Most employers not adjusting pay based on employee’s location: Survey

But almost half have helped employees meet costs associated with working from home, according to survey

While working from home has become the new norm amid the pandemic, most employers said they were not considering adjusting pay based on an employee's location, according to a new survey.

It found that only 23 per cent of respondents said they may alter staff compensation, while 11 per cent had modified salaries according to location, such as lowering pay if the employee moves to an area with lower living costs.

The survey also noted that almost half of the respondents have helped staff meet one-off costs associated with setting up home offices or other ongoing expenses, such as increased mobile phone use.

The poll of about 1,500 organisations around the world conducted from Dec 7 to Dec 15 found as well that only 32 per cent of employees are expected to return to the office once the pandemic is over.

Singapore Human Resources Institute president Low Peck Kem said that with remote work becoming more prevalent and as geographical boundaries become less of a concern, organisations should be looking at base salaries to ensure fair pay within the workforce.

"Companies can consider modifying some of their benefits to cater to the changing landscape where employees are expected to work from home for a longer duration.

"These benefits can include modifying transport allowances to technology allowances to enable their employees to achieve relatively the same or higher levels of productivity while working from home," Ms Low said.

Mr Paul Heng, managing director of career consultancy NeXT Career Consulting Group, said the global workforce is facing a new world: "Companies that allow or encourage employees to work remotely or from their homes should continue to support such employees.

"It is the implicit responsibility of employers to provide a safe, comfortable and conducive working environment to employees - so, if the decision is (for employees) to work from home, then this implicit responsibility continues."

The survey finding that only 32 per cent of staff might return to the office has unsettled some companies.

Ms Jaya Dass, managing director for Singapore and Malaysia at recruitment agency Randstad, noted that some companies have raised concerns about losing their organisation's culture, given the reduced socialisation and collaborations that come with remote work.

"Whatever the decision is, it is critical that employers take into account the changing (employee) candidate expectations," she said.

Ms Low also noted that there are many advantages to remote working, and companies will have to figure out what is the right mix between those in the office and those at home.