I asked the good folk of LinkedIn for their opinion. Here are the results.
107 out of 121 people from my LinkedIn community voted no. Here is why.
1. Pay cuts could be discriminatory
People don’t always work from home out of choice. It might be that they are in a high-risk category and working from home is a form of ‘shielding’ due to a disability or pregnancy, or it might be because of their caring responsibilities.
‘Employees who are working from home must get the same pay, if they are working their usual hours.’
2. Working from home is not always cheaper or better
Working from home doesn’t always save money. For example, I used to walk to my office so had no commuting expenses. However, my heating bills in the winter might increase if I am home all the time.
This gov.uk guidance includes computers, internet access, pens, gas and electricity charges as an example of homeworking expenses. How many people working from home had their employer contribute to these costs?
Expecting people to cover all these and cut their wages doesn’t appear very responsible.
I also want to address the assumption some people have that working from home is always a privilege. For some, their home is not safe, or frankly too small, or simply isn’t a place where they want to be ALL the time.
‘I feel I’m much more productive in the office, call me old school but I like having somewhere as my ‘place of work’!
3. Pay cuts are bad for morale
‘We’re paid for our jobs and not where we perform them from. I have been no less busy working from home. Having my pay decreased would make me feel devalued.’
Servane had an intriguing idea:
‘When a company has less office costs, they could do the right thing – pass the benefits by offering a pay rise to their employees.’
However, Sarah pointed out that it’s not clear how this would affect the London weighting allowance. Also, it’s hard to criticise people at the top of companies who took temporary paid cuts to prevent job losses - completely on a voluntary basis.
As a corporate social responsibility professional, I worry that some companies might be using the recession and a weaker job market as an excuse to cut corners and save money on their employees. When the pandemic is over, we will still need to have businesses that are viable – and for that we need engaged and loyal teams. That’s more difficult if we are not loyal to them now.
What do you think?