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I am a regular employee in our company. But since our company is moving into another city, I have been asked to work home-based since my wife is currently pregnant. Now, is it possible to ask for a salary increase in my situation? If yes, how?

They already told me that I'll be receiving the same salary, and I think that if I ask for more, they might reject it because they might say that I can already save money by being home-based rather than a regular employee that commutes to work everyday.

Here are some of the things I'll be losing if I work home-based:

  • No more OT meal (We don't have OT pays, only offsets and OT meals)
  • I have to use my slower internet connection at home. If I lose my internet connection, I'll have to find a way to be online like go to cafe or somewhere with Wifi connection.
  • I won't be getting any pantry snacks. Yes, I'm at home, but isn't it better to have pantry snacks from the company rather than buying at your own costs?
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    You'd be surprised by how much money you can save working at home. Especially if you drive or pay to commute. And then there's the extra free time you get without a commute. Even if its only 15 minutes each way, that's 2.5 extra free hours for you a week. Really, you're getting a good deal! – GrandmasterB Apr 24 '14 at 5:45
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    @GrandmasterB - And so is the company. They have one less employee they need to provide a desk for (office space is expensive, and so are decent desks/chairs/etc.), and one less desk they need to pay custodial staff to clean. They don't have to pay for things like his electricity, network bandwidth, water usage, snacks/lunch, and other incidentals. They may be expecting him to work on his own PC, in which case they also no longer need to provide hardware, monitors, software, upgrades, or support. – aroth Apr 24 '14 at 6:26
  • What is OT meal? – starsplusplus Apr 24 '14 at 9:30
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    @aroth - They are not saving any money with the author working for home. Their desk will still be used, cleaned, and provided power. – Ramhound Apr 24 '14 at 11:27
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    @Ramhound - Then that would mean they still save because they're able to accommodate an extra employee without needing to invest in any additional facilities. As in, if their office has space for 500 employees, by working at home the OP allows the company to fit 501 employees without moving to a bigger office. – aroth Apr 24 '14 at 11:53
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I have worked remotely for five years and I asked myself the same question when I started.

Whilst not as concerned about missing a free meal as you mentioned in your question, my initial reasoning was that I would be spending and extra eight hours in the house each day using electricity and gas for heating and power. I would also be using my personal internet connection which I pay for.

I soon realised that rather than costing me extra, I was actually saving money from the situation.

Key areas to consider:

  • Avoiding a daily commute removes travel costs and adds extra personal free time.
  • Being able to prepare own food is significantly cheaper than cafe/sandwich bar offerings.
  • Avoiding the often forced post-work drinks can save a surprising amount of money.
  • Being able to quickly and easily attend to doctors/dentist/deliveries saves taking full vacation days, leaving you more to use on real holidays and breaks. You can simply make up the small amount of time these actually take at the beginning or end of your day.

My initial concerns soon became irrelevant. The difference in household power consumption was negligible, and I would be paying for my internet connection anyway whether it was used during the day or not.

The most noticeable benefit was the extra free time it allowed with my family which is of high value in a different form.

There is a good book called "Your Money or Your Life" by Vicki Robin which discusses and analyses the value of working less hours. Certainly worth a read for an overview of how your time is worth money.

In conclusion, and to answer your question, It is always possible to request a wage increase, however I would suggest that you should not request one based on the points you raised relating to changing your working environment. I would only request an increase if you are not getting paid a competitive rate for your position/industry.

  • Whilst this question doesn't answer the OP's question it is good advice. – Styphon Apr 24 '14 at 9:26
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    I have now amended the last paragraph to address the question better. – slaterio Apr 24 '14 at 9:32
  • Sorry, my comment wasn't meant to suggest you should adjust it to answer his question. I was trying to highlight this is a good answer despite it not answering his question, but offering an alternative solution and approach. – Styphon Apr 24 '14 at 9:36
  • I expensed my internet connection. Also check your home insurance, most insurers don't care (as long as you don't have customers visiting or large amounts of stock/cash in the house) - but you could expense any rise in premiums – NobodySpecial Apr 24 '14 at 21:14
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Look into your company's reimbursement policy. That alone can handle your concerns over Internet requirements and overtime meals.

