Would You Take a Pay Cut to Continue to Work From Home?

I've been talking to some peers at competitors and they have mentioned they are being forced back to the office, much to their displeasure.

I was wondering if you would take a pay cut to retain the increased standard of living you experience at home, e.g. decreased transport costs, lowered risk of flu, increased social life, increased leisure time, and more.

If you would accept a pay cut, how much would be acceptable? I'll let the mods determine whether they want to create a poll.

Disclaimer/Background: I'm both a businessperson and employee. I'm technically an intrapreneur at the moment. Undoubtedly I have seen some people exploit work from home, but for others it has increased productivity. The problem I foresee in growing the business I am part of (have equity), is who to cut and whether we instead keep them on but at a reduced pay packet. Ultimately, reduced pay may lead to better outcomes for the workers as they will have less expenses, otherwise we must let people go.

Basically I want to see what the waters would be acceptable to both employee and employer. A lot of the competition are currently making decisions and it seems like they are going down the path of forcing people back to the office to try and improve productivity, but I personally believe the habits and lost productivity from those workers may not ever return. What are your opinions?


        • -2

          Really? Uber, Netflix, Google, the iPhone, Android, etc are all staples of Australian living and they are provided to us by foreign companies.

          Without them we'd be living in the stone age because we have very little local innovation happening.

          • +3


            This is why Australia is behind the curve and relies almost completely on foreign investments for innovation

            This is what you said. So you disagree with yourself?

            Uber investing in Australia is not innovation.

      • +1

        Also the government's willingness to back dying industries and adverse attitude to investing in new ones.

        • Actually the problem is superfunds - billions tied up, and all they can really invest in is bonds, ASX or NYSE, etc.
          Why not any innovation funds? Why nothing that moves the dial?
          Risk averse culture plays a massive part and has probably killed more innovation than anything else.

    • +6

      It might actually help by stopping everyone going to the CBD for the majority of the week. Small hospitality business would move out of the city, into the suburbs, and house/rent could ease as there would be less demand on being closer to the CBD for work. Instead of going to the CBD coffee shop, I'd go to the local coffee shop and provide locals with more business.

      • +1

        And imagine how much better traffic would be.

    • +4

      Wow. Really? Am I selfish then if I always pack my own lunch for work because I think it's tastier and healthier than food court food?
      And what about those cafes, takeaway restaurants, Uber Eats drivers, milk bars, small shops etc. in the suburbs who were flourishing while everyone WFH? They need income too, they have families… don't they?
      People are always going to buy food and drinks and go shopping, it's just whether they do it in the CBD or in the 'burbs.

    • Cafes and food courts don't have families.

      • Own packed lunches don't have families either.

        • I didn't see anyone claiming they do. It was a response to this:

          Actually dont be selfish, how about those cafes food courts in the cbd… they need income too, they have families….

    • +1

      So we're we selfish when we stopped using cabs and started using uber?
      Or when we stopped going to video shops?

    • Those cafes can move closer to people homes as well.

      • Yeah, they can all just cram into food trucks and drive around looking for a nice street to set up in…..

  • +12

    As a younger person, not a chance. I’d consider it for more pay to be 100% remote but honestly I’d take less pay to work in a normal office environment again.

    I get the benefits of working from home for some people. I really do. If you have young kids or want to live regionally it is great. For me and I know a lot of other young single people feel the same I just prefer the office environment.

    Firstly heading to and from the office, breaks up the day and separates work and home life much more.

    Secondly, If I ever move cities, I don’t understand how I’m meant to get any form of social interaction if everyone works from home.

    • +1

      I agree. I loved working from home for all of 2020 and wasn't looking forward to returning to the office, but my thinking has really turned. I never realised how much action is up for grabs in an office…young single people together in the same room for 8 hours? People usually get dressed up and wait in line at a club for hours just to have that opportunity. Your employer is giving it to you for free, might as well make the most of it.

      My workplace currently has everyone in the office 3 days a week with Thursdays and Fridays working from home if desired. It's a nice balance. Those 2 days working from home can be used to focus and get menial tasks done while the office days are good for collaboration and culture building. It's just a shame that it took a global catastrophe fot businesses to adapt and see the benefits.

      • +26

        As a childless young adult, I love working from home. I have no distractions and always there to collect my parcels.

        young single people together in the same room for 8 hours? People usually get dressed up and wait in line at a club for hours just to have that opportunity. Your employer is giving it to you for free, might as well make the most of it.

        I don't eat where I shit, I avoid having close relationships with my co-workers to keep things professional.

        It's honestly has taken a pandemic for me to realise I am actually an introvert not an extrovert. I hate going into the office and make small talks.

