A Pay Cut for Telecommuting?


ScreenshotA widely-reported survey done earlier this year by job site Dice Holdings comes up with a somewhat perplexing result: 37% of the IT professionals they surveyed said they would be willing to take up to a 10% pay cut to telecommute. On the one hand, this seems like an obvious reaction to the spiraling cost of gasoline. But on the other, it seems like a very one-sided way to look at the economics of telecommuting.

After all, when a substantial portion of the workforce telecommutes, employers can cut down on facility and supply costs – just ask Sun, who have taken a serious look at the numbers. There’s also pervasive evidence that telecommuting increases job satisfaction, lowering recruiting costs. If telecommuting is a financial win-win, there’s no reason for workers to take a pay cut; smart employers will encourage remote work by sharing the financial benefits.

Photo credit: sxc user matteo86



I would, but simply because it would allow me to live out in the country further, where the cost of living is lower.

The reason companies don’t want to do it is because it requires more of management. No longer can ad-hoc meetings and let information spread organically, and decide who’s most productive by how much time they spend in the office. No, they have to plan effectively and accurately, and bother to communicate.


Offering to take a pay cut is extremely short sighted. Having worked remotely for years and not being in sales (or another measurable job), I find the entire approach has an effect on career and salary progression I never expected. Mind you telecommuting can be fantastic for many reasons, but try it out and take a real look at who’s not working remotely, where your management will be and how much face to face access you’ll have when you want it. Working in our gym-shorts and tennies all day sounds great when you’re loosening that tie in rush our traffic on you forty minute commute home but think of the long term impact of missed opportunities with co-workers, the boss, and customers and the incremental effect on your career and income. I could make the argument that telecommuters need higher pay as a risk premium for helping companies “learn” how to manage remotely while they take the career risk.


I’ve been telecommuting at my job for years and happily make less than my “salt mine” bretheren (and sistern). Hell, now that the price of gas is so high, I feel like I’ve received a raise!


Perhaps, but until telecommuting is more widely accepted in corporate America, workers unfortunately having to find ways to sell the idea to management.


Unfortunately the discussion of ‘telecommuting’ never seems to leave open the question, ‘Could there be another way to support more people remotely”. I encourage a deeper understanding of the possibilities that ‘ work from home’ and hotelling are not the only way we could marshal telecommunications resources. Please review the multi-location work center approach described on http://www.pocketsnet.com.


Telework is a win-win and there shouldn’t be some financial penalty to the worker for a situation that save the company money. In my opinion, telework is more productive in many cases due to fewer distractions as long as the worker has the discipline to be productive.

The survey is really a measure of IT workers interest in telework; not a measure of supply-demand market in the IT workforce.

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