Shouldn’t You Get A Raise For Working From Home?
Say that you — a different you from the one in the headline — own OK Concepts Incorporated, a business employing 250 people. Everyone does nearly all their work sitting at desks and tables, and until a year ago they (and you) did that in the expensive office space you lease downtown, three floors of a building. Since then, they and you have all worked exclusively from home. It hasn’t been ideal, but everybody adapted, and there were some silver linings. Happily, the company’s revenues ($100 million a year) and profits ($10 million) have been steady.
You’re planning to open up the offices again this summer. After many conversations with your employees, you’ve discovered that almost none of them want to go back to working full-time at the office or to continue working full-time at home. So you’ve decided that from now on you’ll be “hybrid” — people splitting their time about half and half, on average, between their homes and the office. And because you therefore won’t need all of your 60,000 square feet of space, you’re going to sub-lease one of your three floors to another firm, saving your business $1 million a year.
You could pocket that, increasing your annual profit by 10%.
Or you could radically adapt to these radically new conditions. You could decide, because your employees are now effectively paying for much of their own office space by working from home, that it’s only fair to share a large chunk of the savings with them.
Or even to give them the entire $1 million windfall. In that case, your average employee would get $333 per month as a permanent post-pandemic fringe benefit. Which would enable them to rent or buy a bigger apartment or house — that is, a place with enough extra space for a dedicated office.
Of course, they’d be free to spend the extra money however they wished. But on each paystub you might want to list it as a separate item, the OK Real Estate Adjustment Payment, because you want everyone reminded every two weeks that you, despite being rich and the boss, are also a mensch.