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Should WFH Staff Be Paid Less?

Work from home? Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett recently suggested that people who choose to work from home (WFH) should be penalised by having their salaries cut… SAY WHAT?!

According to Kennett, “There will be people making a decision (to work from home) because they don’t have to go through the trauma of driving to and from work, or (taking) the train or something – they save money and it saves them all that stress.”

Really? This statement is also coming from someone that has been a key Chairman of a mental health organization for 17 years.  

Money, Money, Money 

Inflation has hit many households across the nation. Yes, WFH saves money and time on commuting. However, there are also costs involved when WFH that cannot be ignored, including;

  • Heating/cooling bill
  • Electricity bill
  • Maintenance costs of home office furniture and fittings
  • Costs of cleaning your home working area (including cleaning products or payment for a domestic cleaner)
  • Internet bill
  • Office Supplies
  • Food, coffee, snacks
  • Ergonomic WFH office set-up

Additionally, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose to 6.0% over the twelve months to the June 2023 quarter, while wage growth over the same twelve months has grown 3.6%. Yikes! The cost of living has drastically increased, while wage growth hasn’t caught up with inflation. 

High inflation +  interest rate hikes + no wage increase = STRESS!  

Employer Benefits 

Allowing employees to WFH has many benefits for both the employer and the employee. 

Studies have shown a positive correlation between employee satisfaction and engagement with the ability to WFH. According to a report published by Tracking Happy, WFH increases employee happiness by as much as 20%! BOOM!

In return, companies with higher employee satisfaction have less staff turnover, boosted productivity, and less sick days!

Sustainability is all the rage right now and rightfully so. Allowing employees to work from home increases sustainability. WFH helps cut consumption associated with the office. Employees save on time, petrol, and energy by not having to commute to work and appliances in the office will be used less. 

Additionally, employers save money on rent, utilities, food, and maintenance. Let’s not forget it allows a bigger talent pool. Employers can hire talent that may live on the other side of the city or in regional areas. Meaning, that employers can find the best candidates based on their skill set rather than if they can get into the office by 9am.

Staff Benefits

Due to COVID, working from home has become the norm in society and it’s clear that there are many benefits for employees.

Working from home allows more flexibility. On average, employees who WFH are more productive and happier

Do you need to have the bathroom sink stop leaking? In the past, employees were required to take time off for the plumber to come and fix the sink. Thanks to technology, employees can attend meetings and seminars or write reports from their homes while the tradie is busy fixing the issue. 

How often have you been sick, are on the mend and you feel well enough to work? Previously you had two options: Option 1 – go to work and get others sick, or Option 2 – take another sick day. With the flexibility of working from home, employees can do a few hours of work from home while recovering from their illness and ensuring no one else in the office gets sick. 

While working from home does save time and money on travel, it’s important to acknowledge that there are other costs involved. With rising living costs and slower wage growth, it’s crucial that employees aren’t being financially penalized for choosing to work from home.


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