Asking for a raise can be nerve-wracking. After all, talking about money is uncomfortable and avoiding conflict is our human nature. In fact, only 37% of people always negotiate their salary.
Yet, salary negotiation is a normal and expected part of the workplace. It’s important to treat salary negotiation as “business as usual” and not put off this key conversation. This is especially true for remote work, as it’s easy to hide behind your keyboard and not take initiative with your own remote salary.
Navigating salary negotiation for remote work doesn’t have to be stressful. To help you out, our experts at NoHQ have put together the top salary negotiation strategies for remote workers, as well as tips for getting a generous remote work agreement.
Remote work has changed the salary game
It’s important to remember that remote work has transformed our workplaces, including salary expectations. Before you approach salary negotiation for remote roles, keep in mind that:
#1: Location-based pay may not be the standard anymore.
Pay used to be a straightforward formula of experience, expertise and location-based cost of living. Nowadays with remote work, companies are rethinking their compensation strategy.
In lieu of location, some are opting for a global standard or a transparent salary calculator. Whenever possible, you should find out how location is included in salary calculations. If a prospective employer offers salary transparency, this is often a good sign.
#2: WFH benefits may have to be negotiated as part of your offer package.
Like other benefits, working from home may need to be negotiated, including the number of WFH days, flexibility during your workday and whether your home office set-up is subsidized. Be sure to discuss the specifics of remote benefits so that you don’t get any surprises down the road.
#3: “E-charisma” may be essential to negotiation success.
“E-charisma” is a term coined by researchers at Northwestern University. It refers to the virtual skills needed to get a positive impression on screen. This includes factors such as good articulation, listening and on-screen image. If you negotiate salary on a video call, you’ll want to use your best e-charisma.
#4: Watch out for pay cuts if you relocate.
Remote work has been a recent source of salary controversy, because companies such as Google have cut pay for remote employees who haven’t returned to the office post-COVID. Even if you’re a full-time remote worker, you’ll want to check whether a potential relocation could lower your salary.
Know when to negotiate a remote work salary
Salary conversations should be done at the right time, often after the interview process or during annual reviews. Otherwise you risk asking for a raise at an inappropriate or inopportune moment.
At a new company
It’s important to stay mum about salary during job interviews with potential employers. Only after you’ve received an offer letter, request a video call to discuss. At this point, you can talk about a higher number.
Whenever possible, leverage other offers to get a better salary. Regardless, new job seekers should expect some back-and-forth from a new company.
At your current employer
Often salary negotiation happens during annual reviews, but you could also bring it up at your own volition. Just be sure to avoid busy weeks or seasons, or your salary demands could go on the back burner.
Once you’ve scheduled a video call with your boss or hiring manager, come to the meeting prepared. You’ll want to showcase specific achievements that show you deserve more than your current salary. You could even prepare a “brag sheet” of your results to share.
It’s not uncommon for your current company to respond with “no” at first. Improve your chances by leveraging offers from other companies and clearly presenting your value.
Determine your exact value, regardless of location
For successful negotiation, you’ll want to research your market value. It’s important to analyze thoroughly and come up with an exact number for your ideal salary. Remote workers who present an exact figure typically have better success in negotiations, because it’s clear you’ve done your homework. Try to avoid using a salary range, even if you have one in mind.
In addition, you should estimate your value regardless of location. Most online salary calculators include location, but try to think beyond this and focus on competition. What are market leaders in your industry paying for a remote worker with your experience and expertise? Some aspects of your value may include:
- Demand for expertise
- Years of experience
- Company ROI results
- Skills and certificates
- Leadership potential
- Added value, such as languages, innovative mindset, etc.
By researching and understanding your market value, you’ll be prepared for negotiations. The ideal raise is usually about 10-20% above the average salary for your position, but let the current research guide you.
Tips for negotiating salary for a remote job
You can improve your chances of success by using our salary negotiation tips below. Remember that the salary negotiation process is rarely a one-and-done deal. You may have to be strategic about getting your target salary.
Here’s the rundown on how to negotiate salary for remote workers:
- Find out the company's compensation strategy, if possible.