        • taken a pandemic for me to realise I am actually an introvert not an extrovert.

          What the …..

      • +1

        I never realised how much action is up for grabs in an office…young single people together in the same room for 8 hours?

        That is not a perk and doesn't apply to most professional offices. Most offices are full of middle aged to elderly people who are not single or do not want to engage with young people for 8 hours straight.

      • Which of the following has the biggest impact for IT transformation in the Enterprise?
        - CEO
        - CTO
        - CIO
        - COVID-19

    • +1

      want to live regionally it is great

      No night life, no big events, no good coffee and no new faces. People are just fooling themselves right now.

      • +1

        What is your definition of regional? Night clubs and cafes aren't exclusive to Melbourne and Sydney…

        • Of course not. It is just the volume of people is. There is towns were you basically have met the whole population in a few weeks of going out to clubs.

      • No night life, no big events, no good coffee and no new faces.

        If you live in a Woolongong, Towoomba, Geelong, Ballarat etc type of regional you'll be fine. If you are going to go live in a town with less than 8,000 people etc. It's going to feel a little small with the new faces point of view. But really that'll come down to how you live your life. Plus getting to know the majority of a small town of 8,000 people still takes a really long time.

        • All I am going to say is: if it was that good plenty of people would have moved there a long time ago.

          Maybe it is just the basic fight or flight response, people pretending they aren't scare of COVID19 but deep down they are.

    • +6

      Secondly, If I ever move cities, I don’t understand how I’m meant to get any form of social interaction if everyone works from home.

      If your entire social life is based off work interactions, you should look at getting a hobby.

    • Very much agree with this - its stage of life dependent. In my 20's a lot of my mates were at work with me and the office environment was important socially.
      Now I'm older with a young family, I want to be in and out of work as quick as possible and most people I work with are colleagues and not mates - WFH with no commuting to suburbia is ideal for this stage of life.
      Perhaps in a later lifestage I will value the office environment more and work from home is not such an incentive as it is now.

  • +8

    Would You Take a Pay Cut to Continue to Work From Home?


  • +12

    No. I'd ask for a raise.

    • +1

      Second this - you need a poll. I wouldn't work from home full time without a significant increase. Not only will it end up costing me more to maintain a good work-from-home office but I also don't want to work remotely. In software, anyone who wanted to work remotely would be mad to have not already done so for a company based somewhere that will pay them more (Sydney/Melbourne vs where I am in Brisbane or for a US based company)

  • +6

    This really depends on the type of employee. I’m probably one of the rare ones that prefer to work in the office then at home. My day is more structured in the office as compare to when I’m working from home.

    Regarding a pay cut, definitely won’t agree to it because I still produce the same amount if not more work. Also I know my seat in the office costs X amount per year… if I work from home I save them that amount so there shouldn’t be any pay cuts.

    Also with people working from home, productivity might have improved but I’m finding that everyone is so disconnected from each other even though u have your online/phone meetings, etc.

  • No poll needed, productivity rules…….or it should, however I'm sure "this is the way it's always been done, COVID was just a blip" will win the day sadly

  • +2

    There's no one size fits all for this issue. It's up to management and line leads to figure out how to maximise the individual employee's productivity. Of course top management will always want to mitigate the chaos as much as possible but with proper planning it can be done.

  • +5

    A no for me, both have their positives and negatives. Currently I wake up late and work in my PJs but it also means I'm available almost always during the day and am up for staying back when things are tough or jumping on things "that just come up".
    While I'd have to go in for work in office, it does mean that I no longer have to jump on things, and availability is based on if I'm at my chair, you don't see me? Tough luck. It also means once its quitting time, I'm out the door and work issues is "not my problem" until I come back.

  • +2

    Would you not be concerned about your employees leaving you for an employer who isn’t cutting pay?

  • +3

    In my government role, as expected we're back in the office. Classic government lack of progressiveness.

    We demonstrated over Covid that it works, i don't know why they'd rather pay to keep people in offices (which lets be honest are only ever 60% full anyway).

    Send us home, let us claim our 80c/hour and get the same amount of productivity.
    Think of the amount you'd save by not putting your kids in child care (although it would be frustrating)

    If they gave you the option i'd take 2 days at home, 3 days in the office.

    • +15

      You can't really work with young kids around so you would still need childcare

      • Yeah being the primary carer while at work is against policies at most places

    • +1

      The government has to justify the expenditure of taxes, they dont care about the costs associated with keeping employees in a workplace. They only care about productivity.

      • +1

        They only care about productivity.

