UK business leaders are considering decreasing the salaries of employees that work remotely full-time, new research by Velocity Smart Technology has found.

The research revealed that one in ten businesses interviewed in the report said they would decrease the salary of home workers. 

Many businesses have questioned this controversial approach since last year’s announcement that workers at some UK law firms will face a 20% pay cut to work from home full-time.

There is still a notable minority of business leaders committed to getting staff back into the office. Over a third (39%) said that if and when the UK recession happens, employees should still be made to work at the office. On the flip side, almost three-quarters (72%) of businesses say staff can work flexible hours that suit their lifestyle if it doesn’t affect productivity. Over half (53%) said staff should be allowed to work remotely.

To reinforce the commitment to office work, 35% said employers should also contribute towards the commuting costs if employees are made to work at the office. 

Speaking on the results, Anthony Lamoureux, CEO of Velocity Smart Technology, the it locker provider, said: “The approach of passing on cost savings through salary cuts is not fair on employees – especially when employees are facing ever-rising energy bills and the cost of living increases to work from home. 

“From charging laptops to heating, working from home is not necessarily cheaper than commuting. The challenge for businesses is to consider how best to help employees be productive and happy, without second guessing their financial positions.”

The research also highlighted that people who can work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their roles. It found that firms that prioritise investment in their people will be best placed to realise their long-term goals and provide a solid foundation for growth once the economy improves. 

Lamoureux concluded: “Despite the enormous change in working practices over the past few years, there is still a gap between what employees want and the thinking of some business leaders. This research indicates the gap is set to increase. While most companies recognise the importance of productive, motivated staff in driving the business through a recession, others are still adhering to outdated working models.”

The Velocity market research report “Smart businesses are preparing for a recession” is available to download in full here.

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