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What would you give up to work from home?

We are willing to sacrifice.

But, in some ways, it just doesn’t make sense.

A recent survey shows telecommuters will accept lower pay and fewer benefits to enjoy the ability to work from home. FlexJobs asked employees who work from home and employees who want to telework what they would sacrifice.

They learned:

✓ 22.9% would take a 10 per cent cut in pay
✓ 22.9% would take a reduction in hours
✓ 22.5% would take fewer health benefits
✓ 21.8% would take less vacation time
✓ 17.9% would work longer hours
✓ 16.2% would give up employer-matched retirement contributions

Telecommuters are as skilled as their in-office colleagues. Because their productivity and quality of work increases with the lessened distractions of office life, they may be even more valuable to the company than they think.

And when you factor in the amount of money telecommuters save their employers by not taking up space at company HQ, it can become even more confusing.

work from home infographic

Check out the full infographic here.

In another survey, Ravi S. Gajendran, a professor of business administration at University of Illinois, learned telecommuters want to be seen as “good citizens” of the company to justify their work arrangements.

“They feel compelled to go above and beyond to make their work presence more visible, to make themselves known as assets,” Gajendran said. “In fact, they almost overcompensate by being extra helpful, because they know in the back of their minds that their special arrangement could easily go away. So they give a little extra back to the organization.”

It may also be a show of thanks to our supervisors.

“Their thinking could be, ‘My boss is giving me something special, I’ve got to reciprocate and give a little back,’ ” he said. “Our data doesn’t tease that apart, but I imagine it’s possible. If you’re working remotely, you don’t want your co-workers to resent that arrangement. You want them to continue to think you’re helpful. You don’t want to be ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”

It’s almost like we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

We want the ability to work from home and we know we’re winning, since we can work in our pyjamas if we want to, we have no commute, we spend less money on car repairs, coffee and out-of-office lunches, and we get to minimize the amount of office politics we encounter.

Our work-life balance is better, our families get to see more of us and we report happier, less stressful lives.

However, it’s troubling to see stories online that encourage companies to offer lower pay to telecommuters.

Drew Hendricks is a self-professed “social media, business and environmental addict” and a contributing writer to He recently wrote an article extolling the benefits a company can enjoy from implementing a telecommuting program.

No. 2 on his list was the ability to offer lower pay.

“Many employees would happily accept lower wages in exchange for telecommuting,” Hendricks wrote.

He added that businesses should take care to offer a fair wage, though.

“You also need to research what kind of perks are going to attract the best candidates, and telecommuting vs. wages aren’t always on equal footing,” he said.

Whether you’re negotiating a flexible work arrangement with your existing employer or determining whether to accept a telecommuting offer from a new employer, you must also take care to ensure you get the best offer you can.

Even the ability to work from home may not be worth a lower wage if you are undervaluing your skills and affecting the pay scale of your entire profession.

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