UAE jobs: Should companies cut allowances of employees who work from home?

It's about crafting a compensation policy that's flexible — but also grounded in common sense

By Roujin Ghamsari

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Published: Sat 11 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 11 May 2024, 8:53 PM

Question: Should there be a difference in allowances offered to those who work from home, given they are saving on transport costs (but are spending on their own Wi-Fi and electricity for office work) as opposed to those who are working from the office?

Answer: Navigating the maze of compensations for our colleagues working in the office, versus those who work remotely... well, it's like trying to split a restaurant bill when everyone's had a different number of appetizers. Personally, I just wouldn't go there.

Why? Because whether Alex is saving on gas but upping his electricity use and paying a premium for fast Wi-Fi for his home office, or Maryam is splurging a little extra on her downtown rent to save her sanity from the daily commute, it's a balancing act that could make even the most patient finance partner’s head spin.

Getting into the nitty-gritty of every employee's home-office setup compared to their desk at HQ is a recipe for a spreadsheet migraine. What if Alex, in a burst of social craving, ditches his home setup and heads back to the office? You'd have to hit the reset button on the whole calculation circus. What are we actually trying to achieve?

Aren’t we in the business of maximising employee potential and not playing private investigator into everyone's home energy bills? A fair system where Alex isn't penalised for his extra kilowatt hours and Maryam isn't shelling out more for her proximity to the water cooler is what we're after. It's about crafting a compensation policy that's flexible, yes, but also grounded in common sense.

So, let's keep it simple and considerate, without turning finance into a detective division. In the end, if we've created a workplace where every Alex and Maryam feels they're getting a square deal, we'll have hit the real jackpot.

Roujin Ghamsari is an accomplished HR professional and fellow of the CIPD, who was named among the 'Most Influential HR Practitioners 2023' by HR Magazine. She excels at collaborating with C-Suite leadership to craft and implement robust people plans, enabling organisations to deliver their strategic objectives.


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