbursing them? This could make a huge financial difference for you, as well as add to your employees’ empowerment.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is still a relatively new approach to business. But the advantages can really help your company’s bottom line. It’s considered an excellent way to boost productivity. Perhaps there is a day when an employee needs to work from home. Being able to access the company network from a smartphone makes this easy so he or she isn’t forced to use their PTO. So, accessing the company network from a smartphone removes the limitations of a traditional 9 - 5 workday, allowing employees to do their work at any time. Whether it’s responding to email while out of the office or creating presentations on the train ride home, workers are able to get work done outside the confines of their office.
Improving employee morale is another benefit and reason to incorporate a BYOD policy.People feel more comfortable on their own devices. They have familiarity with them, so there’s no learning curve. Reimbursing employees for the expense of their own items is a terrific way to show them that you trust them and you’d rather put a little extra money in their pockets as a thank you for using their own equipment. A recent report from management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture revealed that giving employees the option to use the device of their choice "not only improves productivity but also enhances the relationship between IT and employees."
BYOD policies can also help attract new employees. Since most people generally prefer to use their own devices, businesses that give them the ability to do so can hold an advantage in the hiring process. They are more likely to win over top candidates against the competition, who require their employees to use company issues smartphones and laptops.
Allowing employees to use their own digital devices and reimbursing them for it is an unconventional, yet effective way to boost productivity and morale at your place of business. It may not be the perfect solution for every small business but maybe it’s worth a shot for yours!
What else could small businesses reimburse employees for? What are your thoughts?