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Good News: Remote Work Probably Won't Mean a Pay Cut

Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

Many workers are eager to do their jobs from home for a number of reasons. First, the obvious: Working from home is more convenient than dragging yourself into an office. You don't have to spend time or money commuting, and you gain the ability to tackle household tasks in between work-related ones. Working from home can also be good for your productivity. When you're not subject to a steady stream of workplace distractions, you can power through tasks more easily and do your job more efficiently.

But will the flexibility of working from home subject you to an unwanted pay cut? Maybe not.

According to FlexJobs, remote employees earn just as much as office-based employees across a wide range of industries. And in many cases, they can command even more. In fact, one study found that the average yearly income for remote workers is $4,000 higher than that of office-based professionals. Part of that gap could be due to the fact that remote workers are often required to possess certain skills that earn them that flexibility. Still, it's a positive piece of information for workers who are looking to take their jobs remote without suffering a loss of income.

Woman writing at desk that appears to be set up in a home setting.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Making the case for remote work

If you're eager to work remotely but are currently based in an office, it pays to ask your employer for that leeway. Your chances of getting it increase if you're a proven performer with a strong record of being reliable.

If your manager isn't inclined to say yes, you might point out that the remote workforce is growing rapidly and doesn't seem to be slowing down. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, remote work increased 115%, going from 1.8 million telecommuters to a whopping 3.9 million.

You also shouldn't hesitate to explain why your company stands to benefit from letting you work remotely. For example, you might point out that the hour you currently spend driving home from work could instead be spent cooking dinner but also being available to answer important emails when they come in after hours. If you have a job that requires extra concentration -- say, you're an editor or accountant who stares at spreadsheets all day -- you can also emphasize the fact that not having noisy officemates to contend with could make you more efficient and less prone to errors.

Of course, there is a chance that your employer will suggest a pay cut in exchange for the flexibility that remote work offers you. But if you're a highly skilled and valued professional, that probably won't happen.

If your company isn't amenable to a work-from-home arrangement, your next best bet may be to dust off your resume and seek out a new opportunity -- one where you're given the leeway to do your job remotely. And chances are, if you stand firm on your salary requirements, you'll get the number you're after if you're a strong candidate -- even if you'll be doing that job from the comfort of your bed, balcony, or couch.

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