Would you take a pay cut to web work?


Obviously, the answer to the question posed in the headline is, ideally, no — we’d all like to keep our salary steady when we gain the independence of virtual work. But the reality is far from every company has jumped on the virtual work bandwagon, making the ability to work from wherever you please a valuable commodity. So if you had to take a pay cut to get it, how much would the flexibility be worth to you?

Everyone’s situation is different when it comes to transport, childcare and miscellaneous work-related costs, but nonetheless The Christian Science Monitor has taken a stab at answering this question in a recent article. The piece opens with the story of a Kansas woman who took a 60 percent pay cut to web work full-time, but actually broke even thanks to savings in the cost of childcare and commuting. Is this in any way typical?

Losing more than half your pay check is extreme, but surveys show that many people claim they’d take less money for more flexibility – one poll from Dice Holdings found 35 percent of IT pros would accept a pay cut to telecommute, while Staples just revealed 74 percent of workers would sacrifice 2.5 percent and 20 percent would lose 10 percent of their pay to telecommute.

So workers are willing to pay for the privilege of web work, but putting aside the lifestyle benefits, does it make sense on a pure dollars and cents basis?  According to the Christian Science Monitor, this is how the numbers stack up:

Employees working at home for half a workweek (versus every workday) save an average $362 per person per year on gasoline costs, according to an analysis by Telework Research Network. Among other possible savings: an average $7.37 a day on meals and $2.41 a day on professional clothes, calculates TRN…. Overall, workers can save as much as $6,800 a year by being home-based for half of every workweek.

Check out the article for many more details and more personal perspectives on the trade offs involved.

Would you (or your employees) be willing take a $6,800 pay cut for half a week of location independence?

Image courtesy of Flickr user klynslis



I would take a $6,000 pay cut to work a half a week at home. I think I could actually get more done this way. You know what I mean when you are in your office it seems like everyone has something that is so important to tell you. I just want to do my work get paid and leave. LOL That is what I go in for the check not the company.


NO! The company saves on telephone, office rental, supplies, utilities…which I am now paying to keep my home office. I love that I can work from home, but just keeping my current salary, I make less money and the company saves.


Oh and I forgot the cost of computers, printers, ink, and paper, internet and ftp hosting. Doesn’t really compare to saving on clothes, or dry cleaning, especially since I dress the same at my home office as I do when I go into the office, Meals? Umm yep I still eat…and gas…don’t have a car. Wait maybe I should get a raise!

David Meyer

No. The company would be saving money in real-estate by nit having me parked there. Having worked from home for most of my career, I think my company is getting a good deal more out of me

Rufus Dogg

This is kinda crazy. Corporations always forget the other side of the equation on any cost savings and just look at the expense line. All this is doing is lowering the salary average for everyone. Just like quality; costs are shaved by using cheaper materials and then they are shaved again but everyone forgets that the material was shaved to get those costs-savings in the first place. Eventually, you end up with a crappy product or service that fails in the marketplace and everyone wonders why.

Same with people and salaries. Eventually, you shave and when the original person who took a 60% pay cut moves on, the company tries to fill the job with the same payroll dollars, can’t with a quality person and does eventually with someone less skilled, less qualified. Arguments advocating for salary parity will fall on deaf ears. And then everyone wonders why it all falls apart. Just gutted from within.

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