Most companies already have in place a means of reimbursing meals eaten while working overtime. If you really want to make use of it, simply order in, so you have a receipt to show for reimbursement.

If the company doesn't already have measures in place to handle Internet reimbursement for remote workers, then help them build it. It's not uncommon to reimburse at least part of the Internet bill for full-time remote workers. Even a partial reimbursement can be enough to upgrade your Internet to something faster (and after you consider the number of people using a given connection, you may have more bandwidth at your disposal than you did in the office). If they still won't do it, then look into seeing if it's a tax write-off. The same goes for any equipment that you use primarily for work.

You can also look at the Internet thing a different way -- you're now able to use what you're paying for, thereby getting more value out of the money you're spending, anyway.

The same goes for gas, electricity, etc. Those are what businesses refer to as fixed costs. Fixed costs are costs that have to be paid regardless of whether the business is actually open. For a physical location, this includes heating and cooling, electricity, maintenance, etc. As an individual, you have them, as well. The actual dollar value may vary, but you have to pay those costs regardless of whether you're in the building.

As for the "pantry snacks," I personally find them to be a disadvantage. Most "pantry snacks" are candy, pretzels, etc. Those are things I can easily overeat and so try to avoid. Sometimes, there will be fruit, but it tends to go quickly. I snack less when I'm working at home than I do at an office, so the "cost savings" of better health, not to mention the better selection for when I do want a snack, far outweighs the opportunity cost of having the company provide them for me.

In the end, though, I think the biggest thing that needs to happen is for you to look at the situation a little differently. No, you're not getting free food, or you have to use your own Internet and equipment, but you are gaining the freedom to work wherever you choose, potentially on whatever equipment you choose (which usually works in your favor, since the company will likely provide the bare minimum), possibly whenever you choose. You're also saving not only gas money from your commute, but also wear and tear on your car, stress from making the commute, and time away from your family.

You will see even greater benefits in a few years, when your child is in school, because you don't have to have child care. Instead, you can be home for your child, and if you still need to work, have them play quietly, read a book, or do homework. Trust me, after 5 years of paying what amounts to a second mortgage or car payment in child care costs, you'll be jumping for joy at the day you no longer have to pay them, especially when it comes nearly 5 years earlier than for parents who work outside the home.

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    I'd give a +1 on this for mentioning the better health by not having the snacks available, but a -1 for thinking it's fair to the company to care for a child while working. Perhaps at some age it's enough to have an adult in the house for emergencies, but if they will be interrupting in any regular way, you should have someone else watching them. – thursdaysgeek Apr 24 '14 at 15:41
  • @thursdaysgeek although I can occasionally get some work done (say an hour or so) if the kids are watching a cartoon, or playing in the garden. Although working at home is not a replacement for child care, it does make the combination of child rearing and working easier (although I also enjoy going into the office and interact with colleagues). – Paul Hiemstra Apr 24 '14 at 15:44
  • @thursdaysgeek - I'm not referring to full time child care (which I agree doesn't work), but rather before and after school care of school-aged children. At that point, you're saving child care costs for the 3 or so hours a day you save between the time the child gets out of school, and the time you'd get there to pick them up (depending on commute times, of course). That, despite not being full time care, amounts to hundred of dollars a month (which doesn't seem like much until you've paid twice that for the years before school age). – Shauna Apr 24 '14 at 15:52
  • Additionally, that 3+ hours is a lot of commute time from your office to the child care facility to home. Consider the alternative - the child rides the bus (or walks) home, and gets home around 3:30 or 4:00. That's a good time for homework or chores, while you spend the last hour or so finishing whatever tasks you need to do. – Shauna Apr 24 '14 at 15:56

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