Many employees found that they liked working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are doing everything they can to avoid heading into an office.
CLEVELAND — After more than a year of working from home, companies are having to decide whether employees will return to the office or stay at home. For some employees, however, staying remote could impact their pay.
Life at Greg Arrington’s job before the COVID-19 pandemic was what society defined as “normal.”
“Just like most people, five days out of the week. You know, 9 to 5,” Arrington, a Business Development Manager, said.
After working remotely for a year, Arrington tells 3News that he is saying goodbye to that way of living for good.
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“This is probably one of the good things from the pandemic that led up to it,” Arrington said.
The professional now bounces around the country, all while remaining on the clock.
“Have they ever asked you where you are,” 3News’ Marisa Saenz asked.
“All the time, all the time,” Arrington said. “That did come up a couple times, but again, what we really found out is that you can do your job from anywhere.”
However, when work-life started to shift back to the office, Arrington sought a new job, one that would allow him to work remotely.
“This [new] company is based out in Texas,” Arrington said.
This new approach for Arrington (and many other Americans) has raised a new question, however: Do employers need to pay the same if you continue to work remotely, full time?
“I had to negotiate that, and they were willing to comply,” Arrington said.
For Arrington, no pay cut was required, but recent research shows that some employees are willing to take pay cuts, as much as $30,000, to stay home.
“This job market is going to be exceptionally tough for top tier talent,” says George Sample, President of Cleveland’s Society for Human Resource Management.
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According to Sample, negotiating pay in relation to on-the-clock location is where things can get tricky.
“Pay cut at your peril, I think you will lose in the overall talent of your organization should you decide to go that route,” Sample said.
Sample tells 3News that a working hybrid option is now most common amongst companies in Northeast Ohio.
“It’s going to vary a lot just at the organizational level,” Sample said.
Major companies in Northeast Ohio, such as Progressive Insurance and Sherwin Williams, have already said they’ll have employees return to work in the office.
While it depends on the industry and company, Sample says that employers need to consider both the employee and the job before making any decisions on their employment status.
“There are going to be some employees that just don’t come back to the workplace,” Sample said.