Workers from home beware – pay cuts might be the price of freedom

A man works in his kitchen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sassenheim
FILE PHOTO: A man works in his kitchen during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sassenheim, Netherlands October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

February 18, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Dreaming of working remotely from that cottage in the hills? There is a good chance you will get paid less, according to a survey of human resources executives published on Thursday.

Employees who move to cheaper locations to work permanently from home are also likely to have more limited career prospects, executive search firm Leathwaite said.

Forty-five percent of the 250 human resources executives who took part in the survey said wages and bonuses should be adjusted when people decide to work remotely in areas with a lower cost of living.

People working from home would be competing against a much bigger pool of potential rivals for their job, according to the HR executives, who worked for major listed companies operating in the United States, Britain and Asia.

“A characteristic of the modern workplace will be the increased use of a more competitive, remote-based global talent pool,” Andrew Wallace, managing partner at Leathwaite, said.

Two thirds of the executives surveyed also thought workers would spend between two and three days a week in the office while only 8% predicted a return to five days a week.

Nearly 40% said the maximum number of workers in the office would be half its previous capacity.

Britain’s official statistics office said last week that 36% of working adults were working exclusively from home with the country back under lockdown restrictions.

A separate report published on Thursday by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation showed that 28% of large businesses in Britain were open to filling vacancies with people who did not live close to the office.

A poll of workers commissioned by the REC also found that only half felt British companies were doing a good job at recruiting efficiently.

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)