my satellite team resents that we don’t get the perks offered at our headquarters

A reader writes:

I manage a small team (less than 10) in a small city that is a three-hour drive from the company’s main site and headquarters, which is in a large urban area. Due to nature of our work, all my employees need to be on-site, but I try to be liberal with letting people work from home to handle personal items or if they have online training. There are perks to working at our site instead of HQ (less traffic, lower cost of living, nicer cubicles, more daily independence, proximity to food trucks), and we sometimes hold social events with other organizations in our building.

My team members are familiar with life at HQ because one person transferred from there, and everyone travels there at least once a year. We also interact daily with employees located there. The company holds frequent employee events throughout the year at HQ during work hours, which often include a meeting followed by food or games. Most have a virtual aspect for global and remote staff, and I try to balance these events with frequent team lunches and other group activities. I asked IT to remove my team from the HQ announcement email distribution list and that helped some with the FOMO.

About half of employees at HQ are in hybrid roles and don’t need to be on-site every day. But the company started offering a lunch delivery service to encourage staff to come to the office. This program has been widely promoted in the company. All staff at HQ benefit in convenience and subsidized meals, but the contracted program does not operate in our city. The cost of this program is covered by the executive budget at HQ. My company promotes employee experience and equity, so I told my team I would see if there were any alternatives that would work for our location and size (for example, covering food delivery fees). Unfortunately, I learned that cost for my location would need to come out of my budget directly. Now a member of my team heard about the gym at HQ being remodeled, and asked if we could have a gym pass program.

I have no administrative support, so any event planning is an extra task for me, and there is no way the on-site perks at our location will ever duplicate those at HQ. It is mainly two members of the team that discuss these perks and promote them to other team members. What is a tactfully way to point out that we don’t work at HQ, and it is not reasonable to want everything employees there have. Please note that anyone on my team would have an easy time getting a transfer to HQ if they wanted it.

I can kind of see why people are a little grumbly about it; they’re seeing one set of employees get one set of benefits, while they themselves get a lesser one.

That’s just the reality of working at satellite offices much of the time. But it doesn’t mean people won’t notice and have thoughts about the differences.

Your role isn’t necessarily to make them be happy about that; they’re going to feel however they’re going to feel. You just need to be clear and matter-of-fact that yes, there are differences, those differences are due to your different budgets, and that’s not going to change. (But you were smart to have your team taken off the HQ announcement email list; that was just rubbing salt in the wound.)

When people grumble, say this: “HQ has the budget for perks that we don’t have. We have other perks from living in our area that they don’t enjoy, but it’s true that the work-provided perks there are different. Realistically, those aren’t things we can offer with our budget.”

And then if they keep grumbling: “You’re right, the perks are different because our budgets are different. If you ever want a transfer to HQ, we can talk about that.”

If people seem really disgruntled, one option is to lay the problem out for them and enlist them in brainstorming ideas they would like that are possible within the constraints you’re working with. You could say, “I could find a way to set aside $X/year from our budget for staff morale and perks. Do you want to help me figure out what people would like within that budget?” If they suggest something over that limit, you could ask, “Where would you move the money from? And could we make a business case for doing that?” (Don’t ask this in a snarky way, like it’s a foregone conclusion that it can’t be done. Ask it collaboratively; you’re enlisting them as partners in thinking it through.) Who knows, maybe they’ll come up with something creative — and also, going through the exercise might help them better understand the monetary constraints.

Last, are you able to advocate for a small morale budget for your office? You could make a business case for it, since morale affects things like recruitment, retention, and sometimes productivity. And since your company promotes employee experience and equity, you could frame it in those terms. It’s not an outrage if you can’t make it happen, but your employees would probably appreciate knowing that you went to bat for it.

{ 189 comments… read them below }

  1. Richard Hershberger*

    ‘you could ask, “Where would you move the money from?”‘

    This is my response to many versions of shouting at clouds. You think the schools should be teaching cursive? OK, what should be removed from the curriculum to free up the time required? Please be specific. You are outraged that your favorite football team let a valued and beloved player go? OK, let’s discuss the salary cap and who the team would have let go to keep your guy. And so on. I don’t recall ever having received a substantive response, but that’s fine. The point is to shut the complainer up, at least when I am around.

    1. L-squared*

      I think when those are ridiculous complaints, that is fair.

      I don’t find this to be ridiculous.

      Also, for all you know, they could give some perfectly valid places to take money from that OP just disagrees with.

    2. Lucia Pacciola*

      ‘you could ask, “Where would you move the money from?”‘

      I’m not a manager. I have no idea where I’d move the money from, because I’m not privy to the accounting and business strategy of the firm. I do the work, and the manager manages. That’s why I’m raising the issue with them.

      Also, a decision about perks is ultimately a retention decision. If the disparity between offices is affecting morale, this is a management concern that should be properly considered. “We don’t have the budget” isn’t enough. *Why* don’t they have the budget? Because HQ doesn’t think it’s worth paying for. LW should probably let HQ know it’s affecting morale, and that something probably needs to be done before performance drops off and good workers start looking for other employers. This is assuming, of course, that it’s good for business if satellite office needs to stay open and staffed.

      If employees are feeling devalued or disrespected, you can’t just tell them they’re wrong to feel that way, and to suck it up. That doesn’t make them feel any better about the situation. LW should be doing what she can to make her team feel valued, and letting HQ know how things stand so they can make informed decisions about employee perks and retention at that office.

      1. KHB*

        This is more or less what I was planning to say, but you said it first (and better). “Where would you move the money from?” is an unanswerable question when the person you’re asking doesn’t know anything about what money is where to begin with. And when it’s deliberately formulated as an unanswerable question, for the purpose of getting the complainer to shut up, that’s especially crappy. (To be fair, this is explicitly not what Alison was suggesting.)

