Why There Is Lower Pay For Remote Workers

Why There Is Lower Pay For Remote Workers?
Summary: Why are eLearning developers sometimes offered lower rates to work remotely? Is it because client-companies are losing in the end? Not entirely. The perks are great working remotely and client-companies should know that they can reap the benefits too if they don't know already.

Lower Pay For Remote Workers: Job + Remote Work = Lower Pay ...What?

Did you ever get one of those calls from a recruiter saying “I have a remote opportunity for you, and it’s paying XX. Would you be interested?”? Usually the pay rate is sometimes 20-30% lower than what you would make working on-site. S/he then justifies the price stating that it’s because of the perks working from home. What? Wait a minute. Why would you get paid less to work remotely? Is the client-company sacrificing something to let you work from home? Maybe in some instances, companies may feel like they are giving up control by you not being in the office, but if solid expectations and measures are in order, virtual work is really doable - where both sides stand a really good outcome and benefit. So, why there is lower pay for remote workers?

The above job description came directly from a very common website recently, and I was so shocked that I had to publish it. Take a close look; it’s paying a little over $7 over minimum wage for an experienced Instructional Designer to be able to work remotely. This example may be a little out of the norm, but Instructional Designers shouldn’t have to accept low pay for the location of where they work. I mean, we develop eLearning for employees that take our training remotely. So, working virtually should be a good litmus test to ensure our work is solid for a virtual environment, right?

Let’s face it, remote opportunities are continuing to grow and these possibilities are gaining more and more momentum as years go by. By the time Generation Z hits Corporate America, virtual work may not only be more “acc”epted but may be “ex”pected in order to obtain and retain really skilled talent.

From a corporate’s perspective, the benefits may seem slanted in favor of the employee.  But after considerable research, it seems employers have a significant advantage and benefit of this arrangement as well, and they may not even know it.

I’ve done some rigorous research and came up with some pros and cons for the eLearning community and corporate. What are your thoughts?

Employee - Remote Work



Higher Productivity

More productivity.


Slacking since there may be no one to remind you to do your work and no people around you to act as a motivating factor. (In the beginning)

Remote Testing

Ability to test development in a remote setting for remote audience/users.

Coworker Access

Ability to quickly ask a question due to lack of face-to-face communication since coworkers are not physically present. And online chats don't convey emotions or mindsets that well.

However, there is a flip side; it becomes much more advantageous to set up a quick Adobe Connect or Microsoft Live Meeting and be one-on-one with the person without distraction.

Work/Life Balance  Concentration

Lack of work concentration since you are being around a familiar environment where you conduct day-to-day personal home activities.

Reduce Expenses

Financial savings (no gas, less eating out for lunch, business clothing).


(In the beginning)

Less Distractions

Quieter atmosphere and fewer distractions.

Flexible Schedule 

For those exempt that have the urge to develop at 3:00 am.

Higher Job Satisfaction

Fewer resignations due to contentment and complacency.

Less Stressful Environment

(i.e. No long commute therefore no traffic, take care of family needs as needed, and eat healthier).

Environmentally Friendly

Due to no travel.

Employer - Remote Work



Cost Savings And Lower Fixed Costs
  • Some studies show that for each employee who telecommutes, the company saves about $11,000 annually.
  • Low real estate with low office space. According an article on Sqwiggle.com, “a study sponsored by collaboration software company PGi showed that by switching to telecommuting full time, a business could save $10,000 per employee per year in real estate costs. Expand that out to a 20-person team, and you’re talking serious spending money.”
  • Less need for parking space.
  • Electrical and water usage.
  • No dedicated phone lines, office furniture, and other equipment.
Employee Face-to Face Communication

Inability to speak face-to-face.

Better Talent Pool

Ability to attract talent from a wider geographic area so the best of the best can be hired.

Response Time

Lack of a quick response.

Remote Testing

Ability to test development in a remote setting for remote audience/users. This is especially helpful when testing different internet platforms without the intranet blocking.


Perception of not really working due to being absent from the physical office.

Less Turnover

Employee retention / less turnover due to job contentment and complacency. High turnover can greatly cost on average 20% of the resigned worker’s salary to replace them.


Feelings of giving up control.

More People

More talent where there are high turnovers – I used to develop training for a call center and the specific reason they went virtual (VILT) is because they saturated the local college market where the call center was located (i.e. there were no people left until the new year started and therefore a new campaign started for hiring).

Minimal Distractions

Increased worker productivity by minimized distractions.

Less Absences

Less employee absences and sick time. Employees are able to attend to the demands of their day without it coming at a corporate cost (i.e. snowstorm shuts down the city or child wakes up with a fever).

Longer Hours

Longer hours worked.

Minimal Distractions

Increased worker productivity by minimized distractions.

Less Breaks
Less Stress

Healthy employees due to less stress, easier time eating healthy, and striking a manageable work-life balance.

Time Zone Coverage

Where time zones are important or where flex schedules are a must, offices do not need to stay open 24/7. Essentially, some coworkers can take over when others are sleeping through the night. This calculates to round-the-clock productivity, especially for those firms that are customer service-driven.

So what are your thoughts? The next time a recruiter calls you for a remote opportunity with lower pay because you’re benefiting from not having to come into the office, will you think twice and be able to use these proven statistics as leverage?

If you find yourself interested in learning more about working global as an eLearning Developer, visit our website to see the latest news and employment at Global eLearning Corporation.