This post is part 2 of our 5-part series in which we break down the 24 unique elements that can and should be considered in any job offer negotiation. These 24 elements are taken directly from an interactive tool we built at 10x Ascend called the Lifestyle Calculator.
In the previous chapter, we dove into the details of 5 core negotiation topics all related to compensation. While salary is an important part of any job offer, we made the case that there is much more at play than just salary when it comes to your compensation package.
In Chapter 2, we will be covering logistics. With any job, a handful of basic lifestyle factors can and should be considered. Where are you going to work? What’s the workspace like? How much money do you have to spend on work-related activities?
As with Chapter 1, our goal here is to empower readers to become better negotiators. By understanding the different angles and topics that can be leveraged in a negotiation, you’ll be better equipped to fight for what’s important in your next compensation package.
Location of Work
From Where You’re Permitted to Work
For those in the midst of a job search, it’s become relatively easy to filter what’s out there based on location. Sites like Indeed and LinkedIn provide free tools for this. If you’re committed to a certain area, location is obviously high on your priority list. But this shouldn’t be an issue, as you likely won’t be applying for jobs in other locations.
However, some job offers come with relocation provisions (more on this later) in which case you might have a big decision on your hands. While remote work is becoming more and more popular, it’s not uncommon that a high profile company wants their high profile employees in the office – and potentially at their headquarters.
Of course, this varies on a case by case basis. But if you’re shooting for a job at Amazon, relocation might mean working out of HQ in Seattle. The Bay Area for tech companies like SalesForce, Google, Facebook. Los Angeles for entertainment. New York for fashion.
Remember that from city to city, you’ll experience key differences in cost of living and tax laws. These are sure to impact your lifestyle and should be factored into your broader financial situation.
To take things a step further, location doesn’t just apply to the city. What would be your commute? How does that compare to your current commute? Is the office in a nice area? The importance of details like this will vary from person to person. But there are certainly those for whom specific location is a dealbreaker. We have encountered many people for whom a commute longer than X minutes is not an acceptable option. Knowing this will really help you in deciding which opportunities to pursue.
A job description may say “New York” but that could mean Brooklyn, FiDi, Midtown, Upper West Side… you get the idea. Best to get clarity here early so you can develop an informed vision of your potential lifestyle working at this company.
Now we’ve made a big assumption up until this point… all of the above is only relevant for on-site workers! As you probably know, remote work is more popular today than ever before.
In Owl Labs’ report titled State of Remote Work 2019, more than 50% of survey respondents who work on-site reported wanting to work remotely in the future. When considering some of the perks of remote work, this makes sense. Remote workers often enjoy the freedom to work when and where they want. And as the Owl Labs report also mentions, they are often paid better.
The ability to work remotely is a growing desire for many, and employers are increasingly embracing it. Employers understand that in order to land top-tier talent, they often have to loosen the grip on location requirements.
Asking about remote work when negotiating is certainly worth your time. And of course it doesn’t have to be all in or all out. Maybe you strike a deal with an employer that allows you to work remotely a couple days a week. Or every other week. There are plenty of ways to spin this proposition.
Office or Desk
Your Setup in the Workspace
The past decade saw a large increase in the number of open work space layouts, especially in the tech sector. Some companies have taken it to the extreme and tried to eradicate private offices entirely. Others are switching back to offices for increased privacy.
CEOs like Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square work among their employees, with no access to a private office – or even a desk! For leaders like this, the idea is to break down traditional symbols of bureaucracy in an effort to bring the company closer together and encourage collaboration and transparency.
But this work dynamic doesn’t work for everyone, and whether it’s right for you certainly warrants some consideration. Some research actually suggests that an open workspace is counterproductive, as it interrupts focus, flow, and attention.
If you know how you work best, don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding your immediate surroundings. In general, anything that might affect your work performance is worthy of learning more about, and making informed decisions is at the core of this process.
How Much You Are Allocated for Work-Related Travel & Entertainment
An expense account is an arrangement between employee and employer regarding the reimbursement or payment of expenses for work-related purposes. This can take many forms, as the line of work will determine the type and quantity of your expenses. Many jobs have no need for this at all and for others, it is a huge part of your ability to do your job well.
