A U.K. company says it’s fine if their employees want to work exclusively from home… so long as they’re willing to accept a 20 per cent pay cut.
Some staff at Stephenson Harwood LLP, a London-based law firm, were told that post-pandemic work-from-home requests would come with a sizable pay decrease, reports The Guardian.
According to the newspaper, the new salary rules come for existing employees requesting a full-time remote position. Staff already have the ability to work from home two days per week as part of the company’s hybrid work policy.
An employee at the firm told Law.com that during the pandemic, Stephenson Harwood hired lawyers who were based in other locations in the U.K. for resourcing reasons. Those people, according to the source, were hired at a lower pay rate than London employees, as they did not have to contend with the costs of commuting to London.
“Like so many firms, we see value in being in the office together regularly, while also being able to offer our people flexibility,” a firm spokesperson told law website Legalcheek.com. “For the vast majority of our people — and the candidates we speak to — our hybrid working policy works well.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s been much debate over the pros and cons of working from home.
Some say they’re more productive at home and love the lack of commute, which allows them to start earlier and stay later.
Others struggle with remaining focused in a home office and miss in-person interaction with their colleagues.
Stephenson Harwood told BBC News that going forward they would continue to offer the work-from-home option to new employees, but those who take it will be offered the lesser pay.
The firm told the BBC that they didn’t expect many people to choose the full-time remote work position.
Global News spoke with a number of employment specialists earlier this year who said many employees are looking for more flexible working arrangements, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees to stay home.
Jim Stanford, an economist and director of the Centre for Future Work, told Global News that the third of Canadians who were forced into a home office when the pandemic hit have embraced the change.
“It was great for them,” Stanford said.
“They could keep their jobs, they could keep their incomes, they didn’t have to go out and brave getting COVID at work or on the bus to work or whatever.”
Dean Jesuvant, a vice-president at Hays Specialist Recruitment, told Global News that generally there is an adoption of the hybrid model work style with most businesses finding little decline in productivity and in some cases a more productive work environment.
A hybrid model is not without its challenges, however.
“I think the one thing to note, though … factors such as culture and collaboration, 60 per cent of Canadian employees across the board are maintaining that morale and company culture is a huge challenge in a remote environment,” Jesuvant said.
A 2021-22 Amazon business survey released earlier this year found that 43 per cent of workers would look for a new job if mandated to work from the office on a full-time basis.
Of the 1,600 surveyed, 55 per cent said they would be less likely to accept a new job if they were required to work full-time from the office.
Only 12 per cent were in favour of physically working on-site full-time.
— with files from Global News’ Don Mitchell
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