Would you take a 20 percent pay cut to work from home full-time?

Man shrugging and looking confused
Would you take a 20 percent pay cut to WFH full-time? Photo credit: Getty Images

Working from home certainly has its perks. The ability to perform your role from the comfort of your casa (or bed, let's be honest) removes the day-to-day difficulties that can make work such a headache - no conniptions over commuting or transport costs, no stressing over what to wear or make for lunch.

But for the employees at one company, that comfort comes at a cost. 

A leading London-based law firm is offering its staff the option to work from home full-time - if they agree to take a 20 percent pay cut. 

Stephenson Harwood LLP, a law firm headquartered in the British capital with eight offices worldwide, has said it will allow its employees to work remotely, but they must pay a price for sleeping in and sweatpants.

Speaking to the BBC, the firm said it's in the process of recruiting remote workers from across the country and as they are not obligated to commute into the capital, the arrangement is saving the staff money - which equates to a lower salary.

Those who decide to work in the office on some days will have their travel expenses reimbursed, the firm said. It is also offering the option to its existing staff and partners, but noted that it doesn't expect many people to take up the offer.

But the plan hasn't proved popular, with many commentators noting the scheme will only widen the gender pay gap as women are more likely to take up the offer due to childcare. 

Speaking to the Huffington Post, Harriet Minter, a hybrid-work consultant and author of WFH, How to Build a Career You Love When You're Not in the Office, said the move could also tarnish the firm's reputation.

"It's damaging for an employer's brand. All employers want to look progressive and like a good place to work, but threatening to cut the pay of staff that work remotely suggests that your business just wants to go back to the old ways of working - regardless of what your staff want. It's hardly progressive thinking," she told the outlet.

She noted the plan will also potentially impact the firm's ability to retain and recruit staff. Businesses offering more flexible arrangements - without penalising its employees - are more likely to have their pick of the talent pool, she added.

"Employees who are already feeling devalued and under-motivated as a result of this policy are going to leave to go somewhere they are appreciated and paid properly."

Others have also pointed out that having more staff working remotely actually saves the company money, perhaps negating the need for a larger space and saving it rent in the long run. With less people working in the office, the business would also spend less money on power, water and additional costs such as snacks, tea and coffee.

Additionally, new research in the UK has found that around 50 percent of employees typically put in extra hours at home - which would reduce the compensation for remote staff at Stephenson Harwood even further.

Would you take a pay cut to work full-time from home? Vote in the poll below.

Disclaimer: This straw poll is not scientific and closes after 24 hours.