Tech Company Pays Employees to Stay Away

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

A technology company in California’s Silicon Valley is paying workers to leave the area.

The startup company, Zapier, describes itself as “100 percent remote,” meaning employees don’t have to commute and work in the office each day. They can work from home or anywhere, like a coffee shop, if they like.

Wade Foster

Wade Foster, the CEO and founder of Zapier, announced last week that the company is offering workers $10,000 to move from the high-technology area in northern California known as Silicon Valley and the area named for San Francisco Bay.

It is one of the most costly places to live in the United States because salaries in the high-technology industry there are also very high. A one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco costs, on average, $3,400 per month in rent, according to ApartmentList.com’s rent report for March.

Even senior-level tech workers at Silicon Valley companies like AirBnb, Twitter and Uber use about half of their monthly earnings to pay rent, Quartz Media reported.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

The Bay Area has a housing shortage that also increases housing costs.

Foster describes the company’s offer as a “de-location package.” That is a play on words for “relocation package.” Some companies pay for the cost of moving from one city to another for a new job.

“The recruiting industry has long offered relocation assistance to convince you to move somewhere you may not prefer,” Foster wrote. “We think it’s time to get assistance to take a new role you’ll love and move to the exact place you want to be.”

Working remotely — or telecommuting — is becoming more common in the United States.

A recent Gallup study found that the number of Americans who telecommute at least four days a week rose from 24 percent to 31 percent between 2012 and 2016.

More than half of all employees in computer, information systems and mathematics industries work remotely at least some of the time, the New York Times reported last month.

Zapier is an online automation tool that links apps to each other.

 

Observers say working remotely decreases stress for workers and saves companies and employees money. Employees who work remotely say they are more productive.

Foster says he hopes his workers and their families will enjoy a better “standard of living,” something that can be difficult to do in the costly Bay Area.

“The housing crunch and high cost of living simply price out many families,” Foster wrote. “Despite loving the area, the realities are many of us need to look elsewhere to create the life we want for our families.”

This story first appeared in VOA Learning English.

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