How our new Perks Allowance provides flexible benefits for Dropboxers in a Virtual First work environment

Life Inside Dropbox
6 min readApr 6, 2021


When we announced our move to Virtual First, and knew that we would no longer be working out of our offices, we wanted to help support Dropboxers in the ways that are most important to them and create a benefits program that was as flexible as possible. The result: The Dropbox Perks Allowance!

Prior to the launch of the Perks Allowance in 2021, we had a variety of programs, partnership offerings, and stipends that had different limits, different processes for getting reimbursed, and were sometimes simply underused because they just didn’t fit all employee needs. No two Dropboxers are the same, and we realized their perks don’t have to be, either.

The Dropbox Perks Allowance is a single allowance that allows Dropboxers to focus their perks on what really matters to them, whether that’s wellness, caregiver support, productivity, ergonomics, learning, food services, or something else. Dropboxers can simply submit receipts to get reimbursed for eligible Perks Allowance items — no red tape included.

When it comes to employee benefits and teams being distributed, we believe that this kind of flexible support is the future. Emmaline Nabors, Manager of Global Perks and Wellness and one of the main contributors to the development of the Perks Allowance, said, “Once we all started working from home, we realized that some of the benefits that Dropboxers had really cared about before, like fitness classes or free food in our offices, were no longer relevant or even accessible because of the pandemic and our move to Virtual First. Instead, we realized people could use support on getting started with their home office setups, or for caregiver support for their children who were suddenly home from school every day. And the last thing they needed was to jump through a bunch of hoops to figure out which expenses were covered and which weren’t.

We knew we needed something that all Dropboxers could use easily for the things that mattered most to them on an individual basis. When we started looking around at other companies for examples of this, we found that there wasn’t really a precedent set for this kind of super expansive, open perks policy. So we built ours from the ground up, and we truly feel it’s an industry-leading standard that we hope other companies can model their own benefits packages after to care for their employees beyond the workplace. We’re already seeing so many Dropboxers take advantage of their funds in inspiring and unique ways; I’m using most of mine to cover the costs of a postpartum doula to help us once our first baby is born in June!”

Now for the fun stuff — let’s take a look at how some Dropboxers have spent their Perks Allowance thus far!

Health, fitness, and wellbeing (our most popular category!)

“I had been holding my breath waiting for a really good deal on a cheap dive computer for my future scuba and free diving adventures. When I realized I had only a week left last quarter to spend, I took the plunge and got a top of the line model that was on my dream gear list! It may not be the most frugal or financially savvy choice, but it’s actually been a surprisingly good tool and motivator to get back in shape (all puns intended)!”

-Joe Eichenhofer

“I got the Oura ring because I wanted something dedicated to improving my sleep. I haven’t been getting the best sleep recently and wanted to increase the amount of ‘good sleep’ days. I keep it on nearly 24/7 and routinely check on the data after I wake up. Data like time it takes to fall asleep, deep sleep, and how much time I spend in REM sleep is really interesting to see! I’ve used it to adjust my sleep times and experiment a bit. It also gives me back information on ‘condition,’ which I use to determine how intense I might go on my workout for the day. I’m grateful to work at a company that empowers us to think about our wellbeing”

-Tahsin Islam

“This is where my Q1 Perks Allowance went — a new bike!”

-Hemant Thakre

Productivity and ergonomics for flex work

“I love my new desk from UPLIFT! The Perks Allowance, gave me an opportunity to really think about how I wanted to design a space that would help me work better. And living in Austin, being able to purchase a desk that supports a local business was an added bonus!

-Caitlin O’Dowd

“I got a couple of portable monitors to use while traveling.”

-Jay Paroline

Family and caregiver support (of humans and animals!)

“I just want to say I’m SO grateful for the Virtual First perks allowance. While Tuck Shop food and in-office perks were lovely, I had effectively slashed my family’s vacation budget the last 4 years to pay for graduate school. The ability to use the perks allowance — non-taxed! — to pay my graduate school tuition for my final year means we have a robust ‘travel’ budget for when the world opens up. And because we’re VF, and I can work from anywhere, I’m planning to use that savings to rent an Airbnb and work from Wisconsin later this year and catch up on all the quality time with family. Wins on so many fronts!”

-Kate Kruizenga

“With my perks allowance, I’ve been able to support my hobby of riding horses. Last year during COVID-19, and due to a flexible schedule with Virtual First, I was able to fulfill my lifelong dream of buying a horse. Meet Tuck! Riding is a welcome wellness break at the end of my day, and I return recharged. My perks allowance pays for my riding gear and vet bills to ensure he stays fit and healthy!”

-Stephanie Smith

“I used my budget to take care of my cat, Tofu! It helped cover his vet bill, get him cat food focused on weight loss (the same vet appointment said he needed to diet, lol), and his favorite cat toys.”

-Bonnie Xiao

Just because it doesn’t fit cleanly in one category doesn’t mean it can’t be covered!

“I’m using my Perks Allowance to pay someone to clean and tidy up my apartment once a week! Massive life improvement, given all the time spent at home.”

-Carola Pescio Canale

With Virtual First, we’re shifting our mindsets, we’re rethinking how we build products for the future of work, and we’re prioritizing people over places as our employees are not limited by office locations. We’re enabling Dropboxers to build the lives they want to lead outside of work by providing flexible resources and support in how they take care of themselves and their loved ones.

If you’re interested in joining us on our Virtual First journey, you can check out job openings here.



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