The Real Deal on Paying Remote Workers: Why One Size Doesn't Fit All

remote worker salary
The Real Deal on Paying Remote Workers: Why One Size Doesn't Fit All
September 4, 2023

So, you've got a team that's spread out from coast to coast, or even across the globe.

The question on your mind?

How to pay these folks fairly and wisely.


it's more nuanced than you might think.

The Elephant in the Room: Fairness

First up, let's address the giant, money-shaped elephant in the room—fairness.

Ah yes, the F-word that sends shivers down every remote team leader's spine.

Paying everyone the same might seem fair, but what about cost of living?

A Myrtle Beach salary won't go far in New York, let alone Tokyo.

The Local Touch: Why Geographically-Tailored Pay-scales Work

If you're thinking local, you're on the right track.

Different locations have different living costs, tax implications, and even work cultures.

Adapting your payscales to these factors can help you find the sweet spot between fairness and financial viability.

The Global Perspective: Equal Pay for Equal Screens?

What about a global payscale?

It's a tempting notion—equal pay for equal work, regardless of where your Wi-Fi is located.

But here is were you need to tread carefully; what seems equal might not feel that way to your team members.

Exchange rates and inflation are just the tip of the iceberg.

paul arnesen human capital

Navigating the Maze: Practical Tips

Confused yet?

Don't worry, you're not alone.

The good news is there are ways to navigate this maze:

- Consult your HR department (if you have one) or seek external advice.
- Be transparent with your team about how you're calculating their pay.
- Regularly review and adjust pay-scales to keep up with changing circumstances.

If you're looking for more nuggets of wisdom on this subject, check out my previous article on A Practical Guide to Global and Local Payscale.


Paying remote workers is not just a numbers game; it's a balancing act that involves a whole lot of factors.

So the next time you're setting up a payroll, remember: one size rarely fits all.

Final Thought

Here's a curveball for you: as you venture into the remote work landscape, consider employee benefits as part of the compensation package.

Sometimes, it's not just about the money; it's about creating a work environment where everyone feels valued.

paul arnesen

Paul Arnesen

Paul Arnesen is a human capital strategist with more than 10 years experience working with companies globally with HR processes and global strategic direction. Paul is from Norway, but lives in Milan, Italy.