Would you take a pay cut to web work?

Obviously, the answer to the question posed in the headline is, ideally, no — we’d all like to keep our salary steady when we gain the independence of virtual work. But the reality is far from every company has jumped on the virtual work bandwagon, making the ability to work from wherever you please a valuable commodity. So if you had to take a pay cut to get it, how much would the flexibility be worth to you?

Everyone’s situation is different when it comes to transport, childcare and miscellaneous work-related costs, but nonetheless The Christian Science Monitor has taken a stab at answering this question in a recent article. The piece opens with the story of a Kansas woman who took a 60 percent pay cut to web work full-time, but actually broke even thanks to savings in the cost of childcare and commuting. Is this in any way typical?

Losing more than half your pay check is extreme, but surveys show that many people claim they’d take less money for more flexibility – one poll from Dice Holdings found 35 percent of IT pros would accept a pay cut to telecommute, while Staples just revealed 74 percent of workers would sacrifice 2.5 percent and 20 percent would lose 10 percent of their pay to telecommute.

So workers are willing to pay for the privilege of web work, but putting aside the lifestyle benefits, does it make sense on a pure dollars and cents basis?  According to the Christian Science Monitor, this is how the numbers stack up:

Employees working at home for half a workweek (versus every workday) save an average $362 per person per year on gasoline costs, according to an analysis by Telework Research Network. Among other possible savings: an average $7.37 a day on meals and $2.41 a day on professional clothes, calculates TRN…. Overall, workers can save as much as $6,800 a year by being home-based for half of every workweek.

Check out the article for many more details and more personal perspectives on the trade offs involved.

Would you (or your employees) be willing take a $6,800 pay cut for half a week of location independence?

Image courtesy of Flickr user klynslis