Google Staffers Face Pay Cuts If They Choose to Work Remote: Why This Is An Issue

The WFH Dilemma

Remote working has been a contentious issue as of late with Google announcing recently that they are planning to cut the pay of their workers that choose to remain to work from home. This decision comes after other big name companies like Facebook and Twitter who have previously decided to do the same. We may begin to see even more companies follow suit as they try to emulate the trends from the bigger players.

Specifically for Google employees, they may see their pay cut anywhere between 5% to as high as 25% for remote work. The reduction in pay would be based on where the staffers would choose to work and if that location has a lower cost of living than the city of their office.

However, according to Reuters, workers will still face pay cuts up to 25% if they choose remote work in Lake Tahoe instead of San Francisco despite both states having identical cost of living.

While companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter may be offering less pay for staffers based on location, other companies have taken the opposite approach. Enterprises such as Reddit and Zillow have stated that they will pay the same amount regardless of where employees are based, citing retention and diversity benefits.

In response to the backlash, a Google spokesperson has noted that “Our compensation packages have always been determined by location, and we always pay at the top of the local market based on where an employee works from.”

It seems like this decision is final and Google staffers, among many others, will have a tough decision in choosing between convenience or pay.

Convenience Or Pay?

Choosing between salary and quality of life should not be a decision that employees have to make but often is. Generally, most people have to make this decision before accepting a job. So how about when a worker is tasked with deciding between the two after a few months on the job?

This is precisely what one Google worker had to go through after Google decided to cut pay based on location. This employee, who decided to remain anonymous, would have seen a 10% pay cut if chosen to work from home.

After careful consideration, the employee decided against this and continued to keep going to the office. Though it is a two-hour commute, the Google staffer cited that he did not want his hard work in getting promoted to go to waste by taking a pay cut.

A pay determination researcher at Washington University, Jack Rosenfeld, points out that Google does not have to necessarily go through with the cut backs. He states, “What’s clear is that Google doesn’t have to do this. Google has paid these workers at 100% of their prior wage, by definition. So it’s not like they can’t afford to pay their workers who choose to work remotely the same that they are used to receiving.”

With reported revenue in the 60 billions from the previous quarter, it is unlikely that Google needs to cut costs to stay afloat. So if it is not a money issue for Google what could it be? Is it that workers are much less productive than those working in the office? Well, according to multiple studies, not necessarily.

Why Remote Working Is Beneficial

In a study done by Stanford University, researchers found that remote workers get 13% more work done. This was attributed to the fact that their home offices were much more convenient and quiet. Another factor was that they were able to be home with their loved ones more often. This caused staffers to  take fewer breaks and sick days than someone who would go into the office everyday.

In fact, Mark Zuckerberg has often praised remote working for giving him more space for long-term thinking and allowing him more time with family, which he has attributed to his increased productivity at work. Zuckerberg has stated that he plans to spend about half of next year working completely remote. When it comes to his company, Facebook, he believes that remote workers could make up about 50% of the company’s workforce in the next five to ten years.

According to a survey conducted by IBM, 54% of the 25,000 adults who polled would prefer to primarily work from home and 75% of adults would prefer the option to do it occasionally. Once restrictions are completely lifted, working remotely is something that we may begin to see more. Managers alike seem to be supportive of the idea as well. A recent Gallup poll showed that over 52% of managers will allow their employees to work from home in light of their positive experiences during coronavirus.

Studies have also shown that those who work remotely put in more hours than those who do not. One noteworthy study found that, during the pandemic, Americans used 35% of the time they would otherwise spend on commuting for their jobs instead.

In a LinkedIn poll done by Tiro Security CEO Kris Rides, 68% of his network answered that they have found themselves working more hours since the pandemic hit. Many of the 400 security professionals cited the change to work from home for the reason they are working more.

One IT professional responded, “Yes, because of the pandemic I had to work more because workflows and procedures had to be adapted overnight for WFH.”

Remote working may also save companies money as well. The expense of the office space, electricity, and internet service would be completely covered by the employee. A study done by AppNeta, shows that remote working can save about $3000 per employee. Considering how many employees Google has, this could really add up.

While most jobs may not be suitable for remote working, given the right circumstances, many roles, particularly those in IT, may stand to benefit. Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, the parent company of DICE, believes that IT workers should be able to have personal time while remote working to better problem solve and code.

A report done by ISACA that took a look at staff retention in IT found that 40% of employees who left their job cited high work stress levels and 32% poor work culture/environment. It may just simply take a gradual shift to remote working that would help to alleviate these numbers.

Will Pay Cuts For WFH Become A Trend?

As of now only a few of the major companies have announced pay cuts for remote working. At this time we are beginning to see more offices opening and encouraging employees to come back into office. Some employees who have found it beneficial to work remotely during the pandemic may plead for WFH to stay.

One of the biggest arguments against remote working is the question of security and the lack of hardware and software. This is especially true for smaller businesses that do not have the resources of a Microsoft or an Apple. We have seen that hackers have been taking advantage of the remote working environment by targeting businesses with weaker security. There has also been a rise of phishing attacks targeting these stay at home workers.

Though, as even Mark Zuckerberg has admitted, remote working may be the future and could be here to stay.

A Word From Us Regarding Remote Working

At Tiro Security, we are completely remote as we feel it is beneficial to balance work and personal life. It is important to allow employees this flexibility because we know sometimes life can get in the way and a happy employee makes for productive work. If you have recently left a company that did not give you this work life balance and are looking for one that does, feel free to contact us.

On the other hand, if you are a business looking to get your positions filled, you may also reach out to us now to let us know about your requirements. You may partner with us through our assessment and rest easy knowing that you will fill your position. If you are a candidate, send over your resume and we’ll work with you to find your next dream move.

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