Canadians willing to take pay cut to work remotely – but will it stunt career growth?

Data shows in-office relationships tend to be more collaborative than remote ones

Canadians willing to take pay cut to work remotely – but will it stunt career growth?

In honour of Employee Appreciation Day this week, Robert Half looked into the state of workplace sentiment across Canadian organizations. New data found that, for stressed out workers, flexibility is the order of the day with one quarter of employees saying they’d accept a pay cut if it meant working remotely all the time.

When asked how much of a pay cut they’d take, the average was set at 16% - something worth thinking on in the current economic climate. 

“Remote and hybrid jobs are here to stay,” says Sandra Lavoy, Robert Half Canada’s regional director. “There’s no denying that flexible work options are a major priority for professionals, and with historically low unemployment rates and a continuing tight labour market, companies who don’t offer some level of autonomy over where and when their teams work run the risk of losing out on top talent.”

For attracting new hires as well as retaining valued team members, offering flexibility provides businesses with a competitive edge, Lavoy tells HRD. And companies that limit that may face decreased employee engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity, in addition to recruitment and retention challenges.

A separate report from Robert Half Canada also found that half of employees fell “undervalued” in their organization.

In-person perks still hold power

Robert Half’s latest survey reveals that despite the strong preference for remote and hybrid work, there are still benefits to in-person arrangements, with 65%  of professionals saying they build more effective relationships with colleagues whom they’ve met in person, and more workers are comfortable collaborating in person (47%) versus virtually (34%). 

“With that in mind, creating intentional in-office touchpoint days for your team can be a great way to facilitate team building and strong working relationships, while still working within a larger flexible framework,” adds Lavoy. “Training, mentorship, and collaborating may be easier in an in-person setting, especially for newer employees, and clearly communicating the purpose of these in-person days will help employees feel the value in coming in.

“Companies can also encourage in-person working by making the office a desirable place to be, through ensuring a healthy and safe environment, and offering an enhanced workplace setup.”

Stamping out proximity bias

According to the research, the majority of managers (86%) who oversee hybrid teams feel in-office and remote employees have equal opportunities for career advancement. However, 40% of remote workers are concerned about being visible for project opportunities and promotions.

It’s up to HR leaders to bridge that gap and squash any proximity bias

“Managers should ensure they are meeting regularly with both in-office and remote employees one-on-one to discuss their career goals,” says Lavoy. “They should encourage all employees to pursue business courses and workshops that will further their career advancement — and give them time to do so; and they should be conscious of measuring performance rather than simply observing it.

“When considering promotions and other career progressions, focus on outcomes over visible outputs to limit proximity bias.”

Balancing employee expectations with budgets

It would be remiss to claim that money doesn’t matter here. For employees, whether they’re struggling in with the cost of living crisis or not,  salary is a breaking point. However, it’s not the only way to show appreciation, as the research shows. If you’re not in a position to bolster wages, then look at your benefits platforms – how can you leverage internal perks to pep up morale?

With the average cost of benefits coming in at around 30% of an organization’s overall payroll, according to data from MaRS, benefits are big business. Speaking to HRD in an earlier interview, Jeff Ostermann, chief people officer at music outlet giant Sweetwater, warned employers against cutting perks during a recession – adding that this is the time that they’re needed the most.

“Employers can work hard to maintain as many employee benefits as possible – especially those that help support their financial wellbeing,” he tells HRD. “However, the best thing an organization can likely do is to run a solid, fiscally disciplined company that enable them to retain jobs during even down cycles.”

Recent articles & video

Construction sector association calls for prompt payment legislation

Unifor temporarily withdraws push to represent Amazon workers in B.C.

Are employee wellbeing initiatives providing value?

While prioritizing work-life balance, Quebec employers push for office return

Most Read Articles

What does an employer have to report after a workplace harassment investigation?

Quebec teacher fired for joining ‘Survivor’ reality series

Nearly three-quarters of middle managers in Canada experiencing burnout: survey