If you're one of the millions of Americans working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the thought may have crossed your mind: Would my salary go farther somewhere else? Especially for those crammed into small apartments with growing lifestyle needs, leaving the city for something a little more spread out and affordable sounds like an ideal solution. After all, we've proved more or less that remote work can function well in the knowledge economy. Shouldn't that free up employees to go wherever they're most comfortable?
CNN's Jeanne Sahadi would urge you to hold your horses. This week, Sahadi laid out a number of important questions to consider if you'd like to take your work-from-home situation far away from your physical office. You might think you're picking up all the slack in this scenario — after all, you've got to establish boundaries and coordinate your responsibilities without any of the benefits of face-to-face communication. Your employer sees things very differently, though.
Assuming your company does approve this permanent work-from-home or relocation arrangement, HR may seek or even be required to change three elements of your contract.
- If you move somewhere with a more affordable cost of living, your salary may be adjusted downward. This is already a contentious topic at Facebook, where in-office workdays in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area may not resume for quite a while.
- Particularly if you cross state lines, you may see changes to things like your health insurance or paid time off. Many of these are regulated by states rather than nationally, and interfacing with those systems may cause you and your employer headaches.
- Finally, your taxes will change, though only a local tax expert can say how. Again, these will cause headaches both for you and your employer, which may create drag on your employer's willingness to support the move.
See what kinds of changes your job will allow before you make any big plans — assuming, that is, your big plan isn't to change jobs altogether.