Would you pay to work from home? (Photo: mixetto via Getty Images)
Are you still working from home? Whether it’s still WFH all week or a hybrid-situation, many of us enjoy the opportunity to work from our home offices without worrying about transport costs, time, and other logistics such as lunch and outfits.
But one company is offering all those things at a price. A law firm has said it is offering staff the chance to completely WFH...if they agree to take a 20% pay cut.
Stephenson Harwood said it would allow remote working but pay employees 20% less off their salary.
The firm told the BBC that it has started recruiting remote workers on a lower salary as they’re hiring people from around the country who no longer need to commute into the capital, saving them money.
Those who do decide to come in on some days could then claim travel expenses. The firm is also offering the remote working option to existing staff, bar partners, and applying the salary difference between the two packages.
But, it said, they don’t expect many people to take up the offer and go fully remote as the role requires some experience of the office environment.
Since it revealed its pay-cutting plan, many have pointed out the problems with such a model.
Harriet Minter, a hybrid-work consultant and author of WFH, How to Build a Career You Love when You’re Not in the Office, said it would encourage the gender pay gap, as those who are likely to take up the offer of full remote working are to be women, who often have more care responsibility.
She tells HuffPost that there are other implications for a move like this. “The short term implication is that it’s damaging for an employer’s brand. All employers want to look progressive and like a good place to work, but threatening to cut the pay of staff that work remotely suggests that your business just wants to go back to the old ways of working - regardless of what your staff want. It’s hardly progressive thinking.”
HuffPost has contacted Stephenson Harwood about these concerns and will update this article if we receive a response.
There are other potential consequences too, including people resigning. “It will impact staff retention and recruitment,” says Minter.
“We know there is a battle for talent at the moment, businesses which offer more flexible working practices, without any penalty for them, are going to have their pick of the best talent out there. And your employees who are already feeling devalued and under-motivated as a result of this policy, are going to leave to go somewhere they are appreciated and paid properly.”
Others said that working from home doesn’t mean working less. In fact, research shows that half of employees are working longer hours at home. And by taking away large office spaces, companies could also save on renting spaces.
So those putting in extra hours at home would be getting paid less for it.
Other firms such as Apple who are also considering more time in the office have faced similar pushback.
Hundreds of people signed an open letter to CEO Tim Cook saying plans to return to the office for the majority of the time would make the brand “younger, whiter and more male-dominated”.
They wrote that this “will change the makeup of our workforce and lead to privileges deciding who can work for Apple, not who’d be the best fit.”
Those that it would benefit include young people, those without family commitments, or with a stay-at-home partner (most likely to be men).
What are your thoughts. Would you take a pay cut to stay home?
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.