        1. Random Dice*

          This. The only time I’ve seen a manager do this, they’ve been a jerk. It had an air of “okay hotshot, you think you can do my job? Oh please do present us your 10-slide plan. We’ll wait while I publicly embarrass you for speaking up.”

          1. Mongrel*

            I used to hear something similar at work, they wanted ideas to improve our product but every response was met with “Who’s going to pay for it? What do we stop doing to free up the resources?”

            And that’s when I stopped offering suggestions

      2. darsynia*

        This is a really great comment, and something to seriously consider. If HQ has a part of their budget devoted to perks like this, and the satellite team does not, it’s worth asking, especially now that the LW can truthfully relay that it’s a morale issue. If nothing else, the LW can point to that conversation if people start looking for jobs elsewhere/mention that as a small factor in an exit interview (and I hope that’s the worst case scenario).

        1. Just Another Cog*

          I agree. I worked in the head office of a company in a past job. We had all sorts of fun perks that weren’t given to the satellite offices. In exit interviews , many often said they felt like they didn’t matter as much as the head office people.

        2. Three Owls in a Trench Coat*

          I’ve seen the same disparity concern in my own organization – about half of the 1000+ people work downtown in buildings no more than a few blocks apart. The other half work at offices spread all over our metro region. HR is downtown. So that means anyone who wants to participate in one of the HR “health initiative” events to lower their health insurance premium must use PTO to cover the time driving from their office, attending, and then driving back PLUS pay for parking. Downtown employees can often fit the event into a lunch break. HR *might* schedule a vaccination event at the larger satellite offices, but only if 50+ people work there. (and everyone is annoyed the annual 5k no longer counts toward one of those health initiatives)

          We have the same problem with the credit union. They never answer the phone, and the website and tech support are terrible. I work downtown and still find it maddening, so I plan on closing my accounts there and transferring it all to my partner’s credit union (which has locations all over our area and weekend hours).

      3. kiki*

        Yeah, unless my position means I am privy to budgets and financial info about the company, this question would really frustrate me. Also, my answer would be “from the CEO’s exorbitantly high salary” or from the fees we pay to our private equity overlords who do nothing for us. Like, I understand that the money to fund snacks can’t appear from nowhere, but where did the money to fund these perks at HQ come from? Why can’t we do the same?

        1. Shinespark*

          I agree. I work remotely for a large company, and as such don’t get to access many of the on-site perks at HQ. It’s a trade off I’m happy to make to not have to commute any more. But the company still includes us in small perks where they can (mini snack hampers, budget for a meal at the holidays, etc.) and it does a lot for morale and to help my team feel included.

          If HQ told us our team was cut out of the funding, and out perks had to come out of the budget we use for salary increases/training/supplies instead? I’d understand my team feeling like second class citizens.

          My answer to “where should the money come from?” is out of the HQ perks budget. If the company as a whole has (say) $10k to spend on perks, 95 staff in HQ and 5 in the satellite office, they can allocate 100% of the budget to HQ if they choose, but they can’t then be surprised the satellite office gets frustrated and wonders why that budget couldn’t have been split 95%/5%.

      4. Twix*

        This was my first thought as well. I’m in a fairly senior role and have some knowledge/input on the budget for the projects I work on, but I wouldn’t have any idea where money could be moved around outside of that. I think there’s a high risk of this coming off as disingenuous and a bad faith approach to the problem even if the intention was entirely sincere.

      5. Looper*

        100% agree. It is a common blow-off technique for managers/leadership to tell their employees to come up with solutions just to shoot them all down as not feasible, because of course they’re not, the employees don’t have the same information or full scope view afforded to leadership. LW is acting like the staff is so out of line, but straight up seems to resent they are even asking. These folks want very reasonable perks that are being offered to colleagues. And frankly LW did not do a good job in this letter explaining exactly what “perks” they get by working at this satellite location. Less traffic isn’t very enticing when you know HQ employees are all consistently working from home.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          Less traffic is a good perk for people who have to work on site as these employees do.

        2. Gardener Lady*

          This is key. The resentment about the focus on perks comes through in the letter – I’m sure it comes through to the staff as well. And the satellite perks are not spelled out well – which probably means workers at that location are missing what they do get to take advantage of.

          LW has some growth to do in management and advocating for the team. Maybe everything they want isn’t reasonable – maybe none of it is. But there are ways to handle the situation rather than being mad that your staff wants to feel equally appreciated.

        3. Evelyn Carnahan*

          Less traffic is possibly even less enticing when larger cities are more likely to have decent public transportation, so the employees at HQ may not even have to drive in traffic when they do go into the office.

      6. Mytummyhurtsbutimbeingbraveaboutit*

        This is also my response to people complaining about what other feature the devs should add to a video game. That time has to come from somewhere—what part of the game would you make worse?

      7. Statler von Waldorf*

        As Alison pointed out, sometimes the job of a manager isn’t to make people feel better about a decision. Their job is to do what is needed so their employees can get the work done. It’s best if you can do both, but if you can’t, then getting the work done is always more important.

        “We don’t have the budget” is enough, especially if it’s the truth. Every business has limited resources to allocate for employee benefits and perks. You are assuming that HQ “doesn’t think it’s worth paying for” with zero evidence. Sure, they *may* be sitting on a pile of money and just don’t care about the employees in the satellite office, but it’s also possible the company is just barely breaking even with their current expenditures. In some industries right now, I’d assume the latter far quicker than the former.

        I’ve used the method Alison suggested, and it works. It helps to get people focused on creating solutions instead of whining about problems. Sometimes, that’s the best outcome you can realistically achieve.

