Tech Workers Would Trade Pay to Telecommute

Chart: Tech Workers will Take a Pay Cut to Telecommute

Tech workers like telecommuting so much that they’re willing to take a pay cut to get it, according to a recent survey by GetVoIP, a comparison shopping service for remote workers, businesses and homes.

Fifty three percent of the 501 technology workers surveyed indicated they are willing to accept reduced compensation in order to telecommute. How much of a reduction you may ask? An average of 7.9 percent.

To put this into dollars and cents, a software developer earning $90,530 a year would be willing to forgo $7,152.

Surprisingly, the survey found 31.9 percent would accept a reduction of up to 10 percent of their annual income for the convenience. Even more surprising, 6.7 percent said they’re comfortable kissing off more than 31 percent of their annual pay in order to work from home. That would represent nearly $28,900 using our software developer’s rate of pay.

However, employers need to determine the productivity tradeoff, the survey noted. For example, if a company loses 10 percent of an employee’s productivity by allowing them to telecommute, the 7.9 percent it might save in salary would be a net loss.

Maybe that’s what Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was thinking when she put the kibosh on telecommuting as a way to drive more interaction among the company’s employees.

21 Responses to “Tech Workers Would Trade Pay to Telecommute”

  1. jelabarre

    I think Marissa Mayer’s thought were not on un-measurable factors such as “productivity loss”, and more about getting people to work face-to-face as a unified team. Of course, if they’re like a certain other 3-letter tech firm in downstate NY, even when everyone is in the office together they chat over phone or Sametime anyway. Yahoo needs to overcome boneheaded design decisions long before anything else.

    • Rob Sutton

      You can go to and search for jobs with the option of ‘telecommute’ ticked. Python/Django jobs for example are hot for telecommute. Many web programming jobs have telecommute options because it’s easty to collaborate, work and upload code from home. You may have to go into the office some but if you are good at your job then you can do much from home.

  2. Matthew Reiser

    Working remotely for 16 years, I’ve always gotten much MORE done. No water cooler gossip, no walking/driving to lunch, no biking/driving to work, fewer interruptions, etc.

  3. I would love to know what study shows that telecommute employees are less productive, referring to the comment “For example, if a company loses 10 percent of an employee’s productivity by allowing them to telecommute”. Having worked from home for 14 years, I can tell you that you can concentrate and be much more productive at home versus sitting in an office getting interrupted and listening to non-work conversations through-out the day. So I would love to see the study or survey that came to that conclusion.

    • I agree. I work at home and can concentrate. I see office workers taking 30-60 minute “coffee” or “cigarette” breaks. Long lunches. Come in late, leave early. I see a lot of talking about non work related stuff. I often lose track of time and work well beyond what is expected. Because I don’t have the commute time, I put in extra work. I get focused time, not constant interruptions. I actually went to my boss one time to complain about a coworker who was constantly making personal calls (after asking her repeatedly to go to the break room to make them, and she did not). He told me that office noise normal and get used to it. I can understand an impromptu meeting, but personal calls, all day?

      Also, due to my physical condition, it is more difficult to go in to work, so I need to telecommute. I am actually surprised as to how many people do not even consider the idea, even taking into account my condition. I thought there were laws but apparently those are ignored. I don’t really push the issue, as there is enough work I suppose.

      I do agree though that many people who have not worked at home do not know how to handle it and can be unproductive, especially if they have families that do not understand or do not have separate office space. You cannot setup a laptop on a dining room table with little kids running around and expect to be productive.

  4. What is the source of the comment about a possible 10% loss of productivity from working at home? The other numbers were supported by reference to a survey.
    When I work from home my productivity goes up. I save hours per day in commute, and I put most of that into work. When I am out of the office, I take pains to be available all the time, so no one thinks I am slacking. Telecommuting is a privilege. If I abuse it, they can revoke it (like at Yahoo).
    I do think it is good to go in now and then to meet people face to face.

  5. Yes! What kind of jobs for different computer qualifications? High and low, from requireing 4 year degree to certifcation packed (MCSA, MCSE, CCNA, etc…) to just some knowledge bout computers.

  6. Studies have shown that most remote workers are actually more productive, since they don’t have to deal with the distractions of an office – especially with this new “open collaborative workspace” fad going around now. Have you ever tried to concentrate when there are 15 different conversations, multiple conference calls, and people moving around you all day? Collaboration is great, but at some point a software developer has to sit and write code. Not everyone can work well in an environment full of distractions.

    Working remotely allows workers to forego tiresome commutes and expend their energies on their work and not on the daily grind of going to and from the office. Collaboration can quite easily be enabled with things like Skype, Webex, conference calls, and similar technologies. Not to mention, it can save businesses money by allowing them to use smaller office spaces.

