COVID-19 has about one-quarter of us working from home on a more or less permanent basis now. Knowledge workers have actually been clamoring for more flexible work arrangements for quite some time, and the tech infrastructure required to make that a reality has held up during this pandemic. To management and HR, however, remote work looks like an opportunity for cost-cutting — and it's not just in office space.
Big tech platforms like Facebook have already made news for advising employees who leave the Bay Area that their salaries will not carry over at Bay Area rates. In other words, if you were hoping to make cost-of-living improvements by shifting your home base to someplace more affordable, your employer may not play along. The backlash hasn't just been among workers, though. Other companies are now proactively stating that salaries will maintain their home-base levels no matter where remote employees live.
Still, even if a move isn't in the cards for you, remote work as a trend will almost certainly have an effect on your paycheck, and a lasting one at that. "Wage growth may slow in the coming years as a result of the shift to remote work because employees are saving large amounts of money on commuting, work attire, and housing," ZipRecruiter labor economist Julia Pollak told CNBC.
Overall, we really don't want to go back into the office if we don't have to. If you are eyeing greener pastures, though, make sure you get good with your HR staff by asking these three questions first.