Tech

Shopify is giving employees a $1,000 stipend to buy supplies while they work from home during coronavirus pandemic

Key Points
  • Shopify is offering workers a $1,000 stipend to purchase any necessary office supplies and ease the transition to remote work.
  • The announcement came as Shopify told its employees to work from home starting March 16, in light of the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Several tech companies including Twitter, Google and Amazon have told employees to work remotely this month.
Harley Finkelstein, COO, Shopify
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Shopify is providing its employees with a $1,000 stipend to buy office supplies and help ease the transition of working remote amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The company is offering the stipend as a result of its announcement on Wednesday that it's requiring all employees to work from home starting on March 16. Shopify, which makes online tools for companies to sell products online, employs 5,000 people worldwide, with the majority of its employees based in Canada.

Employees can purchase office equipment such as lamps, office chairs and a new desk, then submit the "one-time remote allowance through their expenses," Shopify spokeswoman Sheryl So told CNBC. So added that employees are being asked to take home their monitors, keyboards and laptops. 

News of the stipend was first reported by Business Insider

"We have been keeping a close eye on COVID-19 and have been making regional specific decisions since January 2020, but as things progressed and as we learnt more about the impact on our people and communities we felt the time was now to make a decision," said Brittany Forsyth, Shopify's chief talent officer, in a statement. 

Forsyth said more than 1,000 Shopify employees already work remotely. In light of employees working from home during the coronavirus outbreak, Forsyth said Shopify is "trying new ways of working," including making all in-person town halls remote moving forward. 

Shopify isn't the only tech company that has made efforts to ease the transition to remote work during the coronavirus outbreak. Facebook said Wednesday it was offering employees free Portal video chat devices to employees who request them. Last week, Facebook told employees who work in the San Francisco Bay Area to work remotely. 

Other tech companies have also asked their employees to work from home as a preventative measure against the coronavirus. Twitter on Wednesday told its 4,900 employees to work from home, while Google on Wednesday asked most of its global workforce to do so. Amazon is also requiring employees at several of its offices, including New York, New Jersey, Seattle and Bellevue, to work remotely amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Thursday morning, there were more than 127,749 confirmed cases of the coronavirus globally and at least 4,717 deaths. There were at least 1,323 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and at least 38 deaths.

VIDEO5:1505:15
Biggest impact of coronavirus on small businesses is worker anxiety, survey finds