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Would you trade pay to keep working from home?

Disability insurance company Breeze surveyed 1000 people in the U.S to find out what the ability to work remotely was worth, and what workers would be willing to give up to keep it.

Workin' from home. (Photo by Flickr user So Many Desks, obtained under a Creative Commons license)
What’s remote work worth to you? Would you give up pay, benefits or even your favorite platform?

A new report on remote work raises these, and other questions about the value of remote work at a time when many are considering making it a permanent mode.

In a report surveying 1,000 workers from disability insurance company Breeze, 15% of workers would take a 25% pay cut at their current or next employer if that employer offered them the option of working remotely full-time. The results also showed that 65% of workers said they’d take a 5% pay cut to work from home.

The survey of American workers included respondents from a cross-section of states, including 13 from Maryland. The company inquired about what employees would be willing to give up in order to work remotely. It comes at a decision point. About 16 months after many knowledge workers started WFH amid the spread of COVID-19, many companies are confronting a choice about their post-pandemic futures: Do they want to remain remote, call teams back to the office, or mix the two and forge on in hybrid mode.

The survey didn’t only ask about paycuts. Nearly 40% of respondents said they would give up health insurance benefits, while about half said they would give up social media for a year.

The survey even went so far as to ask if one would give up the right to vote if they could work remotely. Although you’d think that would be a guaranteed no, 34% of people said they would surrender their suffrage. If folks are willing to give that up, no wonder there’s so many reports of workers who are willing to quit a job if they have to return back to the office.

The results show that the benefits of remote work, like avoiding the morning and evening traffic of the commute as well as flexibility are worth a lot. The data offers one argument that if managers and CEOs know what’s good for them, they’ll let their employees eat cake, and work in their comfy pants.

“It’s clear employers will need to incorporate remote work to some degree — not only to attract the best candidates, but also to retain current employees,” the report states.

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

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