        No. They only care about the perception. Government only cares about collecting more taxes, if they don't get enough borrow without asking the tax payer whether they want to be on the hook in the future.

    • it worked? lol you guys never work….

      • Beside the point.
        But yes, proof of concept.

        And i do agree, there are some pretty redundant people working there.

        Having come from private, you can be as driven and motivated as you like but the legislation/red tape/ pure laziness of other people will quickly remove any hope of changing the working environment.

        • Government roles and productivity are polar opposites, you could lay off 50% of any government workforce and you wouldn't see a change in service and or productivity.

  • +1

    Yeah of course I would.

    Can pretty much do much a full day's work in an hour or two, so as long as the paycut isn't proportional it's pretty good value. Could effectively work a few full time jobs really.

  • +2

    I was wondering if you would take a pay cut to retain the increased standard of living you experience at home, e.g. decreased transport costs, lowered risk of flu, increased social life, increased leisure time, and more.

    I work in schools so definitely not. Getting a kid to pay attention on zoom for 5 minutes is already a struggle. Kids need good role models as well so it's important they get face to face time with their friends and staff.

    A flipped classroom approach might work where kids learn the content in their own time then come on zoom/post questions on moodle/seesaw to ask teachers for help.

  • +3

    I wfh, and half the time I just browse the internet, while watching Netflix in the background. Love it. Then, on the days I work in the office, I work as slowly as possible to match the productivity I "produce" at home

    • +6

      great work ethic /s

      • +1

        aww thanks mate

    • +1

      Where do you work? I want in

      • +10

        Obviously home.

    • I found the opposite. My WFH days were used to catch up on lost productivity from days in the office due to things like meetings, interruptions, chatting with people, using the on site gym (I do miss that), lunchtime soccer etc.

  • Depends on the person. I am a task based individual, I only manage my team in that fashion. So I usually only step in to assist when I see an obvious issue, they are not performing tasks by the required date or to review the end result. I would definitely use this scenario to negotiate a lower salary for a work from home arrangement because it suits my style. I don’t care about work hours or location, just quantum and quality of work.

  • +6

    I don't mind working from home because I can be more productive and not have to deal with background noise.

    The downside is instead of someone saying my name and having a chat, they instead call me on Teams. I now have PTSD from hearing that God damn MS Teams ringtone when people call me multiple times a day for a minute long conversation that could have been a chat message.

    Currently I WFH 1-2 days a week and that's perfect for me.

  • +1

    I was working from home for a year, and I delayed going back in the office as much as I could until I had no more excuse. I had anxiety about going back.
    I have now one day WFH and four in the office. I have been back in the office for about 3 weeks now and I actually do not mind going back. I think I was getting some mental issues staying at home. Plus I get some visual stimulation when I get out. But my job does include manual tasks so I cannot do that from home, I had to offload those tasks to someone else with guilt every time. It's not that bad, it took me about a day or two to get use to it again. At least it gives a reason to groom myself more frequently. Get your butt back in the office, it's not that bad.

  • I would, as not having to commute, more opportunities to spend time with kids and, a big one - an opportunity to buy somewhere remote from the city, all that - makes it worth getting paid less.

    sort of in similar boat right now, as the company I work for, is not pushing us to get back into the office (yet), so even though I know that elsewhere I'd 100% get more salary for all those skills I've learned in my bonus spare time - I'm staying with my current employer for now.

    it all comes down to personal circumstances though.

  • +7

    This depends heavily on what sort of job you have, and how you engage with people at work.

    I’m in a corporate job, where relationships and being able to speak to people matters a lot. I could get 95% of my work done from home but I find that being able to see people physically helps me build rapport and effective working relationships much better.

    Being in a meeting with people over teams also isn’t great IMO, it’s hard to read a “room” and see who’s switched on or not sometimes when you’re just looking at a box on a screen.

    This and I echo what some others have said, it breaks up the day, sets up routine and means that my house is not my workplace. Yes I set up a wfh space, but I use the same laptop and space as my own computer space at home which means when I’m done with work I’ll often sit in the same chair/spot for a few hours that night anyway. During 2020 with extended lockdown I felt like I almost never left that room other than to sleep/eat/walk

    Ideally, I’d love to be able to wfh 1-2 days a week at my discretion, and show up to the office most of the time when others will be in. I don’t think it should be either or, somewhere in the middle would be best

    • That's a good point, be in the office when everyone else is in the office. I am in the office on Friday's and it is a lot quieter and feel I am wasting my time being there.