      8. M2*

        sounds like from LW there are perks to working at the office mainly lower cost of living. That to me is a huge perk especially if they pay the same at HQ and at this other office.

        I once worked at an office that wasn’t HQ. When I took the role I could work at Hq or the other office. I picked the other office. Both had same salary and benefits but HQ had many more perks, but a lot higher cost of living. Amazing gym on site, free food, I believe they had a daycare on site as well, a state of the art gym. I knew this because I flew there a couple times a year and used the facilities. That being said, I was grateful I didn’t have to move there. People who did make a comment were told they could move to HQ. HQ was the other side of the country and it rains a lot and it would be far from my extended family. Cost of living was also more expensive especially if you wanted to live within a decent school system. You also were away from a couple top people who were known to come into meetings and get upset (a nice way of saying it) about things and make people work late. Being away from that was a huge perk!

        BUT we got lunch a handful of times a year and got a discount I believe on a gym (if you went enough or went to a certain one). I used a different facility but didn’t think it was their job to pay for my fancier pilates membership. Then you get the people who say I don’t like the gym I only like Pilates or yoga or swimming or knitting, etc. I think an effort should be made but it’s doesn’t have to be the same.

        I think LW should talk to HQ again and ask for a small budget so they can have events as well. Can LW find out #s? How much would it cost to rent one of those food trucks? Find a couple catering companies and call and ask for rates they can send via email so you have this information when you contact HQ. Could you do that a couple times a year? If you don’t have a gym could they offer maybe a class pass even a few free classes to try out a year?

        I also don’t know if it’s fair to make LW come up with all of this especially if they already have a full plate.

        I also wonder if there’s so much grumbling if HQ will just say we are closing the satellite office and everyone has to move to HQ.

      9. B*

        Right. The satellite employees are perceiving they are less valued than HQ employees, and that is correct, because a budget is a reflection of values. The LW can try to use whatever capital they may have to remedy the discrepancy. But if it is not going to change, then there is no way to prevent employees from understanding that, yes, they work in a place where some animals are more equal than others. Nor should you try to obfuscate this fact. Whether it’s acceptable is a personal decision for each employee.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          I think this is overly simplistic. I get why they’re annoyed, and I think LW should see if she can push back for some perks budget. But the perks at HQ are likely more about economies of scale than not valuing the off site employees, with some “out of sight, out of mind” mixed in.

          1. I.T. Phone Home*

            Right. If the budget for perks is $100 per employee, the campus with 500 employees is going to be able to afford to renovate the gym, and the satellite with 10 employees is going to be able to replace the microwave and the coffee machine and maybe get an Ikea couch for the break room. Reasonable people can feel differently about that.

            1. B*

              The HQ employees have a specific budget for this stuff while the satellite office has no budget. The LW will have to take it from another part of the budget. Economies of scale is one thing but this is a whole category of benefit not being provided. Whether that’s because they’re out of sight, out of mind, or for whatever other reason, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say, ok, we’re not valued the same. Talk is cheap, you show your values by how you treat people. It’s not a moral judgment, it’s just a fact. That’s life, no organization values all of its employees equally.

          2. Ann O'Nemity*

            I was coming here to say Economies of Scale! My last org budgeted something like 5x more per person in satellite offices for morale/engagement – and HQ still had way more and better perks because they had so many more employees.

            One of the things that was actually pretty popular is just sending the satellite and remote employees a $50 gift card per year instead of trying to make things equitable.

        2. Nicosloanica*

          Well, that seems a little dramatic. There may be a reason why allowing free gym access makes more sense for one building – where more employees are gathered in a bigger office that *already has a gym in it* – and it obviously isn’t economical to build a new gym for the smaller satellite office, and offering the same dollar-for-dollar value for gym memberships elsewhere doesn’t provide a team atmosphere and may not be very desired by the staff. Sometimes “perks” are free or heavily subsidized in various ways that would be expensive to recreate elsewhere. And the satellite office does offer nicer cubicles.

          1. I.T. Phone Home*

            One way big companies justify an onsite gym is that it usually encourages employees to spend more time on campus. Paying for people to go to a gym offsite doesn’t accomplish the same thing, even if it’s dollar-for-dollar the same cost.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              Right, which OP could choose to explain to the employees who don’t seem to get that. In other words, rather than a situation of “HQ values those employees more so they get a cool gym and you do not” it’s “The gym at HQ is there to make it easier for employees to stay at work a larger proportion of the time. We’re not paying for a gym membership for satellite employees, but we’re also not asking you to be onsite for longer hours.”
              Or extrapolated to the other perks: HQ is trying to appease the people who have to be at HQ all the time because of negatives about HQ. The satellite office doesn’t have those negatives, so it also doesn’t get perks to offset them.

          2. UKDancer*

            Yeah my company has offices in several cities. One of them has a gym because the building we’re renting office space in has a gym, another one has free yoga classes because there’s a yoga teacher who works in another company in the same office building and runs classes. Sometimes perks aren’t exactly the same between offices.

      10. Leenie*

        It doesn’t sound like it’s actually a retention issue though. No one is walking or volunteering to work at headquarters because of subsidized lunch. If it’s that’s serious, LW should absolutely be treating it accordingly. But there’s no indication that it’s anything more than light grumbling about a situation that’s inherently unequal, but not actually unjust. It’s absolutely worth it to ask for a morale budget, and I actually wouldn’t ask them to pick things to cut if they want something that’s over budget – LW can just say it’s over budget.

        But I really don’t think employees have cause to feel devalued or disrespected because they don’t work at the headquarters and their satellite office offers different things (including big, quality of life things like shorter commutes and lower cost of living). And if I were the LW, I’d work on getting what they can reasonably get from corporate for morale, but primarily making sure that the employees know that they’re valued through direct feedback and raises.