For example, if your job requires a lot of travel, what will be covered by the company during your business trips? A lot of expenses exist in what might be just a three night business trip. Flights, Ubers, meals or per diems, hotels, and so on.
Remember too that a wide range exists when looking at the quality of amenities when traveling. If you’re on the road frequently, you might want to make sure your budget covers some level of luxury – business class plane seating for example.
If you have a sales job and you need to wine and dine your customers, much of your compensation may come in the form of sales commissions. If you don’t have a budget that allows you to successfully carry out the volume or quality of this aspect of your job, your commission might suffer.
As with some of the lifestyle calculator items, learning about your expense account might not apply to your situation. But if it does, it’s fair game to ask about it.
Budget for Operations
Marketing Budget, Hiring Budget, Freelancers, etc.
For experts who have a go-to system of operations, budget is important when taking on a new job. For example, say you’re a digital marketing whiz, and you’ve helped accelerate growth at 3 companies. You used the same formula at each, and this formula requires a monthly budget of $100k for paid advertising on search networks like Google and Bing.
Without that entire $100k, chances are you’ll still be an effective employee. But you have a proven method that you know works! In order to have maximum impact at this company, you might decide that you need a certain allocation each month.
Just like with your workspace setup, work performance and ability to hit goals could be severely impacted if you don’t have access to sufficient resources. And even for those without a magical, proven formula, learning about your would-be budget is important. The expectations of the job must be able to be met with the budget you’re given. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Note that the “marketing whiz” example here is just one of many possible scenarios in which budget might be important. Maybe you’re hired as VP of Sales and the first order of business is to grow the team. In this case, a hiring budget is crucial. Or maybe your formula revolves around hiring freelancers, so an independent contractor budget would be necessary.
Whatever the specific circumstances are for your job, making sure you have a sufficient budget to achieve goals is a huge and important thing to tackle upfront. Some employers have unreasonable expectations, and this is a good way to get a sense before it is too late.
Amount Provided for Relocating to a New Locale
As we hinted at in the first section of this post, some job offers will ask you to uproot your life and relocate entirely. Relocation itself may be used as a bargaining chip when trying to negotiate a better deal. By relocating, you take on the big risk that moving to a new place will have an impact on your quality of life. But for our purposes here, let’s briefly discuss relocation budgets.
Similar to an expense account, a relocation budget is an amount of money provided to an employee who must move in order to take a given job. As you can probably guess, moving expenses often include movers, temporary lodging, airfare, scouting trips for real estate, schools, etc, as well as other travel-related costs.
Some reports estimate the total cost of job relocation can fall within a range of $2,000 to $5,000. Other sources report higher numbers and much of this is dictated by lifestyle and location.
Moving a single person who lives in a studio from one town to the next is a very different proposition than moving a family of five to an entirely new country. As such, this will vary on a case by case basis, but the takeaway here is that relocation costs are nothing to scoff at. If you’re being asked to move to a new place for your job, the last thing on your mind should be how expensive the move will be.
As with many areas of your comp package, relocation budget is often presented as a fixed number. But when pushed with the right explanation of why that is not sufficient, many companies will do better.
Conclusion on Logistics in Job Offers
In comparison to our first chapter which focused on compensation, some of the negotiation items here may seem less important in the grand scheme of things. And we’d be the first to admit, for most, salary will be a bigger concern than whether or not you have a personal office.
But the beautiful thing about the Lifestyle Calculator is that it’s 100 percent customizable. What’s important for one person might not be important for someone else.
At 10x Ascend, we operate with a growing optimism that job offers will become increasingly customized to fit the needs of individual candidates. Until employers learn how to ask the right questions in order to customize their offers, the responsibility falls on you to communicate what is and is not important.
In order to stay ahead of the curve, we recommend to all of our clients that they understand their own values. This helps them get the best, most personalized deal possible. If you’re someone who cares a lot about the logistics of your job, we hope this post gave you some ideas for how to improve your next offer.
**Stay tuned for Chapter 3, where we will touch on the third section of lifestyle calculator items: Participation. This will include details on topics like vesting, equity, term lengths, and buyouts.