July 29, 2021

What is a compelling job offer to a remote worker?

When everyone is working remote, what constitutes a compelling offer? There are no shortages of opinions on this. Here are a few candid remarks on the topic and keep in mind that there is no wrong answer only, which option works best for you. 

Some people are of the mind that work belongs in the office, collaborating with your peers. And that any job offer has to include the provision that you show up in a physical space everyday. The Gallup organization is a proponent of returning to the office and is quoted as saying this:

By bringing people back into the office under one banner, employees can more intimately experience the environment, touchpoints, messaging, values and rituals that signal who you are as an organization.

Others believe that the office is the past and that working from home is the permanent norm and the best way to get things done. Consider this quote from technology reporter – Taylor Lorenz.

"Hybrid" work isn't going to work if it's just some people in the office and some people at home. The "office" needs to become a hub where people go to connect to the digital presence of the company - soundproofed, pro streaming setups, built for digital communication

But according to data from Slack, who surveyed remote workers globally, the hybrid model of work from home and work from the office is the way to go.

This correlates with survey data from Slack who surveyed 3,480 teleworkers across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan and Australia. 63% liked the hybrid working model, 20% wanted to work from home full time, and just 12% wanted to go back to the office five days a week. The hybrid office/WFH model was mostly appreciated by younger workers. 82% of 25- to 34-year-olds in those countries prefer this mixed way of working.

Curiously enough, Millennials and GenZ appreciated the hybrid model most of all because they want to work in a social setting whereas GenX and Boomers preferred to stay home. So, depending on the demographics of your workforce, you can make a fair prediction of what will work best for your company. The same sentiment was detected by PC Magazine as well, who pointed it out among Millennials and Generation Xers.

The poll also showed that younger workers (millennials and Gen-Xers) definitely favored the hybrid model, but with an emphasis on the workplace rather than the home. Of these, 10% wanted to work in the office full time, while 18% preferred a hybrid model where the majority of work was done in the office. Then 21% expected an even split, while 22% were looking for a ratio that favored home working. Only 29% wanted an all-home work environment. According to the study, younger workers not only favored hybrid flexibility but also missed the social interaction at the office and even believed that working solely at home would hurt their careers in the long term.

Now whether you go strictly office or home office or hybrid, I wanted to share a bright idea concerning offer negotiation. If you think it something that could work for your company, have at it.

Flat Salary + Home Office Expenditures + Merit Bonuses = Remote Worker Pay

Pay everyone the same amount of salary for the work performed. For example, Salary.com lists the median salary for an entry level software developer in the USA is $68,130 USD. Depending on where the worker lives, this will result in either a pay increase or decrease. Bear with me, as I continue.

In addition to paying someone for their specific skill set, add to the salary a “home office allowance” which factors in location and relevant office expenditures. Essentially, when you hire a remote worker you are subleasing their home and as with any office, there are expenses like electricity, office supplies, rent, snacks and so forth. These expenses fluctuate in diverse markets so therein is the wiggle room for compensation negotiation.

Finally, add in the incentive pay of merit-based bonuses for reaching and exceeding goals. Make sense? In this way, a company can have full transparency on who gets paid what while also, having a privacy component. No one would know how much merit pay impacts a worker’s salary. No one would know the exact amount allocated for a home office, although I would suggest a range based on worker location. (After all, some local utilities charge more than others.)

If this idea resonates with you and companies who hire remote workers, then I imagine we will see more tools like Google’s “Work Location Tool.” In a nutshell, it helps workers calculate how their physical location affects their salary. Perhaps on job descriptions it will become commonplace to see various salary estimates, for one job, as remote workers can be engaged virtually.  

While this move would certainly be attractive to remote workers, I can also sense the trepidation from some companies. How can a company truly know where someone is based if there is VPN technology that can mask an IP address? Towards that end, I suspect companies will do as Facebook has done and require workers to report to an office twice a week. If not that, physically “check in” with a remote office or business partner (Starbucks?) using some sort of visual confirmation process or, leverage a technology that prevents workers from IP masking.

I am curious as to what you think of these ideas. Please leave a comment below.

Jim

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