It’s actually quite simple: When employers want employees to do their jobs in a certain location, they often create incentives for the best qualified people possible to apply for that role – both internally and externally. This can be a higher salary, an allowance for rent and other living expenses, covering moving and travel expenses. However, this is mainly limited to activities in locations far from the company headquarters, otherwise the following applies: If you want to work in Munich, you have to travel to Munich or take the commute. In the USA: Anyone who wants to work in Silicon Valley lives in the Techniktal, where the rent for a villa is as high as anywhere else.
A debate has erupted over plans by Facebook, Google and other companies to want to pay employees less wages if they decide no longer to work in offices in Silicon Valley – but from home, after moving to offices. areas maybe cheaper. The debate is fair and important, but it is being conducted from the wrong perspective.
Pacta sunt servanda, contracts must be honored, and if someone has to do their jobs as well (or better) from home, companies do not have the right to reduce their wages. You are not allowed to interfere in the choice of your place of residence. But the reverse also applies: the salary negotiated for Silicon Valley is initially only valid there; if the move interferes with the work, it will have to be renegotiated. The global adjustment to what Google writes “respective market” for existing contracts is not appropriate, especially since this market no longer exists for certain professions, and it leads to what Google has been practicing for a long time. .
The Mountain View Wellness Campus isn’t just there because the company wants its employees to feel good. Managing Director Sundar Pichai says: “For over 20 years, employees have come into offices and problem-solved – in a cafe, in a meeting or at a beach volleyball or cricket match. So: if you get a free (and, by the way, delicious) dinner at the Googleplex, you stay on campus longer. If you play with co-workers or meet them at the gym, sometimes you talk about work. In the end, it’s nothing more than a bonus that Google is giving to anyone who stays where Google wants them to be a little longer.
There are good reasons to work from home
During the pandemic, there are reasonable reasons to allow employees to work from home and have flexible working hours; some are not productive from 9 to 5, but from 3 to 11. Many have also noticed how effective they are when a colleague isn’t knocking on the door or the next meeting hovers over them like a sword of Damocles – and that one E-mail or a phone call to exchange information is quite sufficient. In addition, it is economically and socially desirable that not all high incomes live in metropolitan areas.
However, it has also been shown that creative ideas do not originate in video conferencing, but rather chatting in the hallway, and that many problems are not solved on the screen, but, as Pichai says, in the cafeteria or on the beach. volleyball court. So there are reasons for the office to be a meeting place – only: for whom? Most of the time, the benefits of being present are on the employer’s side.
A whole new market has emerged for professions that do not require a presence and are therefore no longer tied to a specific location. This market is much bigger, the salary should be based on it. A programmer who can work from anywhere in Germany, for example, should receive the salary that a programmer in that country deserves without any reduction. The perspective of the debate should not be: where does anyone live? But: does the employer want employees to come to the office – whether in Munich, Mountain View or Mistelbach? Anyone who wants employees in a certain location for no good reason should reward that with a bonus.