Office workers would be willing to sacrifice up to 20% of their salary in return for a fully remote role that allowed them to work from anywhere, according to new research form Citrix.
A poll of 1,000 office workers in the UK conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Citrix found that three-quarters (75%) of employees would accept a pay cut in return for a job that allowed them to work remotely.
On average, respondents said they would be willing to take a 14% salary reduction if it meant they had the freedom to work from anywhere. Based on the average UK salary of £30,472 ($41,541) per year, this would represent a gross reduction of around £4,266 ($5,815) on average per employee, per year.
The findings suggest that office workers, both in the UK and elsewhere, are beginning to realize the benefits of flexible-working arrangements that promote a better work-life balance and empower them to take more control over how, when and where they work.
Citrix’s study echoes findings by anonymous professional network Blind in August 2020, which found that a third of workers would be willing to take a 35% pay cut if it meant a better work-life balance.
Over a quarter (27%) of workers surveyed by Citrix said they would accept a pay cut of between 15-20% for a fully remote role, with a similar number (26%) prepared to accept a pay cut of over 20% for the benefit.
Citrix found that those aged between 45 and 54 were prepared to take the largest pay cut, averaging 16% – or £4,887 gross salary, based on the national average income. Nearly one in five (17%) employees within this age group were willing to forgo more than 25% of their salary for remote working, the company discovered.
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The over 55s were the least open to salary reductions for the benefit of remote working, with 36% saying they wouldn’t accept a pay cut for permanent remote working.
Darren Fields, regional vice president of UK &amp; Ireland at Citrix, said: “We’re now in a world where employees have seen the potential that remote working holds to improve their work/life balance – so much so that they’re willing to forgo a significant portion of their salaries to achieve this on a permanent basis.”
The coronavirus pandemic and resulting transition from physical offices to virtual ones is one factor contributing to the changing attitudes to remote work. Where it was once regarding with skepticism and reluctance by many, businesses have since realized that employees can be trusted to work remotely without massive drops in productivity or output (though it’s worth noting that this isn’t the case for everyone).
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As a result, remote-working arrangements are widely expected to become a key feature in the post-COVID ‘new normal’, which has led to some economists suggesting that employees who can work from home should even be taxed for the privilege.
Researchers from Deutsche Bank argued that taxing remote workers would mean that money saved on food and travel expenses could be fed back into the economy, or redistributed to low-income workers whose roles can’t be performed over a Wi-Fi connection.
Whether the prospect of an additional tax would change people’s willingness to sacrifice a slice of their paycheck remains to be seen, though Citrix’s study is yet another indicator of how much value employees place on being unshackled from traditional – and increasingly outdated – nine-to-five routines.
“Technology allows us to take control of our working lives in a way we’ve never been able to before. Thankfully, those wishing to spend more time working remotely are no longer burdened by outdated cultures and stigmas,” said Fields.
“Whether you’re working from home, a collaborative working space or a coffee shop, with the right technology, employees can benefit from the same secure digital workspace they would traditionally have experienced in the office, remaining productive and engaged, wherever they are logged on.”