Would you take a pay cut for working remotely? Here’s what you told us!

Whether employees should be allowed to work remotely full-time is quickly becoming one of the great debates of modern life. Many companies (including some large ones, like Airbnb) have wholeheartedly embraced remote working for their workforces; but there is also growing resistance from executives, pundits, mayors and consultants who think employees belong in the office.

“It’s not in your best interest to work from home,” author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell recently said on a podcast. “I know it’s hard to get into the office, but if you’re just sitting in your bedroom in your pajamas, is that the professional life you want to live?”

Warming to his theme, Gladwell added, “I’m really very frustrated with the inability of people in leadership positions to explain this effectively to their employees.” (As an author and speaker who presumably sets his own working hours and conditions, does Gladwell work from home? Does he find it fulfilling? But we digress.)

The push to get back to work comes from many directions, from New York Times Opinion Pieces to municipal governments who want workers spend your money downtown. But many workers don’t really want to go back and, given the current unemployment rate, they feel in a strong position – according to our latest quiz, only a quarter would be willing to take a pay cut to work from home :

Some 1,935 respondents took this quiz online, so that’s a decent sample size. It also reinforces some recent tech industry data on remote work, particularly that widespread remote work has begun to narrow the traditional “geographic divide” in compensation.

For many years, technologists in major tech hubs such as Silicon Valley could expect to make slightly more money than their professional colleagues in other cities such as Kansas City of Phoenix. This discrepancy was due to factors such as the cost of living of major tech hubs, the presence of large companies in these tech hubs willing to pay huge salaries to technologists, etc. But data from Payscale, Protocol, and other companies and publications have come to a similar conclusion: Wages continue to rise in major tech hubs, but they’re rising even faster in cities and states that don’t have traditionally favored large tech communities.

“For senior software engineers, the pay gap between the most expensive and least expensive US cities shrank by two-thirds between 2019 and 2021, according to data from compensation data provider Pave,” Protocol recently explained. “By the third quarter of last year, the gap between Tier 1 salaries and Tier 3 salaries had narrowed from 18.1% to just 5.9%.

Remote work is believed to be driving the decline, and it reflects the reluctance of many technologists to take a pay cut if they choose to work from their couch or home office. Many companies may want everyone back in the office, but they will have to really push to get workers to come back.

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