      11. It's Me*

        Your last paragraph hits the nail on the head. As a union rep, I approached a manager/supervisor about what we could do to improve morale/burnout and she told me “that’s the job, if you don’t like it, quit”. It was not a closed door meeting. Some of my coworkers heard it and it spread. The next three months every week to every other week someone new was putting in their 2-weeks notice.

      12. nnn*

        I’ve asked my team this and they’ve suggested cost-cuttings that I’d never thought about and that I was happy to do. Sometimes team members see waste more clearly than someone a level or 2 above them.

      13. Hosta*

        The probably don’t have the budget because of economies of scale or practicalities of the physical. My employer provides some really nice perks at our biggest offices including lunch, a pool in one location, onsite childcare, regular family events onsite, etc. I work in a medium sized office and we get some of the perks, like lunch and a smaller onsite gym, but no pool, no onsite childcare, and no family events. Folks who work at the smallest offices get some reimbursement for the gym and lunch regularly but none of the other things.

        Why don’t we have a pool or onsite childcare? Because we don’t have enough employees locally to make it cost effective. When the cost of the pool is spread amongst 10,000 employees it is less expensive than splitting it across 500 or 1,000. Likewise, we don’t have enough employees interested in onsite childcare to make it cost effective. Further more, our employer owns the buildings at HQ but leases the buildings for my office an others which limits the improvements they can make.

        I think focusing on what you can offer to make the remote location more enticing is fair. As is asking the employees what they would value. Maybe gym passes are more important than games and morale events. Maybe they’d like to have lunch every Friday instead of a bigger morale event once a quarter.

        1. JustaTech*

          Yes. Like, we don’t get company-sponsored food trucks because we don’t have our own above-ground parking lot, unlike our other two sites.

          But unlike those sites, we do have two locations of rotating food trucks within 2 blocks of us, and even if we don’t have as many lunch options in this location as our last spot, it’s still infinitely more walk-able lunch spots than either of the other sites.

        2. a clockwork lemon*

          My company rents space in a building owned by some third party management company. The building decided to renovate a gym in the space (and add a restaurant, among other things). My company didn’t do this and we certainly didn’t pay for it–it just happens to be a perk now offered to the many tenants of our very large building.

          Other companies who rent space in the same building have their own perks, like a secret Starbucks on one of the upper floors, that people who work in the building can access, but we’re not paying out of pocket to install a fully staffed coffee shop in a satellite office for anyone.

          I’m curious if some of this is at play?

      14. StressedButOkay*

        100% agree. I’m a manager and even I’m not privy to the sprawl of budgetary concerns, so someone I manage is going to be even more removed.

      15. not nice, don't care*

        I find that getting rid of middle managers is a quick way to free up money, but then again, I’m lower level staff and have experienced administrative creep in my 2 decades of academic boiler room work.

        1. Random Dice*

          And I’ve seen the hell of an artificially flat organization, that needs middle management but forces all of those roles up or down. It’s penny wise pound foolish.

      16. Ellis Bell*

        I think it’s fine to decide that budget decisions are above your pay grade, but if that’s the case, you need to believe what the manager tells you about the budget. Basically you have to be willing to accept no for an answer, if you’re not willing to help. It’s not always possible, but I try to bring some possible solutions to my boss along with the problem. I’m likely to know *something* about what we spend money on, and how we could spend more efficiently. I don’t just dump problems on the boss and say “that’s why you get paid the big bucks!” – and then refuse to believe my half formed idea is not a goer… unless of course I’m more interested in making a complaint than a solution.

      17. Princess Sparklepony*

        I was wondering why the satellite office person isn’t talking to HQ and saying – What about us? If HQ can come up with extras for the home team, shouldn’t they also come up with the same type of program for the off site people? It would likely be much cheaper since it’s less people. And it would go a long way to keep people happy.

        It wouldn’t have to be the same exact thing. But something close to comparable. HQ has an on site gym – where is the closest gym to the other office that can offer a good corporate membership? (Not everyone is going to want to go, but some will.)

        Lunch is on the company – what can be done for the little office? Even if it’s just pizza, people will be happy(ish, except for the person who hates pizza…)

        1. Allonge*

          I think one issue is that ordering lunch may also be a higher workload / person for a smaller team. It’s not just the financials, this uses other resources too.

      18. Media Monkey*

        i was taking alison’s point as “we have £100 a month for employee morale projects. we currently spend £75 on our monthly pizza party/ happy hour/ llama hugging and £25 on treats for the office. which of those would you depriotise to free up £50 a month for gym passes?”

    3. Cafe au Lait*

      I used something like this when I had a serial complainer at my library complain about space. They were neurodiverse and felt that my library should be more accommodating of their needs. Which they could find those accommodations if they went to another library on our campus. Our old, grandfathered-in library would’ve needed millions of dollars in upgrades to get us to the level the serial complainer wanted.

      Finally after another complaint session, I asked the complainer “How do you suggest we fundraise to find the money for the upgrades you want?” And they didn’t have an answer. After a few times of redirecting the conversation to fundraising, the complainer stopped.

      The complainer was already on my poopy list for reasons like telling their students not to request books that are currently checked out, instead use interlibrary loan. (Because the complainer was angry the books she was holding onto were recalled). And trying to institute a punishment system where any GSI could assign “misbehaving” undergraduates a 10 page paper for not following social norms.

      I was so glad when they graduated and moved away.

    4. Rachel*

      That’s great if your only goal is to shut the complainers up, but such a combative tone probably isn’t what OP is looking to cultivate.

