Imagine this workplace scenario: As the pandemic recedes, employees in Company X are given the option of returning to the office or working remotely. Mary decides to return to the home office in New York. Her former office mate, John, decides to remain in Omaha, Neb., where he has been living since the pandemic began.

They have the same titles and the same responsibilities. Should they also have the same pay?

That is just one of many compensation issues companies are likely to wrestle with in coming months, as businesses reimagine how to pay and reward employees in a world where some workers may not return to the office.

“The remote workforce is here to stay,” says Susan Schroeder, a partner at Compensation Advisory Partners, a national compensation consulting firm with offices in New York, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles. “With that comes a shift in compensation structures.”

Adds John Boudreau, a professor emeritus of management and organizations at the University of California’s Marshall School of Business: “We have to admit that we don’t know [what the best policies are] and that there is going to be immense opportunity and variation.”


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