Cell Phone Reimbursement: How to Reimburse Employees for Cell Phone Use
  • Home
  • Blog
  • Cell Phone Reimbursement: How to Reimburse Employees for Cell Phone Use

Cell Phone Reimbursement: How to Reimburse Employees for Cell Phone Use

head shot of Jonathan Steele By Jonathan Steele February 28, 2023

Categories: Bring Your Own Mobile Workforce

Employees who use their phones for work should be reimbursed. It’s simple. A worker’s phone is a tool that helps them in their duties with the company. But not all companies provide employees with a cell phone reimbursement. What are the advantages to cell phone reimbursements? And, maybe more importantly, what are the disadvantages of not having them? Let’s look at a hypothetical to see these on full display. 

Benefitting from Employees Using Personal Device 

Mark Scout is a salesman for a biotech company. When he isn’t taking meetings, researching prospects or reaching out to potential customers via email, he’s making calls. And Mark makes a lot of calls. On a day where his schedule is booked, he’s still making a minimum of 10 calls. 

Some of those calls are to team members or his supervisor. Most of those calls are outreach to either a prospect he’s walking through a deal or a potential customer he’s trying to open the door with. He also has email and the company’s messaging app on his phone so wherever he is, whatever time of day, he can respond to urgent messages on a moment’s notice. 

No one can deny that Mark’s phone is essential to his work. But there are a number of ways a company can choose to support employees who use phones as much as Mark. Those options are: no reimbursement, a cell phone reimbursement and a company-provided device. How does each of these impact Mark? Let’s start with no reimbursement. 

Not Receiving a Cell Phone Reimbursement  

The biotech business Mark works for does not offer him a cell phone reimbursement. The company’s policy on this is: if one department receives a reimbursement, then everyone will ask for one. Not wanting to appear to be playing favorites, the company believes it’s more equitable if no one receives a stipend. That decision frustrates Mark. He knows he works hard for the company, and most of his cell phone bill is for that work he does. It’s disillusioning that the company refuses to find a way to ensure he, and other employees in the company, are compensated appropriately for the business use of his phone. 

Mark continues to work as hard as he did before he reached this conclusion, though now his attention is divided. Instead of focused solely on selling the company’s product, he’s also spending time talking with recruiters, looking for other employers who prioritize employee satisfaction. It isn’t long before Mark exits the company, leaving a hole in his wake. 

Receiving a Company-Provided Device 

The biotech business Mark works for has decided to provide mobile phones to employees whose job role requires them. This means Mark now has two phones to manage. Depending on his operating system of preference, Mark may have some learning to do. But this does allow him to separate his personal and business lives easily.  

How a company chooses to implement a company-provided device program has a serious impact on the amount of administration it requires.  

Graphic stating "Is a Company-Provided Device program best for your company? Explore the advantages and disadvantages today!" with a button to read the blog

Receiving a Cell Phone Reimbursement 

Mark is walking on sunshine because, in an illuminated decision, the biotech business decided to provide employees with a cell phone reimbursement. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but Mark isn’t out searching for other jobs and believes the company made the right call. He’s in the mindset to stay focused on the job. What’s more, everything he needs is on his personal phone, the phone he’s familiar with and uses daily.   

The company was hesitant to roll out the stipend, as sensitive business information on personal devices is cause for increased security concerns. But they found a “bring your own” reimbursement solution for their mobile workforce that provided satisfactory protection, even to employee devices. And, seeing the employee satisfaction with their cell phone reimbursement policy, the company decides to promote this in their recruiting efforts to provide a benefit that appeals to the emerging generation of workers. In fact, they’re considering reimbursing employees for the personal use of other assets, like home office, internet and more.  

Reflecting on the Benefit of a Cell Phone Reimbursement 

We walked through some of the benefits a cell phone reimbursement brings to both companies and employees. We also shared a few of the downsides of not reimbursing employees and the option of a company-provided device program. Every company is different, with needs specific to its size, industry and customer base. But, with cell phone reimbursements gaining popularity, it may be the best option for your company.  

It’s important to acknowledge that there are a number of ways a company can roll out a cell phone reimbursement. Let’s take a look at what those are and the impact they have on both employers and employees. 

Cover the Phone Bill 

Some businesses, understanding how vital employee devices are to their job performance, simply choose to cover the employee’s cellphone bill. Every month, employees submit their bills and employers pay them. This is an easy incentive, and you’d have a hard time finding an employee against this reimbursement. However, it is far more expensive than necessary, especially if employees only use their personal phone for business every once and a while.  

Flat Stipend 

Other businesses take the average cost of a typical phone bill, split that in half and send it to employees to pay for the business use of their personal phone. This option is the worst of both worlds. While it might not be as expensive as paying for an employee’s entire monthly bill, using an average across a broad base of employees means some will still be over-reimbursed. It also means there are some employees that will be under-reimbursed. It’s a better option than no reimbursement, but it lacks specificity. 

Specific Reimbursement 

Businesses that partner with Motus provide their employees with reimbursements that are specific to their job roles. This ensures that employees with more mobile-intensive roles and employees with less phone-focused duties will be reimbursed appropriately. What’s more, these reimbursements reflect changes in local cost differences. How’s that for fair and accurate? 

Cell Phone Reimbursement with Motus 

Cell phone reimbursements are an important and increasingly relevant factor in the workplace. From recruiting and retention to cost savings and boosted productivity, reimbursing employees for the business use of personal assets offers many benefits. And, as outlined above, Motus provides accurate reimbursements that reflect roles and functions, and are backed by relevant geographic data points. Looking to empower your employees with an equitable cell phone reimbursement? Learn more about the Motus BYO solution today. 

Learn More Today

We make getting started easy.

We make getting started easy.

Contact us today or take a virtual tour of the Motus Platform.

Take A Tour