    5. JaneW*

      Agreed! People making unrealistic demands have rarely thought about the fact that they may need to give up something else in order to have what they’re demanding. There’s often an entitled sense that management should just “figure out a way” to give them everything they want, without any consideration of the facts of running a business.

      1. Artemesia*

        Why shouldn’t the organization budget satellite employee perks similar to those at headquarters? Why should THEY have to give something up. It is not as if they have WFH benefits — they have to go into an office — why isn’t that office budgeted for some perks?

        1. Leenie*

          I think it’s really odd to frame this as giving something up. They made a choice to work at a smaller location that doesn’t offer some perks that headquarters does, and never did. I do think it’s worth it for LW to ask for a morale budget. But I’ve always worked at a satellite office on the opposite coast from our headquarters, and we don’t even think about the differences. They have an on-site cafeteria and gym. We have 20 people, so completely different expectations. The economies of scale don’t exist. I think the proximity makes it a bit more difficult in the LW’s case. But let’s not make it more fraught than it really is. There’s nothing insulting about having a headquarters office that differs from satellite offices in material ways.

          1. ClaireW*

            > They made a choice to work at a smaller location that doesn’t offer some perks that headquarters does, and never did.

            I seriously doubt that during the interview process the company is explaining exactly which perks the potential employee won’t receive because they’ve applied for a position at this specific location.

            1. Leenie*

              The LW said they could easily transfer. We’re supposed to take LWs at their word. But beyond that, I have people who work in four different office locations reporting to me, some who are primarily remote. I can usually move people around on request (except for people in an actual office manager role, which apparently doesn’t exist at the LW’s site), so I have no reason to doubt the LW’s word that she could do the same. Every office has different positives and negatives, and offers a different experience. If, on balance, the employees prefer what the headquarters offers, the LW says she could accommodate that.

              1. Evelyn Carnahan*

                It might be easy for them to transfer to HQ, but that doesn’t mean it’s something they can do. The people at the satellite office can’t just uproot their family and move 3 hours away because they can transfer to the office with perks. And if they did I imagine LW would have to hire someone to replace them, who would then at some point find out that their predecessor left for the better perks at HQ and it becomes a low morale cycle. Things like less traffic and lower cost of living are nice, but they aren’t perks of the job. The employees at the satellite office are receiving less compensation than their peers at HQ. This is one of the rare instances where management throwing a pizza party might actually help.

                1. Leenie*

                  I would not assume that they would need to be replaced. My team members wouldn’t need to be. They could just move, with approval. And if you’re suggesting that someone wouldn’t want to uproot their life and move to a higher COL area for a few free lunches and a gym membership, I agree with that. If people are well paid and otherwise well treated, they tend not to focus on small discrepancies. I would not think that the different amenities that are available at different locations really amount to compensation differences, and I’ve never had anyone on my team express any concerns about that kind of thing. But again, everyone feels good about the big stuff, so the practical differences that come with different locations just don’t seem to grate on people.

            2. Cicely*

              …and the satellite office employees have perks as mentioned by the LW that the HQ employees don’t have access to.

              The grass is always greener…

        2. Ellis Bell*

          It’s probably not a different budget person person though. Its more likely to be because it’s a completely different building and much smaller number of people. Of course the per head budget isn’t going to achieve the same scale of perks in the satellite location as in the main location. You’d have to give the satellite location more money, which would be odd because they already have different perks and could transfer if they really wanted to.

            1. JustaTech*

              Yeah, this is an issue my small site in a high COL area has every year for our holiday party. Each site gets the same per-person budget, but we have a quarter the people and event location prices are maybe 150% of our other site, so of course we can’t have the same kind of holiday party. (We figured out a smart work around by having our holiday party in January, when everything is cheaper.)

    6. Wilbur*

      I don’t know if “Just get the whiners to shut up” is the attitude I’d look for in a manager.

      If you asked me where to move the money from, that’s easy. They have budget for employees at HQ for these perks, move some of it to the satellite office. If they have $10k allocated for this and 200 employees rather than giving all $10k to the 190 that work at HQ send the $500 to the satellite office. It might not go as far at the satellite office, but it would be fair. Or I’d say to grab $1000 from the marketing budget. You might say “Well, you can’t do that.” but the answer is really “We won’t do that”.

    7. NotAnotherManager!*

      The reality is, too, that if the satellite is in a lower COL, less densely-populated area, it’s likely not as competitive to hire there as it is in the urban HQ area where they have to offer more perks to be competitive with other options available to their talent pool. Urban commuting, higher COL, paying for city parking (currently $22/day in my building), working in an older/more crowded environment – I’d guess that they are offering the HQ perks to make that more appealing.

      It’s also been my experience that people feel this way any time they thing someone else is getting something they are not – I’ve also gotten complaints about not receiving monetary compensation for not using company parental leave, healthcare, pet, and/or adoption benefits my current organization offers. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to maybe send the satellite a weekly breakfast pastry fund or something, but I’d guess that the market is dictating the available budget in these situations.

    8. Artemesia*

      why does the company offer a big budget for fun and games at headquarters and not a similar budget for the satellite?

      1. Stipes*

        They might have a similar per-person budget! You can’t get a gym for 20 people for 2% of the cost of getting a gym for 1000 people. The meal service they got at HQ was probably cheaper at scale than ordering delivery for 20 people in the suburbs. There are advantages to having lots of people near each other, it’s why big cities exist.

        1. Artemesia*

          But if they have the same per capita money for perks then the manager can just tell them that — ‘we can’t afford a gym on our budget; we get the same money per head and what we can afford in this small office is (a new coffee set up, a microwave, donuts on Friday mornings once a month, something.)

