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In my previous question I asked what to do in my situation, where I have no previous experience and I want to turn an onsite job into a remote one.

I am in Europe, and in the country of the company, the cost of living is very high. In the country where I'd like to stay, about half of that, as one can see in average salaries.

Anyhow, you pointed to me that I have close to zero leverage in such a negotiation. I basically have been offered the position, but told that it is not remote now and who knows later.

You also mentioned that asking for a meeting with HR that could negotiate with me might make them change idea. Now, how do you think they would react if I actually asked for such a meeting, proposing to stay on site for some time, then have a trial remotely, with half the salary?

Such salary would be very good in my country. I am not sure how it would be taken: underselling myself? Showing commitment? Would they reduce my salary anyway? Is it a smart move or better not to do this?

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10 Answers 10

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TL;DR - You are entirely within your rights to ask. I wouldn't be hopeful of it going your way


From your previous question, I understand you are fresh out of college and have little experience in the workplace. This means that you are looking at an offer for an entry level position. Offers of this nature are particularly inflexible since there tends to be large numbers of people applying for each entry level position, compared to senior positions (the last senior vs entry position I advertised had eight times as many applicants for the entry level role).

The practical consequence of that is that the company offering the role have no incentive to go out of their way for you. I think you underestimate the complexity of having an employee in another country to where the company is based. I work for a relatively large organisation (500+ employees) and of those, precisely zero work in another country. We did try with a couple of employees who were adamant, and these are people who have worked for the organisation for over 5 years. Ultimately they had to resign their positions and now work as contractors, but this was not a trivial thing to arrange. And as a manager I have to be honest, I would not consider the level of difficulty and effort worth it for an entry level role.

How long do you propose working on site for? 3 months? 6 months? In both these cases you probably wouldn't be out of your probationary period, so why would I go to the effort? A year? Two years? Five years? How long does it take for you to become a "valuable employee"?

To give you an idea of the complexity, when this was asked of me I had to meet with: my boss, my corporate accountant, the head of finance, the head of HR and the head of legal several times to work out exactly how to legally achieve what I was asking. These are some of the busiest and highly paid people in the organisation (me excluded, I'm a middle manager) so this investment of time was significant. You'd be amazed how quickly the effective saving of half of your salary would be taken up in those meetings.

Ultimately you need to be honest about what you want. You will save yourself and the company a lot of stress and effort in the long run.

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    "Offers of this nature are particularly inflexible since there tends to be large numbers of people applying for each entry level position, compared to senior positions (the last senior vs entry position I advertised had eight times as many applicants for the entry level role)." Also, while a lot of training can be done remotely, training someone at an entry level is usually at least partially done in-person whenever possible. It's simply much more convenient and reliable for those involved.
    – Mast
    Sep 14, 2023 at 20:04
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It's a slippery slope to agree to work on site for a while and then have a "trial" remote work ( the pay really doesn't matter ). Unless you have very strong foolproof language written into your employment contract you are very likely going to end up having to work on site after your "trial" ends. A company that for whatever reason wants most or all of their employees on site will use any excuse to do so. Like I said, you need strong foolproof language in your contract to prevent such a thing, and a "trial" is the furthest thing from foolproof.

Your only realistic option is to reject this company's offer if you truly want to work remotely. They have already made it clear that they want you on site and you have no leverage to change their mind or guarantee the possibility of remote work in the future.

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  • I suppose that my leverage at the end of the trial will be greater than at the beginning, wouldn't you agree?
    – Lilla
    Sep 13, 2023 at 13:05
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    @Lilla Unless you are prepared to resign from the company after the trial if they do not let you keep the remote work and they are aware of this, then you have no leverage.
    – sf02
    Sep 13, 2023 at 13:10
  • This leverage being, we lose a potentially valuable employee?
    – Lilla
    Sep 13, 2023 at 13:11
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    It needs to be a lot more than "potentially" to have any real impact.
    – keshlam
    Sep 13, 2023 at 13:23
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This is... irrational. The same with interviewing for a job that's being advertised as not remote, and believing that you can somehow change the employer's mind with no leverage.

Realistically, this is how things play out. The company has you, person A, person B doing the same tasks. You have the same workload, but at some point A and B start complaining to management that you're not pulling your weight. And why? Because unconsciously, you know that A and B are being paid double the amount as you for the same work. You're more likely to show up late for meetings, have absences, and need extra accommodations if the company ever needs you to travel. And (I assume you're female by the account name) no company needs the threat of gender discrimination / abuse when you finally exhaust yourself on this 1/2 arrangement, and stomp your foot to demand a raise. These consequences are foreseeable.

These ideas are really, really extreme to be coming from someone with no workplace experience.

