I seem to have kept the most contentious topic for the very last part of the series. (Talk about leaving the “best” to last, eh?) And yes, this third part of the 3-part series will focus primarily about location-based pay in our new hybrid world.

If you haven’t had a chance to read part one and two, then it might be worth reading these first as I’ll reference some of the points I’ve made previously. 

I’d like to start by saying that at the time of writing I work for an awesome employer that has not cut my salary once during this pandemic. In fact all my colleagues and I have received a pandemic bonus payment.

With that being said, many organizations in our industry didn’t cover themselves in glory. Talking to many people in my professional network, I’ve heard the tale of longer hours at lower pay, while many IT organizations actually turned higher profits during the pandemic than they did beforehand.

More recently it has become apparent that many – of the big fish in particular but others too – have moved to a policy of paying their employees based on their physical location. Part of me wonders whether this is an attempt to prevent the somewhat inevitable exodus of bay area people to Texas, but as I don’t understand these location-based discrepancies in the first place I’m maybe not the right person to give an opinion on that. 

In a pre-pandemic environment, I would have understood the argument of locating people in the same place, but we have all – or well at least most of us – proven that we can be at least as if not more effective working remotely as working in an office. Yes this was forced upon us because of the pandemic, but the argument still counts.

With that in mind, I keep asking myself why so many big players hold on to their “location based rewards policy”, when many start ups lead the way in terms of equal pay across geographical locations. 

I can somewhat understand the aspect of “being in the same time zone” but – if anything – this shows an inability of the organization to switch to asynchronous working. GitLab was a proudly remote and asynchronous organization before the pandemic – for example – and they continue to pay their employees equally across the globe without drama or headline news.

I do not see why the rest of our industry can’t be more like them. And if anything they should be the people getting the press – not the organizations who take moves to actively incentivize where their employees live.

I can’t help, but think that I am missing something here. Is there some great benefit of sitting in a room together that I’ve forgotten about? Maybe the pandemic has honestly just gone on for too long for me to remember.

Anyway I am the last person to resent going to the office. If anything I really look forward to all of us being able to meet up in person again, but I still struggle with the idea of location-based salaries in this day and age.

Location-based salaries or not though what this series made me realize is that as an industry we need to stop treating those who work from home – either permanently, once a week, or otherwise – as second class citizens. Let’s instead take the pandemic reset as an opportunity to provide the same great benefits that we all had in our offices to home workers and let’s be more inclusive about being hybrid.

And yes that does mean sending gift boxes with chocolates and coffee out, equalizing work-form-home and work-from-office benefits with generous equipment allowances, and equalizing salaries no matter where our colleagues work. Our industry has the means to make this change. Let’s build a better future for all of us no matter if we’re in the office, hybrid, or work from home.