Would you take a pay cut to be able to telecommute? I would, and I have in the past. I took a pretty substantial pay cut to work full time for SQLServerCentral almost a decade ago. It was an impact to me life, both positive and negative, but overall I think it was for the better. We had less money to spend, but I got more time with my kids, which was infinitely more valuable to me.
It seems that I’m not alone as over a third of IT professionals surveyed would take some pay cut to stay home. The quality of life increase, lower costs, and less stress are definitely worth the trade off and I think more and more people are starting to try to convince their employers to allow remote work.
However employers are slow to catch on. Most of the jobs that are posted don’t have telecommuting as an option, and many managers are reluctant to allow remote work. I know that I interviewed for two jobs in 2002/2003 and in both cases, they were reluctant to allow me to work at home. For one job I offered to take less money and work from home 4 days a week, but my offer was refused.
I think we are a long way from telecommuting becoming a common way of working in IT. It will likely take a newer generation of managers and directors that have grown up with the idea of working remotely and with the technology that allows effective work from home to change the prevailing attitude.
Not everyone wants to telecommute, which is fine. However for those people that do, I think you should make a case for remote work, show examples of how it can work and maybe even decide on some SLA for the way you work. Show your manager that you are willing to work with them to prove it can work and maybe you’ll get the chance to perform an experiment.