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When negotiating you need to understand what the other party wants and offer them that or something as close as possible. For the kind of company you've described, the truth is that the "salary doesn't matter". That might sound crazy for a person like you (who is making major big life decisions based on money right now), but for a company it's just an accounting number:

  • The fully loaded costs of hiring you at "half the salary" (since you are pretty new and in EU I'll assume you mean post tax half salary) means that they might be saving 20-30% off your full costs only.
  • Even if it does matters for the company, it doesn't matter (at least enough) for your manager whether they pay you more or less. Do you know what matters? To have you around. But even more than that, for you to do great work (see bottom).
  • Lowering someone's salary is a signal to "we want this person to leave".
  • Offering to lower your salary might be seen as a signal of "this is just temporary". It's basically very bad optics all around.
  • Offering yourself at half the price also signals "I'm half as good as others in a similar position". In my career I've found that the more they pay you, the more freedom and flexibility you have.

As a newbie, you have little leverage, but do great work for 6-12 months and you'll be in a position where the company starts to need you and then you'll have a lot more leverage to negotiate. You can gauge their interest now like "How do you feel about me working remote for a bit after few months? Would you be open to consider that option?"

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    "Offering yourself at half the price also signals "I'm half as good as others in a similar position"." I don't see how this is the case. If international companies can offer premiums e.g. "you'll be paid more if you live in <expensive_city_here>; the salary is X, else Y" then why can't it work the other way?
    – roganjosh
    Sep 15, 2023 at 13:51
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My reaction would be "If you're that desperate to work remotely, why didn't you apply to jobs there, and am I going to lose you the moment someone there makes you an awful-but-better-than-half-pay offer?"

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The other thing to consider that I don't think has been mentioned yet, is that in many professions, new members of a team or business are usually mentored by a more experienced colleague, particularly in tech or other knowledge-heavy roles.

If mentoring with more experienced colleagues is a thing in your business, I would suggest it's even more unlikely that they'll grant your request. Employees are infinitely more difficult to mentor when you can't roll up next to the person and ask questions directly - been there, done that, wish we hadn't.

An extension to the above point would need to be your geographical location and therefore timezone in comparison to the employer. Again, in tech or knowledge-heavy roles, you really need to be able to ask for help and get it, quickly. If you're in a different timezone to everyone else, that's a problem.

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It’s simple: people think that something is worth as much as it costs them. You offer working for half price, so you are only worth half price. You must think so, or you wouldn’t have offered it.

That’s what the employer would think, so you won’t get a job.

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You can only make such agreements if it's OK for you to just quit if you don't get what you wanted. It will be next to impossible to get a contract where the arrangement you describe will actually be enforceable. In most companies you'll just get a standard contract plus a verbal agreement that can be revoked anytime.

Even if you get an actual contract with remote work clause in exchange for a pay cut, it may not work out in the end. What will most likely happen: when the remote trial starts, the HR will realize that they cannot legally hire you if you don't live in the same country, so your trial will be over after a couple of weeks. And since you cannot sue your company because they refused to do something illegal, you'll have a choice to either work in the office for full salary or quit.

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Unless your managers and HR people are the actual owners of the company then they don't care about your salary. Offering to take a pay cut to get a benefit isn't going to sway them because it's not as if they get the money. For them, it's just a matter of how much they want you in the office. Having you out of the office likely makes more work for them so you need to devise a strategy to lessen the extra work they'd have because of you being remote.

While I doubt you'd have much success in converting an in-office job to a remote one with any approach, offering to take a pay cut seems the least likely to work. Instead you'd want to take an approach where you convey that you really tried to make in-office work, you're personally struggling with maintaining the in-office lifestyle/residence/etc, and if they could just let you go remote that would solve all your problems. You don't want them thinking you were just biding your time before you sprung this on them.

That approach hints, but doesn't threaten or give an ultimatum, that you might quit if they don't give you want you're asking for. If you were to make an ultimatum, they'd likely see you as being not a team player and want to let you quit for that reason. If it's something where they think they'd be doing you a favor and you're trying your best then you might get lucky and have them agree.

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stay on site for some time, then have a trial remotely, with half the salary

If you are ok with working on site for some time, by all means, do it. Gain experience, show your skills and build connections. Best if you can do this for at least a year.

Then try to negotiate a remote position. Either tell your real reasons or make up something acceptable, such as "wanting to live closer to family". You can negotiate salary, but I wouldn't offer 50% cut right away.

Even if you can't get that job as a remote role, you'll at least have more experience for applying to an actually remote job.


(It seems there is a huge demand for remote positions currently. They are quite hard to find, especially at junior level. Freelancing can be a good option if you have enough skills to work independently.)

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