One third of Australian employees would prefer to take a pay cut to continue working remotely, according to a recent survey by leading software research site, Capterra. While work-life balance remains the primary motivation for remote work, employee benefits from flexible schedules or subsidised food, parking and transportation could support a more positive reaction to the proposed shift. 

In Australia, 46% work fully on-site, 41% follow a hybrid arrangement, and only 10% work entirely remotely, comprising just over half who have the benefits of working away from the office. The findings show that Australia is close to the global average (36%) of employees across other countries who expressed willingness to take a pay cut for the benefit of working remotely. 

Close to two-thirds (63%) of Australian employees who either have fully remote or hybrid working arrangements shared that their home office space fully meets their needs and requirements to accomplish their work.

On the other hand, companies encourage more employees to work on-site full-time. Employees would need to be persuaded to be comfortable with this setup. The survey also explored how employers can make working on-site a more enjoyable experience. Suggestions include free or subsidised food (81%), flexible schedules (73%), and provision of parking and transportation reimbursements (69%).

The most significant driver of preferring to work remotely is improving the work-life balance. Almost half (49%) of Australians say this is why they prefer this arrangement, whether fully remote or in a hybrid setup. Other benefits they’d like to take advantage of includes being able to save time and money, as shared by 16% and 12%, respectively. Working remotely also allows employees more flexibility over their daily schedules and personal matters, such as parenting and pursuing personal interests.

Capterra analyst, Laura Burgess said, “Despite the majority unwilling to take a pay cut to stay working remotely, this benefit may be a worthwhile trade-off for employees living in areas far from their workplace. The savings on cost, time and personal flexibility can outweigh the opportunity loss from a pay cut, and companies can also offer perks such as extra annual leave to compensate.”

When requiring employees to return to the office full-time, it is suggested that employers make the office space more engaging and understand the gaps in why employees are not interested in returning on-site. Over one third (35%) have expressed they hope to work entirely remotely. 

With 87% of employees currently working on-site at least some of the time, addressing employees’ needs and concerns about returning to the office is crucial. Engaging in productive conversations and generating employee feedback gives employers a better picture of what would work best for their employees.

“A healthy work-life balance is crucial for employees to stay motivated. With initiatives such as employee feedback and flexible work hours, as well as potentially providing financial subsidies or assistance, employees would be encouraged more to return to the office, at least on a hybrid basis,” Burgess added.