The pandemic showed that many people were just as productive working from home as they were in the office. Many companies came to the decision to allow people to continue to work from home even when people were able to return to an office setting. Many companies took the opportunity to get rid of expensive office space. Others realized that remote work allowed them to recruit from anywhere in the country since it was not necessary to commute to a specific location.
For many people, being able to work remotely meant they were no longer tied to a specific locality and those who wanted to move were now able to do so without having to quit their job and look for employment somewhere where the opportunities simply do not exist.
With the pandemic beginning to wane and cities opening with no restrictions, many businesses are deciding if they are going to continue to allow people to work remotely or if they are going to require people to return to the office. Businesses that decided to allow remote work are now deciding how to deal with having employees living in cities and states they have never had to deal with before. Since the cost of living depends on where you live, companies are deciding if they are going to keep their salary levels where they were or if they are going to offer salaries based on the cost of living where the employee lives.
Reddit, Inc., based in San Francisco and Zillow Group, based in Seattle, Washington decided that they are going to keep their salaries the same for people who continue to work out of their respective home offices and for those that will continue to work remotely, even if they moved to areas with a lower cost of living.
On the other hand, Facebook, whose corporate offices are in Menlo Park, California, and Stripe, Inc., with headquarters in both San Francisco and Dublin, Ireland have decided to adjust salaries based on the location of the employee. Slack, Twitter, and VMWare, all also based in Silicon Valley have announced reductions in salaries for people who are moving away from the Bay area.
Location-based salaries and benefits packages are not new, and in fact are standard practices for businesses that have offices in multiple locations across the country. Like so many things, the pandemic has forced businesses to make changes they might not have been prepared for and didn’t have a policy for, so businesses that never had to deal with workers in several states are now trying to figure out how to move forward in a manner that is both fair for the employees and sustainable for the business.
The pandemic was just another step in making the world a smaller place. We are going to have to watch over the next few years what this new reality to do to salary trends across the country. Will salaries equalize causing the cost of living in remote areas of the country climb? COVID-19 had a severe impact on so many people on a personal level. Will the impact expand to the professional areas of our lives? Time will tell.