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83% of employees working remotely amid COVID-19: Rpt

Yahoo Finance's Alexis Christoforous and Anant Kale, AppZen CEO, discuss AppZen's latest data regarding work from home employee expenses.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: With eight months of COVID-19-related lockdowns behind us, one thing most can agree on is that remote work has become a part of the new normal. And the pandemic has made expense reporting part of daily life for many of us remote workers. But whether they think reimbursements are fair could depend on the role they play at work, and also their gender.

Those are the findings from a new survey from AppZen. Joining us now is AppZen CEO, Anant Kale. Anant, thanks for being with us. Really some interesting insights here with this survey. And one thing that I pulled away from it, is that women are less likely, 59%, than men to feel fairly compensated when working from home. Tell us more about that.

ANANT KALE: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Alexis, firstly. So this has been a really interesting insight that we received from employees. As you know, we have, because AppZen is an AI platform for finance, and we help companies find any leakages within their expenses, we were seeing it right from the time the pandemic started that the kind of expenses have changed. From N95 masks to work from home. But what was not clear about was, what would employees really looking for.

So that's the reason, combining our billions of dollars of spend analysis, along with employee responses on what was really working, got these insights for us. Like you said, one around gender was really startling where 59% of employees felt, women rather, felt that they were being fairly reimbursed compared to men. 80% of the men felt that they were being fairly reimbursed. And that probably points to things like women are bearing more of the brunt around childcare expenses, which are not being reimbursed. So those were one set of findings.

But the majority of the findings were around what kind of expenses are companies reimbursing. So what we found was, 50% of the employees said that their companies have actually updated what they are reimbursing their employees for, while the remaining haven't. And the ones which are updated, just 8% of the employees felt that they were not clear about what they could get reimbursed, while the ones where the policy was not updated, you found that 40% of the employees were not clear. And hence, you found that employees in some cases, were trying to reimburse things like $1,000 chairs or with child care expenses or expenses like DoorDash and stuff like that.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: What about things like lunch? You know, lots of companies now are actually providing lunch or helping with snacks throughout the day, free coffee. And now folks working from home are having to foot the bill for that. Are they being asked to get reimbursed? And are most companies doing that?

ANANT KALE: Yeah, that's an interesting one. So we asked employees on what they were being reimbursed for. And the most obvious thing that probably comes to mind is internet charges. Now the survey of the 1,000 employees that we did, mind you, only 17% were remote earlier and now 83% are working remotely. So that's a very big expansion. But when you looked at the most basic expense, which is the internet reimbursement, your internet charges reimbursement, that has increased only by 6%.

So employees are really thinking that internet charges are back to being a utility and you're not going to get reimbursed for that. And when you look at the rest of the expenses, like you said, can I buy snacks and reimburse them, can I get food, right, there's a very, less disproportion of policies which are now reflecting that. So though employees, 75% of employers are now reimbursing some stuff, it is not really as prevalent as you might think that employees are getting reimbursed for snacks or lunches.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, I think lots of companies are cracking down on stuff like that. Anant Kale, AppZen CEO, thanks for sharing those insights with us.

ANANT KALE: Thank you, Alexis.