I can’t say I’m surprised to read a new survey that says 26% of workers are considering quitting their jobs after the pandemic. The most relatable data point from the survey is this: “According to the survey, 42% of current remote workers say if their current company does not continue to offer remote work options long term, they will look for a job at a company that does.” I can relate to this 100% as I discussed in my last post, Are We In a Housing Bubble?
Something I have been dealing with when talking with senior leadership at my employer is their constant concern for “culture” changing if they were to allow permanent remote work after the pandemic. What I tell them every time is that we have already been working remotely full-time for over a year and seen productivity increases and numerous other work-life balance improvements by eliminating long commutes, improving network technology, and virtual meetings becoming the norm. The culture has changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and I don’t think there’s any way to roll that back now. This is going to be the “new normal.”
Remote work is what you make it
Another point I like to make is that remote work is what you make it. If you decide to just hunker down and avoid interacting virtually with others, then your work from home experience will be very different than your in-office experience when you run into co-workers at the coffee station, elevators, and break room. Interacting virtually shouldn’t be any more difficult than doing it in person. Take some time each day to send a short message to a colleague and check-in with them to see how they’re doing. Set up recurring phone calls or video chats. You don’t even need to talk about work! This is incredibly important for managers as well in order to keep the lines of communication open. It turns out that maintaining culture is extremely important as people who are considering quitting their job after the pandemic, 42% would rate their company’s efforts to maintain culture during the pandemic as a “C” or lower!
If I were to have been surveyed for this, I would have probably also answered that I was considering leaving my current employer in order to find one that offers permanent remote work. This will become a huge sticking point for many workers and provide an opportunity for companies to pick up great talent and for those that are capable of working from home to enjoy much more flexibility in their personal lives.
Would you take a pay cut to work from home?
I have been asked before about how much of a pay cut I would be willing to take in order to work from home full-time. My answer was 0%. The reason being is that my employer is getting the same (or more) value out of me while working from home, plus they are saving a considerable amount of money by not having to maintain any office space for me and not pay a transportation subsidy and other incidental costs associated with having me in the office. The benefits go both ways too since I am also benefiting from time savings of over ten hours a week by eliminating my commute and spending less on lunches. Since both the employee and employer are gaining from the arrangement, why mess with compensation?
Now what kind of a pay cut would you be willing to make for a new job at an employer that offers 100% work from home if your current employer refuses to allow it? Well, Citrix conducted a survey in the UK and found that workers were open to accepting up to a 20% pay cut to stay working fully from home. Shockingly, 26% were open to accepting a pay cut in excess of 20%! Perhaps those 26% were located in a very high cost of living area and would save a considerable sum by moving somewhere less expensive, or the cost of their commute is excessive both in monetary and time terms.
My ideal work from home location
At first I thought I would need to save more than the loss of income – ideally in monetary terms, but I’d also take into consideration the value of all the extra time saved from commuting. But another consideration is beyond the financial and focuses more on quality of life. Some things you just can’t put a price on and living in a warm, sunny climate would certainly do a lot to increase my quality of life! The States of Hawaii and California rank as the top two in life expectancy in the United States and they both have sun and (mostly) warm temperatures in common. Southern California would be my ideal relocation zone if I were allowed to work remotely from home on a permanent basis. While the cost of living in Southern California is higher than most of the country, it is comparable to what I’ve experienced in Washington, DC and would allow me to stay on track with my high savings rate toward achieving FI/RE. But with the beaches, palm trees, and near perfect weather, I would have a much more healthy and fulfilling environment that may actually lead to a longer life!