    9. Festively Dressed Earl*

      These types of questions are even more valuable when asked sincerely. Yes, the complainers might well see that it’s unworkable, but LW should be open to any good points made and prepared to present them to HQ if they’re plausible.

      Shutting down complaints example: my aunt was having bad hallucinations about people living under her house and complained that the police wouldn’t do anything about it despite multiple calls every week. One officer genuinely asked my aunt “What else do you think we should be doing?” and actually listened to her. She couldn’t come up with anything, but she was a lot more amenable to moving to assisted living closer to me.

      Useful information example: in an AP English class, everyone strenuously complained about reading a particular book. The teacher, exasperated, asked us what was so bad about the book – and then listened to us prove, via legitimate complaints about the main character, the themes, and various plot points, that we’d all read and understood the book. We skipped it and used that time to get deeper into some more modern authors and everyone was happy.

    10. 2cents*

      The employees aren’t responsible for finding a financial solution – first of all, because it’s literally not their job, and second, because they’re not privy to financial information that’s needed to make such decisions.

      Also, saying that “the point is to shut the complainer up” shouldn’t really apply to this situation, should it? The point is not to shut the employees up. It’s to have a transparent conversation about the perceived inequality.

  2. L-squared*

    I mean, I don’t blame them. It sounds like they have all the responsibilities of working in office, but far less of the benefits of doing so.

    The fact that your management is so against doing anything to level this out says more about them and your company in general.

    I think Alison’s advice is good. Advocate for morale boosting budget, lay out WHY you need it, and work with some people in your office to come up with some options.

    1. Dido*

      But nobody is stopping them from working at HQ, they just want the best of both worlds. Sounds like the free lunches at HQ are a perk to offset the higher cost of living in that city

        1. KHB*

          No, it sounds like the lunches are to entice people in the HQ city to work from the HQ office more often – but OP’s team already has to work from the satellite office full time as a requirement of their jobs, so no lunches for them. It sounds like the COL difference is just a coincidence (and possibly already accounted for in other aspects of the compensation package).

          Nor does it solve the problem to tell OP’s team that they’re free to transfer to the HQ if they want the HQ perks so badly, because transferring to the HQ means uprooting their whole lives and moving to another city three hours away, which is a difficult and expensive proposition for most people.

          I don’t blame OP’s team for feeling miffed at what they perceive as unequal treatment. When executives shower perks on themselves and everyone they can see, and ignore everyone else, that’s at the very least an optics problem.

          1. Betsy*

            I think this (retention, morale, and optics) is why my company makes an extra effort to ensure that the two non-HQ offices have similar perks and fun stuff.

            This worked out great for me when I was at one of the other facilities for a couple of days. I was able to just change my location in the food ordering system and get my lunch delivered, like I do at the home office.

          2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            This. There isn’t money. There will never be money. BUT. There is time. I’ll take time, thanks.
            Alison writes that the perks HQ offers are to bring people to their office. If OP can’t compete with that, change the goal.
            OP writes that working from home is generally and generously approved WFH, for example when a person “needs to do X…”
            How about if a person wants to do Z, work from home because it’s awesome. Is a codified, explicit WFH/hybrid policy something that OP can do?
            “You can work from home two days a week.”
            Keep your pizza. Keep your games. Ima take door number 3.

          3. Baunilha*

            I agree with everything KHB said, but especially the last paragraph. That’s not to say that the executives are overexpending on themselves, but the optics are not good.

            Also, “less traffic, lower cost of living, nicer cubicles, more daily independence, proximity to food trucks” aren’t exactly perks in the sense that they are not company provided and probably something the employees were already counting on, if they already lived there. (That could make a difference between accepting a job at company B rather than company A, but not between working a satellite office versus HQ) The issue is the disparity between what the branches get from the company.

      1. darsynia*

        Do most satellite offices share an applicant pool for them to pick which workplace? If not, this seems unkind when the head office is three hours’ drive away. They’d like equal treatment and probably aren’t thinking about the cost disparity of living closer, just that the working experiences differ.

        I also find it very unlikely that ‘no one is stopping them from working at HQ;’ if everyone at both offices work on site as a necessity, it probably matters where they work and who their bosses are. So they’re not interchangeable.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          This! I worked somewhere that had satellite offices in completely different states. It wasn’t a matter of choice – roles were just in different places based on division, needs, etc.

          FWIW, we had the opposite problem. Our satellite offices were jealous of HQ, but they got higher pay (it was based on nearest municipal area, and when your rural town is paid at a rate for a city 2 hours away, your pay goes further) and some of their perks were definitely better. (All-employee meeting catered by popular local place for them. Catered by our deeply inadequate cafeteria service for us. Oh, Canteen! I miss you not at all.)

        2. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          They’d like equal treatment and probably aren’t thinking about the cost disparity of living closer, just that the working experiences differ.

          I think this is the point being made, that the employees SHOULD be looking at the bigger picture of perks/drawbacks of each location before they complain.

          And OP specifically says, “Please note that anyone on my team would have an easy time getting a transfer to HQ if they wanted it.” Taking OP at their word, the employees really could transfer to HQ, if the employee is willing to move and change bosses (which circles back to the point that each employee needs to look at the bigger picture).

        3. Dido*

          Why exactly do you “find it very unlikely that no one is stopping them from working at HQ”? It’s very unkind of you to not take the LW at their word – per the rules – that anybody on their team could easily transfer there.

          1. not nice, don't care*

            Does easily transfer = easily commute? I could easily transfer to any branch campus for my job, but the 100 mile or so commute kinda makes that not a real option.

            1. Cmdrshprd*

              That is actually the point, I think.

