To Many, Flexibility Matters More than Pay

A recent exposé from Business Insider unveiled through an anonymous source that remote work flexibility is worth a pay cut to most white-collar workers.

Known by the pseudonym of "Alonso Morris," this former high-level WeWork employee was laid off at the beginning of the pandemic. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the 39-year-old, as his new firm (which was also kept private but is known to Insider) allows him to work from home. At WeWork, Morris made $116,000 a year, and at his new job, he took a pay cut of $6,000 per year. Based on his own research on Glassdoor, those in his role average about $150,000 per year, meaning that he's drastically underpaid. But Morris doesn't mind, as his work/life balance is just what he wants it to be.

"If anything's immediate, I can be back [to my desk] within 10 minutes," Morris told Business Insider. "There is no fire alarm that's that severe that can't be looked at in 10 minutes. That kind of flexibility is honestly life-changing."

Morris isn't the only one clamoring for remote work. In a recent ADP survey, 64% of respondents said that they would consider looking for new work if their employer requested that they return to full-time office work. Another study from Owl Labs shows that 5% of respondents would take a pay cut to continue working remotely at least part of the time, showing that workers value their time more than money.

For Morris, the time is irreplaceable, even if his income doesn't match the salary of others. With his mother's health on the decline and a two-hour commute from his home in Connecticut to WeWork's New York offices, Morris says he needs the extra hours each day. He adds that employers who expect their employees to come back into the office without legitimate reasons represent a controlling company culture and partly explains why so many workers are leaving their jobs.