    Telecommuting isn’t for everyone, but it’s really a good thing for software development. I have a slightly lower contract rate for telecommuting than for onsite work because it does save me money by not having to commute and buy a larger wardrobe of office clothing (can hang out in jeans or sweats when working at home 🙂 )

    • “Have you ever tried to concentrate when there are 15 different conversations, multiple conference calls, and people moving around you all day?”

      Well, I worked for 5.5 years in an open space office – a big floor, no walls, no cubicles – with 1,400 other people. The most strange is that it was possible to concentrate. We routinely designed serious systems and wrote nontrivial and very efficient codes.

      Of course, a personal office is more conductive to concentration. However, I would say that the biggest issue affecting productivity on the floor was not a noise or distractions, but a poor ventilation. Too strong draft in parts of the floor, high concentration of carbon dioxide in other parts.

  7. Productivity goes DOWN if you work from home? I’ve found the exact opposite. No commuting time, lunch is right there in the kitchen rather than somewhere I have to walk, and no one is coming up and constantly bothering me. I just sit down, fire up my machine, and start writing code.

    I’m sure there are people who abuse the privilege, but then I’ve known plenty of people who slack off in the office too.

  8. I have worked many years Virtually and can attest my BEST SUCCESS and most productive and focused results were in fact in Remote roles.
    To concur with TODD: I wonder how much $$$ companies are losing to idle chatter-web surfing and people watching the clock. The idea of some ability to regulate efforts by enacting an “On Premises” rule is outdated -ineffective and silly. Twenty…Ten years ago even it made sense because there was a major deficit in communication & coordination.

    With Technology AND the right implementation you can create the equal synergy and collaboration that exists in the MOST EFFICIENT Brick And Mortar model.

    In a competitive market there is a significant value added to the autonomy a remote model serves.
    The “Old School” thinkers like YAHOO/HP and others will find this a growing factor in acquiring AND retaining the BEST.

    If Miss Mayer’s major issue is productivity let me assure her the resolution is NOT adopting a different logistical model. Perhaps she should start by simply HIRING the Right people who understand accountability and have an inherent sense of purpose.

    RW Stoufus

  9. I’ve worked 4 years from home. If anything, productivity is INCREASED 100%. There are absolutely NO distractions. NO annoying conversations breaking your focus– whether they are others discussing work-related problems, or (more frequently) just chatting away about stupid things. I don’t have fluorescent lighting giving me a headache. I don’t lose hours of my life sitting in a car or train. My vehicle does not pollute. It does not suffer wear and tear. I AM HAPPIER. I AM 100% MORE MOTIVATED TO WORK.

    The stats refudiating any benefit to a company that lets employees work remotely is 100% fictional, and completely opinion (of CEO’s most likely).

  10. I agree, I’ve been a remote worker for 5 years now and my productivity is much better than ever before. I also save a ton of money on the commute and clothes. I’ve turned down permanent employment that require on site for contract positions as remote. If at all possible, I’ll never go into an office again. When I have to go into an office, I spend 2 to 3 hours in my car, then an hour preparing to go in, which is time that can be spent on productive work. I won’t work overtime if I’m on site but have no issue with doing it if I’m remote. If companies are wise, they will realize this is the way to go to save money, retain employees and have better production rates. Not to mention the save on real estate space and environment. I see a whole lot of pros and not too many cons. If you have trouble with your people who work remote, then you need to examine your HR policy and see where you are getting the wrong people for the job. The professionals I work with have no issues with working and not slacking off.

  11. Christian Kobsa

    I just finished involvement on a “Workplace of The Future” project; thus had an opportunity to read numerous studies on productivity and efficiency.
    It is a proven fact by now, that these parameters are NOT negatively impacted by working remotely. Much to the contrary. The above quoted study seems fundamentally flawed, influenced by some preconceived bias.

    Increasing traffic density, longer commute times, decreased employer flexibilty – just to name a few factors – all contribute to higher stress level for today’s professional knowledge workers. And there is a direct and well documented correlation between this kind of stress and decreased productivity and efficiency.

    Considering just these factors, the visionary employer, that wants to grow and maintain his intellectual resources should seriously consider implementing a work-remotely-policy. Concerns about employees goofing off are mostly unfounded; particularly in an environment that is results oriented.

    So would I accept a pay cut for the “privilege” to work remotely? Absolutely not. They should give you a raise, because your productivity will actually increase.

  12. I was just calculating my savings in gas/tolls, not even wear and tear on my car… I’m at $4K right there, so yes I would take a paycut so I wouldn’t have to get out of bed two hours earlier and waste my time with my morning and evening commute, giving myself back four hours every day. and as far as productivity loss, no there is none. I’m sorry, I’m like some of the other commenters, I get focused and usually give more than 110% when I’m working at home and do stay later on the clock. Whoever came up with that number …. sounds like management..

  13. I think most people here forgot that we are talking about another pay cut and are lost making comments about losing productivity or not.
    Come on people… keep focus… do you really agree with more pay cut?