              Not saying they could commute, but that of they really like the perks of HQ office so much they could transfer and move to HQ city and get the HQ perks. The point is that they likely wouldn’t do that because living/working in HQ city has certain drawbacks that they wouldn’t want to do that.

          2. darsynia*

            It’s three hours away, for starters. ‘Easily’ is very subjective here, but thanks for the accusation.

            1. BuildMeUp*

              Dido was responding to one sentence of your comment, a sentence that implies that the company or someone in it would prevent a transfer from the satellite office to HQ. That has nothing to do with the logistics of transferring.

              I’ve absolutely worked places where it’s easy to get an internal transfer to another location.

      2. Wilbur*

        It sounds like they need to be at the satellite office to perform their job role. Personally, I can’t just tell my boss I’m going to work out of a different office because those offices are allocated to different teams.

        If the benefits were switched and the satellite office was the ones getting the free/subsidized meals, employees at HQ that complained would be told that they get the perk of hybrid work employees at the satellite office can’t get due their job function. Excuses are made all of the time and it’s not that there’s no money for these benefits, it’s that HQ has decided not to allocate any to the satellite office. That’s fine if that’s how they want to handle it, but that doesn’t mean people have to like that choice.

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          “It sounds like they need to be at the satellite office to perform their job role. Personally, I can’t just tell my boss I’m going to work out of a different office because those offices are allocated to different teams.”

          That is not what a transfer usually means, by transferring the employees would get a “new” job or the “same” job based out of the HQ city but it would require working in person full time from HQ or maybe hybrid from HQ. this would all be approved by corporate/hr/bosses. sure you likely couldn’t just decide to work from HQ full time if you are assigned to satellite office. But based on what OP says it means employees could easily/easyish apply and get a transfer approved.

      3. ceiswyn*

        If the satellite office is only there for the convenience of the employees, then that argument makes sense. But it seems unlikely.

        It’s a lot more likely that the satellite office exists because the company needs an outpost in that city, or doesn’t have enough space at HQ for all its employees and needs some people to work elsewhere. Probably if literally everyone at the satellite office decided to work at HQ, that would go down like a lead balloon!

        Working at the satellite office isn’t some kind of perk, it’s just a location that happens to suit both parties. And in my experience the advantages of working at a satellite location are often outweighed by the general disadvantages of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I wouldn’t be surprised if what OP is seeing is actually less about the specific lunches and other activities, but more about a general feeling of marginalisation – not being considered in planning, missing out on projects, not being kept informed, all that kind of thing. I’d be tempted to dig a bit deeper and see if there’s something of more substance behind the grumbling.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      Based on LW’s framing, I’m guessing that the benefits of the satellite are things like free parking (v. $20/day city parking with no in/out), lower COL (which impacts pretty much everything), not dealing with city commuting traffic (average commute to my DC office is over an hour, assuming Metro is not on fire), and nicer office facilties.

      We had a satellite office in the suburb of a neighboring state for a while, and it was SO nice working from there – sub-15-minute commute, bigger/nicer office space and offices for more people, plentiful and affordable lunch options… I’d have happily given up my “free” pizza to get 2+ hours of my commuting time back each day. We did, however, give them the same beverage service and twice-weekly continental breakfast spread HQ got – and they still complained about HQ events/lunches.

      1. Hermione Danger*

        I’m curious about whether they are also paid less than their HQ counterparts based on location. In which case, the shorter commute and free parking are necessary and not perks.

      2. Warrior Princess Xena*

        Yeah, the perk is “not having to drive to/in Big City”. Which does bother some people more than others. If I had to drive to my local Big City I’d be adding 2 hours of commute time a day or having to relocate into a big city apartment, and that’s before the fact that driving in our local big city reduces me to tears on a regular basis (I don’t like city driving). I’m not in a satellite office, just a different branch, but I would give up a LOT of perks in order to not have to make a regular trip to Big City.

      3. Cicely*

        “I’d have happily given up my ‘free’ pizza to get 2+ hours of my commuting time back each day.”


        god I heard that :::applause:::

  3. Ahnon4Thisss*

    I feel like this is a situation where the grass is always greener on the other side. Sure, they could transfer to HQ, but then they’d lament about COL, workload, etc. They stay with you and, well you already know the complaints. Sometimes, people just like to complain about everything. It sucks to hear as a manager/boss, because it does sound like you’re doing what you can within the budget you have.

    I personally would reach out to HQ first to try and get the funds from them. There are certain perks that I believe your employees should receive if others in the company receive them, like the lunches.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      Very much this. Reading the OP, my reaction was that the benefits of the satellite office far outweigh those of the home office. The only major exception is the hybrid schedule, but taking the LW at their word, this is inherent in the job. If you aren’t willing to accept that, the course of action is clear.

      1. Clisby*

        Yes. There are fewer people, nicer cubicles (of course, private offices would outweigh everything), lower cost of living, no plethora of work events followed by games (No! No!) Other than hybrid schedules are routine, what are these people complaining about?

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          I’m with you on work events followed by games. Some people enjoy such things, but I would be wondering how soon I could sneak away. Their absence would be yet another perk of the satellite office.

    2. JAnon*

      This. I work remotely for a company in another state. That means that I, along with many coworkers, don’t get lunch provided twice a week, or breakfast once a week, or the endless supply of drinks and snacks in our various kitchens at HQ. But, I do get to escape for an appointment or walk in my neighborhood without letting anyone know where I am, I can sleep later, get things done around my home between tasks, etc. I would gladly give up the HQ perks for my situation and go down to the office once a quarter instead.

      1. WellRed*

        But in this case, the disgruntled workers still have to work in the office just a different office that is being treated as lesser than

        1. Clisby*

          Sounds to me like the satellite office workers have a better situation, and the HQ workers are being given perks to make up for being at HQ.

