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Would you take a pay cut to work from home forever?

·3-min read
Working from home has its benefits and downsides. (Source: Getty)
Working from home has its benefits and downsides. (Source: Getty)

Thousands of Australians have been forced to work from home for the last month as workplaces become effectively banned during the shutdown.

But would you want to work from home indefinitely? And what’s more – would you agree to be paid less to work from home forever?

More than one in four (27 per cent) Australians actually said they would take a pay cut to work from home permanently.

A global survey by OnePoll commissioned by LogMeIn found that a majority of workers saw perks in working from home, especially wearing whatever they wanted (73 per cent), having a flexible schedule (64 per cent) and saving money (56 per cent).

Among Australians, saving time was the biggest benefit of remote work (85 per cent), but many also found working from home challenging.

One in two Aussies struggle with the lack of human interaction and about two in five (42 per cent) are affected by typical household distractions and find that team communication and camaraderie takes a hit (38 per cent).

Could a pay cut be a good idea?

According to Motley Fool’s Maurie Blackman, there can be some upsides to copping a pay cut if you’re working from home: assess your costs of going into the office, and you could even find you’d save money.

“Imagine you're looking at a $3,000 reduction in salary in exchange for being allowed to do your job from home. If you currently spend $250 a month on a train or bus pass to commute to your job, or a similar amount in fuel, then you're effectively breaking even.”

But the other benefit is the time you’ll save, and that could be more valuable than financial remuneration.

“A modest income hit could be well worth the sacrifice if it results in a better work-life balance.”

Unexpected upside of remote work

Work from home doesn’t just have benefits for workers: it’s good for the environment, too.

More than three in four respondents in LogMeIn’s survey said they felt guilty about their commute and its daily impact on the environment.

Working from home can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of a commute, cut down on fuel usage, minimise office waste, and energy costs.

LogMeIn’s Mark Strassman said the flexibility of working from home has long been recognised.

“But as most of the world has turned to full-time remote working amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the unexpected benefits is the impact this is already having on the environment,” he said.

“It’s clear from our survey that office workers are concerned about the impact their behavior is having on the environment, and allowing them to work full-time or even part-time remote can help to mitigate carbon emissions, save employees’ time, and ultimately create a work culture where employees are happier and more productive.”

The environmental benefits of working from home have also been espoused by weather forecasting service AccuWeather as well as NASA and blue-chip tech firms.

"Anything that reduces vehicle miles helps improve air quality and reduce emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming," said University of Wisconsin-Madison global climate change researcher and professor Jack Williams.

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