      There is a team of about eight in the office, WFH is under the managers discretion, the days I work I only see one or two people (same one or two people) turn up at work the four days I work. The week before the whole team turned up one day after working from home for about a year, never saw them again the following week. I think those guys are pushing it. Unfortunately I only was allowed one day per week WFH by my manager. I do not think WFH will stay after COVID goes away, anyway it's normal out there again, no one in Sydney away cares anymore. The restaurants were packed yesterday, on the trains and buses, less and less masks are being worn.

  • +5

    No, far out.

    The employer saves heaps on rent, electricity, water, parking, etc. if I worked from home. But somehow I've to take a pay cut? Great logic.

    • OP said he is a “businessperson”.

      • OP said he is a “businessperson”.

        Oh, yeah?

        I would greatly enjoy dumping a shitty "businessperson" like the OP at their most unfortunate moment.

        It would be all ok as long as I wrote a wall of text here on ozbargain with stupid jargons to justify my move. May be I'll start it with "It's all about the win-win synergy".

  • +1

    Why not give employees a choice between office and home? If employees' productivity has improved while WFH thanks to fewer interruptions from bored colleagues wanting to chitchat, less background noise, less fatigue from being squashed like sardines on public transport etc, why force them back? If someone takes advantage and watches Netflix all day, talk to them about their decline in productivity and let them know they might be asked to work in the office if things don't improve. Simple.
    Why does everything always have to be face to face? You still have to collaborate with others even when WFH, that's why we have Zoom meetings, call each other regularly, and occasionally come into the office for major meetings. Is that not enough?
    Sure, others like working in the office and making small talk in the hallways. Let them.

    • +1

      Why does everything always have to be face to face?

      Old school beliefs.

      • +1

        Personally I love a hybrid part time f2f/part time WFH… But yes you're completely right. There's no good reason for enforcing 100% f2f in many office jobs

    • +2

      "Why does everything always have to be face to face?"

      Because some managers think seeing bums on seats mean increased productivity.

      • yeah…and those managers don't even have their own bums on their own seats half the time

    • 100% agree with this and I wish that happened in my workplace. But something as clever as this will never happen in my company.

  • +2

    Not sure why there'd be reduced productivity. Where I work productivity increased across the board compared to when we were in the office before. You've either got shit employees (get rid of the deadwood if that's the case) or you haven't provided them with what they need to do their job to the same standard, fix the problem.

    My employer made sure everyone had the equipment they needed, they had surveys to check in to see how people were going and if they needed anything and they had managers checking in to see if they needed anything. Each team had regular meetings.

    Now they've got most people going in two days per week and it's up to them the other three days. Everyone from the one team is in the office on the same two days. One day would be plenty, but two is reasonable I think.

    I guess if you want to with employees who are not working you could try to negotiate to reduce their pay to be proportionate to the work they're doing, but their quality of work is probably not that great and is likely to get worse under that type of arrangement. Seriously, just get good employees instead.

    • Exactly what we are going to be doing. This is the happy medium.

  • +20

    "Ultimately, reduced pay may lead to better outcomes for the workers"

    Sounds like something only a boss would say.

    • +9

      Something only a BAD boss would say.

    • To impress their boss.

    • Reduced pay is the worst outcome for the workers. LOL

  • +6

    This is some next level brain fart.

  • here's a question - probably off topic but not worth its own thread. if you had a staff member working from home, and they lit up a cigarette, or vaped while on a zoom call, would you be concerned or alarmed? do you have a duty of care as the employer when your staff are in their own homes? should the smoke free office extend to the home office?

    As an employee would you expect that you can smoke in your own home while working?

    • Unless you are on Zoom/Teams 24/7, why do you have to do that in front of the camera?

      Do you have your lunch break on camera as well?

      Off camera, as long as you are doing your work, you don't even have to be dressed. Or wear pants for that matter.

      Just be professional when visible online. And wear pants.

      Unless your job is Onlyfans. Then hey, give the people what they want.

      • +1

        "Or wear pants for that matter."

        I answered a Zoom call without my shirt on once because I just got back from outside during my lunch break and I was hot and sweaty. I quickly learnt turning off the camera in Zoom was not instantaneous.

  • +1

    While I love the office chit chat and engagement, mostly its just a distraction. My productivity has skyrocketed by not being in the office and having people just walk over to ‘pick your brain’ or ‘I know you’re busy but…’

    Tbh i’d happily take being in the office once a fortnight for team meetings/forums/workshops and all the other time wasting activities and the rest wfh.

    Should pay go down? No. But ultimately we’ll each decide to prioritise whats more important to our lives (of course where we are in positions to be able to. Remember many people don’t get this luxury)

  • Would I take a pay cut if that is what it came down? For sure! Say, four days WFH (current situation) vs one day WFH, I'd consider taking up to a 30% pay cut.

