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Discussion on: Facebook and more big tech companies are going to lean into distributed work. What is going to suck about this?

leob profile image
leob • Edited

You've partially convinced me, however if FB's office is in an area (county, even state) where rent and other prices are totally through the roof, not in one zip code but virtually anywhere, then they HAVE to pay higher salaries don't they? Or people will simply be unable to make ends meet, no matter which city, town or neighborhood they live.

Apart from this "exceptional" scenario I would tend to say your logic is right.

What if they would give people a "base salary", which would be the same no matter locality or on site/remote, and which would be based on job title and years of experience and so on (so "merit based"), and on top of that people can get "subsidized" to cover specific costs (which they will have to prove by showing bills and so on) ?

That might be the basis for a more fair and transparent system of remuneration. I think that would be the way forward - whatever approach a company chooses, make it fair and make it transparent.

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leob profile image

Yes you're absolutely right, the circumstances (COVID-19) make this very very shocking indeed - telling people "you need to come back to the office or you get a pay cut". But what about the news then recently that both Facebook and Twitter will allow their employees to WFH permanently?

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II • Edited

At one point in time, Facebook (and others) decided "the value of the <POSITIONS> is worth $X/year compensation-outlay". If they weren't, they could have made the decision to move locations to where they could source for less. This strikes me as opportunistic. It also strikes me as a harbinger of a future where, "we now only want to pay $Y/year for your position: you probably want to move to someplace cheaper if you want to retain your earnings:CoL ratio" (and, ultimately, a harbinger of "we're just going to offshore since <FOREIGN MARKET>'s rates are significantly cheaper than even the lowest CoL-adjusted salary within this state/region/country would allow for").

Ultimately, it sort of strikes me as "double dipping" on such companies' parts: reduce the costs associated with facilitating workers' ability to produce (especially given that the costs of corporate facilities are likely going to have to go up to reflect newly-identified spacing, cleaning, HVAC and other requirements) and reduce the raw amount you're paying said workers ...all while retaining the full value of a given employee's output.

That they didn't previously simply outsource things says that there's (at least up to this decision-point) an intrinsic value to having workers within a given cultural-, language- or time-region doing the work. If so, the fair thing is to pay for the value of those factors.

Overall, if a company thinks that where an employee lives or works from changes the value of what they produce, then they should probably only hire employees that meet the associated cost/value relationship.

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toastking profile image
Matt Del Signore

I mean lots of companies already pay low enough that employees need two jobs to make ends meet. In this case I'm assuming its just someone at Facebook decided to apply the usual Cost of Living calculation to remote workers. It seems like a cost saving measure for facebook. Ad spending is way down so they're trying to save.

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Which is fine. But be honest with me. Don't try to claim it's "fair" to cut my compensation simply because I moved — especially if me no longer sucking up cube-space already saves you money. Tell me "we need to either cut everyone's compensation or start laying people off because the income-landscape has changed and we're facing losses". Of course, such honesty also means that, for "fairness" sake, C-suite occupants and shareholders should be similarly-facing cuts.