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Should Remote Employees be paid the same as their on-site peers?

The issue of fairness remains a perennial concern, with employees seeking to ensure equitable treatment under varying circumstances.

This is echoed in sentiments such as,

“Smokers who always take breaks outside. I do not take that many breaks, which is unfair”.

“They are always leaving early to pick up her kids. I feel like I am being punished because I do not have kids”.

A more recent and prominent topic of the debate revolves around the question,

“Should remote employees earn the same salary as those who come into the office”?

There exist inherent disparities between remote employees and their on-site counterparts.

Remote workers enjoy freedoms others do not. Some obvious examples are enjoying the advantage of not incurring commuting expenses and spending less time away from the comfort of t

heir home. Some less obvious, but important to many, are very casual attire, enormous flexibility in their schedule, and the ability to run errands and do household chores which gives them more freedom during their weekends.

A former controller I worked with not only loved running, but it was also very helpful with her ADHD. The last time I spoke to her she was happily telling me her remote job gave her the flexibility to run every day at lunchtime.

“I will never return to the office”. Being able to exercise at lunch every day is life-changing for me. I am not so stressed out anymore”.

It's worth noting that certain professionals grant employees the option to work remotely, but many critical roles do not offer such latitude. A few noteworthy examples include medical professionals, teachers, police officers, firefighters, restaurant employees, and numerous others. These roles play a pivotal role in society's functioning.

At Fill the Gap HR, we like to find solutions.

Solutions to easing the stress of your on-site employees

1. Subsidize Commuting Costs for On-Site Employees: Employers can consider subsidizing their on-site employees' commuting expenses, whether it be covering the costs of gasoline for their cars or providing them with subway cards. Such a gesture is likely to incur minimal expenses for the organization and could prove more cost-effective than the potential loss of a valuable employee.

2. Flexible Time Off for On-site Employees: Granting on-site employees flexible time off such as early Fridays, or longer lunches without penalty. Consider granting employees a type of PTO where they use the morning or afternoon to see doctors for themselves or loved ones without detracting from their PTO. This will alleviate daily burdens and enhance their job satisfaction.

3. Embrace “Bring your Pet to the Office Day”: In an effort to maintain an enjoyable and calming atmosphere at work, welcome pets. A rotating schedule can be made that limits the amounts or types of pets brought on a particular day.

4. Encourage Timely Departures: Repeat after me, rested and happy employees are productive employees. Encourage them to leave the office in order to avoid rush hour and attend their child’s school play, work out, grab dinner with loved ones, or simply go home. One study found that when people have predictable and consistent time off work, they are more productive overall because they feel more mentally rested, which increases motivation and work enjoyment (Perlow & Porter, 2009).

In conclusion, the question of whether remote employees should receive the same salary as their on-site counterparts is a multifaceted issue. Acknowledging the disparities and implementing measures to address the unique challenges faced by on-site employees can foster a more inclusive and harmonious work environment. This will benefit everyone involved.

If you have questions or would like help crafting language around this topic, or any other HR concerns, please reach out.

Fill the Gap HR


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