A WorkOptions reader wants to know if a pay cut to work from home is a common concession.
Dear Pat: My manager has agreed to my request to work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the other days, I’ll work at the corporate office, maintaining my usual full-time schedule. I’m thrilled to get the go-ahead but he’s suggesting a 10% pay cut as part of my telecommuting arrangement. Is that customary? ~ Confounded Courtney
Dear Courtney: In a word, no.
The fact is, surveys show that most people would take a pay cut to work from home. It’s a reflection of how much they crave free time and flexibility.
But should you? Or do you make the case for keeping all of your current salary?
Others have made cogent points for both positions, but I’m on the side that says there’s no reason to make this concession. The exception would be if you’re combining telecommuting with a shortened workweek or workday, that is, fewer hours. That’s not the case here.
So be on guard: while you’re in that “thrilled” and grateful zone, you’re also in a vulnerable position to compromise your pay. Reset your thinking and resist the suggestion.
2 Ways to Skirt the Suggestion of a Pay Cut to Work from Home
What can you do? Here are two tactics to use as needed.
1. Disregard the suggestion. Your boss may be throwing you some conditional bait to reel in departmental benefits (salary savings) as part of the negotiations. Don’t take it. He’ll likely drop the issue.
2. If he doesn’t drop it, be prepared ahead of time. Put the telecommuting arrangement in writing. (Presenting a telecommuting proposal is the best approach when first making the request, in any case.)
In addition to sections on schedule, job responsibilities, physical set-up, communication, and evaluation, insert a section on compensation and benefits with this single matter-of-fact line:
Then as the two of you address the specifics of your proposed arrangement, he’ll either agree with the plain logic presented and move on, or be forced to justify a pay cut for work that you’re doing which remains unchanged except for the location in which it gets done.
If he does the latter, call him on it. In a diplomatic way, of course.
If the discussion escalates, reinforce your position with a presentation of the well-documented employer benefits of telecommuting (ignore #5).
Put special emphasis on the double-digit productivity gains that are typical of remote workers stemming from fewer interruptions. (How about that: working from home should position you for a pay raise instead!)
With this approach, you make it clear that telework is not an employee perk, but rather a smart management strategy with measurable employer benefits. That reality, along with the other reasons presented, makes a pay cut to work from home a needless concession.
The Fastest Way to Get Telecommuting Approved
Like thousands of professionals before, simply fill in the blanks of the Telecommuting Proposal Package template to customize your request to work from home.
“My boss was very impressed and approved it almost immediately even though telecommuting has not been done in this office before. I am so excited…” Tracy Ayotte, IS Administrator, CORE Research, Geneva, FL