    Not going to be volunteering that though, obviously.

  • +1

    100% No. If anything I'd want more money.
    Why would I take a pay cut to work longer hours?
    To dedicate an area in an already small house/unit etc solely for my work setup (screens, computer and other stuff) to always be there for daily use.
    Wear the additional heating, cooling, power and water costs for always being at home for LESS money?
    OTOH, this allows my employer to move to a smaller tenancy, reduce their parking costs, reduce their office running costs, reduce or remove all costs for coffee machines and other things like that (consumable items) that they provide.

    The more money part would be to compensate for those things, the loss of a room or area to work, the extra power, water, gas costs etc.

    • But what about working without any pants on? Or drinking during work? You can’t put a price on that.

      • Bold of you to assume that I wear pants and don't have a drink in hand while in the office!

      • +3

        having no pants at work is common if you work in Government

  • I 100% would. I calculate it as $20 per day to go into the office. (12 travel and 8 for lunch /sometimes bring in leftovers). That's $1000 a year per day you are in every week.

    On top of that if you have a family then quality of life and less commuting etc is a bonus.

    As someone who experiences pain from constant sitting at a desk my body has never been better since corona and I have more time to spend on me and the fam.

    As a specialist who is primarily on computers my job can be done 100% remote so it makes sense to take the pay cut (within reason) to retain quality of life.

    • At the very most your additional lunch expense is $8 less the normal cost of your lunch at home. In my case the cost of the chicken salad I eat most days at home (or take into the office) is about $6.

    • also time = money, so your time of 30 hour commute each way may end up being worth $30

    • Ye the time aspect is really invaluable - as others have mentioned it means you can live in cheaper suburbia which is what we do. I actually prefer a split 1/2 days in the office and the rest remote but i think it will be even more of a motivator for companies to employ the best people going forward whereas in the past it was all about salary and bonuses.

  • Many studies show a decline in output or productivity from home working, with some missing social interactions. If true then the idea of paying less could be linked to quality and quantity of output from home.

    eg European countries that have largely ended remote work programs have shown large productivity increases: France has seen total productivity increase by 113%, Italy by 100%, and the Netherlands by 52%. The report attributes these changes not only to less non-work responsibilities, like childcare, but also due to improved tech support while in the office.

    • +1

      Many studies? Which studies?
      What context is productivity measured ?

      There is no such thing as less non-work responsibilities. You think if someone goes to the office the rest of their life ceases to exist?

      • I'm sure you know how to google, and then you can satisfy your questions with your own answers.

        sadly posting links on this site doesn't suffice even when they are reputable peer reviewed studies.

        • I don’t know how to google, and at home there is no IT to help me :(

          Posting a link to a well reviewed study in a respected journal doesn’t make an argument or position absolute.

          • @cruiseronroad: but studies involving more than 1 company employing many staff go much further than 1 persons personal opinion because they employ a standard method of measurement.

        • You could have copied and pasted the URL from one of these studies faster than this reply. Here’s one that refutes your claim: https://www.apollotechnical.com/working-from-home-productivi....

          • @smartazz104: that's a business ad from 2020 not a peer reviewed research study

            and its not my personal claim as you pretend - its what research studies have concluded this year

  • +2

    For me .. 2.5 hours travel time a days for work is complete waste of time. Sitting in public transport for hours .. doing nothing productive where I could spend some quality time with my family. it should be 'WORK FOR LIVING' not 'LIVING for WORK'. Reasonable paycuts ( for 100% WFH ) should be acceptable but paycuts for Hybrid working model - NO.

    WFH saves heaps of money for org and its better for environment as well. But when environment gets benefits the businesses/governments dont like it.

    For current case.. its pressure from govt to bring back CBD to life.. whether businesses like it or not.
    COVID will remain here for coming many years, so Hybrid/WFH will exist as long as COVID is present. Australia was able to manage in COVID by closing the borders.. but its not long term solution because its a migrant dependent economy .. Not sure how govt is planning to manage it for long.. Only time will tell what happens next.

  • No, the employer saves in accomodation costs with home workers.

  • No, I am more productive and output better work when I am left alone and in my own space. So technically I should be getting paid more

  • +2

    "intrapreneur"………. I guess you learn some new buzzwords everyday………..

  • +3

    Cutting pay to accommodate extra manpower is only short term solution. The more productive/skilled will feel demotivated big time as they wud be carrying slack of less productive ones and ultimately leave which will impact your business.

    So if you have to get costs down - getting rid of unproductive or ones who are no longer relevant is the right solution for your business and customers.

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