- Identify what you want for salary and non-salary compensation.
- Don’t lowball salary negotiations and don’t give up after round one.
- Embrace the awkward silence, especially on video call.
- Make it about what the company gains from hiring/keeping you.
- Express your remote work impact.
- Validate the reasoning behind “nos.”
- Use a “graceful yet gritty” mindset
1. Find out the company's compensation strategy, if possible.
What type of compensation structure does the company have? Find out whether it’s location-based or uses an alternative approach such as a global standard. (For example, competitive tech companies often use San Francisco as the base salary guide for all remote workers.)
In addition, there may be other compensation opportunities, such as a signing bonus or performance-based pay. Knowing all this will guide your negotiations and help you make the most of the company’s structure.
2. Identify what you want for salary and non-salary compensation.
Salary is just one aspect of a compensation package. Don’t forget about other non-salary compensation, including benefits, perks, flex time, remote company culture and work-life balance. Identify benefits that are must-haves and nice-to-haves so you can negotiate better.
3. Don’t lowball salary negotiations and don’t give up after round one.
Lowballing your salary number could lead to a standstill in negotiations. It’s better to err on the high side, so you can negotiate down.
At the same time, don’t accept the first counteroffer if you’re not happy with it. A few rounds of negotiation are a normal and healthy part of the salary negotiation process.
4. Embrace the awkward silence, especially on video call.
It’s a universal truth that negotiation meetings can be awkward. Embrace it! Try not to fill the silence on a video call. Simply stay calm and professional. Remember that talking about money isn’t an everyday conversation.
5. Make it about what the company gains from hiring/keeping you.
Turn the tables and make it about your company. Rephrase your achievements as company results, so that they see your raise as a gain for them. You can also leverage other job offers, but avoid threatening your company with leaving.
6. Express your remote work impact.
Remote work is a fairly new work mode. If your workplace is uncertain about remote work, you can resolve their doubts by showcasing your productivity and impact. These specific work-from-home results can make a difference in settling their concerns.
7. Validate the reasoning behind “nos.”
If the response is no, be sure to ask the reason behind it. By finding out why, you can take the pulse on whether the reason is valid or just an excuse. If you’re not feeling valued, it may be time to walk away and find another job.
8. Use a “graceful yet gritty” mindset.
Be gracious throughout the negotiation process. Being too pushy or arrogant can work against you. Of course, it can be a fine line, as you don’t want to cave in either. Try to maintain a “graceful yet gritty” mindset to stay firm yet human during all negotiations.
Bonus: how to negotiate a remote work agreement
If you want to work from home in the long term, you may also be looking to negotiate a remote work policy. This is especially true if your workplace is traditionally in-person and you’re hoping to change the standard.
In this case, you’ll want to negotiate a remote work agreement by highlighting how it’s a win-win for both you and the company. Here are few tips for making remote work a no-brainer:
- Make sure that you want long-term WFH. There’s no use negotiating for remote work, only to miss the office. Be sure it’s something you want in the long term.
- Highlight your individual abilities and results from WFH. Show off what you’ve accomplished during work from home. Try to give specific numbers and results.
- Express how it’s beneficial to the company. For example, if your work requires deep concentration to analyze numbers or come up with innovative ideas, mention how remote work allows for greater focus and productivity.
- Make a plan for how WFH impacts your team or clients. Consider your team and make a plan if your remote work will impact them. Even if WFH doesn’t affect them, this type of plan shows your professional attitude.
- Reconsider WFH as a benefit, not a perk. Companies who refuse remote work will remain behind the times. It’s important to address WFH as a benefit in your negotiations, not as a perk. Give examples of other industry leaders who are embracing remote work.
Don’t skip salary negotiation for remote work
While salary negotiation is no fun, it’s an essential step in getting fair compensation. As a remote employee, you shouldn’t miss out on crucial pay raises. Instead, bite the bullet. Use our salary negotiation tips above to approach your salary conversation and get the raise you deserve.
Salary negotiation is just one part of remote work success. You can get even more strategies for remote work on NoHQ’s blog.