          1. Wilbur*

            There are other perks to working at HQ-likely more visibility than workers at the satellite office.

            1. Clisby*

              Entirely possible – but catered lunches and the like are not going to make up for that. If they want more visibility, the only way to get that is to transfer to HQ.

          2. Nicosloanica*

            And it sounds clear that the jobs at HQ could be done remotely, but the HQ is asking nicely for people to come in anyway – probably because of some “culture” stuff – which is a different thing than knowingly taking a job that must be done in-office as happened to the satellite employees. The HQ staff earns free lunch by willingly coming into the office to do work that could presumably be done more conveniently at home, because they’re willing to be responsive to the office’s desire for culture or whatever.

        2. Bee*

          Also, the people in the satellite office HAVE to come in while many of the people in the main office WFH at least part-time. I believe the OP that there’s a good reason for this, but I also see why it’s really annoying to feel like your counterparts have both sides of a good deal and you don’t get either.

          1. Clisby*

            But the counterparts don’t have both sides of a good deal. They have to live in a big urban area that costs more, their office conditions aren’t as good, there’s more traffic, possibly longer commutes? Catered food and work events that involve games cannot possibly make up for that.

            1. Bee*

              This may surprise you, but some people *prefer* living in big urban areas. (And it sounds like the hybrid schedules have already done a lot to make up for the traffic and commutes and cramped offices.)

              1. Stipes*

                Right — I’m someone who prefers living in a big urban area. For many reasons, most of which come down the the fact that things are more convenient and scale better when a lot of people are close together. And those same forces are why the HQ can probably afford to give its 1000 employees things that the satellite office can’t afford to give its 20. Lots of people happily sacrifice the advantages of big city life for the advantages of less crowded areas, though — and the staff of this satellite office apparently have the option to choose either.

                1. Bee*

                  There are pros and cons to each location, and they’ll come out differently for different people, true! But I don’t think it’s fair to say the inherent realities of living in a quieter area are “perks” offered by the company, any more than it’d be true if they were talking about the vibrancy of the restaurant scene near HQ as a perk. Nor do I think the fact that no one has decided it’s worthwhile to uproot their lives and move to another city three hours away for free lunches and an in-office gym means it’s unreasonable for them to be annoyed they get nothing. The company seems to be doing a lot to keep the HQ employees happy, and I think it’s only fair to throw a couple additional perks to the satellite office as well.

              2. Butterfly Counter*

                Right, but it sounds like only the employees that are in the HQ area *and* going into the office are getting the perks. Those living in the urban area and working remotely aren’t getting the free lunches if I’m reading OP correctly.

                So, it seems you can work in HQ and the benefits are lunches if you come into the office, plus other in-office perks *or* working remotely. Drawbacks are commuting if you are going in, higher COL, and still no lunches if working remotely.

                You can work in the satellite office where the benefits are lower COL, short commute, nicer offices, and independence. However, the drawbacks are no WFH and no lunches.

                I don’t know if this falls 100% equally, but it kind of does sound like if you pick the satellite, you come out ahead even without the lunches.

              3. Evelyn Carnahan*

                Absolutely. I live in a small city and while I like that my commute is only about 12 minutes, I miss living in a real city so much. At my job, one of the “benefits” of the location is that we’re “only 2 hours” from a larger city.

                If the perks of the satellite office are less traffic and lower cost of living, then the people at HQ also get these non-compensatory perks like public transportation and more cultural events.

                1. Bee*

                  It’s possible I’m sitting here arguing for the satellite office to get more perks because I’m like “but they don’t get the inherent benefits of living in a major city,” lol. Presumably that’s what they all like more, but!!

              4. Clisby*

                That doesn’t surprise me at all. But the people in the satellite office apparently have the choice to work at HQ, and they aren’t doing that. It’s a reasonable assumption that they don’t want to live in the big urban area.

                1. allathian*

                  Don’t want to or couldn’t afford to, even if they wanted to. Especially if moving also meant moving the whole family.

  4. Lacey*

    I’d probably be cranky too.

    Some of it is unavoidable. I’ve worked in the HQ of two different companies. There just are always going to be more things happening at HQ.

    And now that I work from home, I don’t mind missing out on those things.
    It’s a perk swap.

    But if I worked in another office & they were like, “Nope, there’s just NO budget to treat you well” I’d find that pretty obnoxious.

    1. L-squared*

      Exactly. Like, if everyone has to go in an office, there should be comparable perks to being there. I’m guessing the people at HQ just don’t care enough to do so.

      For example, the gym. If the gym is just a perk because the office happens to be in a gym, I don’t think you need to necessarily give everyone a gym membership. But I feel like there are definitely ways to work around the lunch situation. hell, I’ve had companies who worked around that type of thing. This one just doesn’t seem to care enough about the satellite office to do it.

    2. Rex Libris*

      On the other hand, I find working in a different town from the C-suite is often a perk of near infinite value.

      1. KHB*

        It is until it isn’t. It’s great when everything’s going smoothly and you can be left alone to get on with your work. But when you need more funding, or three people up and quit at the same time and you need to expedite the hiring process, and the C-suite brushes you off because they never see you and don’t know who you are or what you do, that’s less great.

    3. Polaris*

      Been there, done that, and yes, it was obnoxious because they REFUSED to tailor the email distribution lists, so that people in an office in Toronto or DC got the same email saying that lunches would be catered and no charge this week at HQ.

      “We can’t be arsed to offer the same perks in regional offices that we do at HQ”. Made even more irritating because they were all in similarly sized urban centers, so the COL differences weren’t even that stark.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        That seems so weird! When I worked in a company with multiple locations, we had site-specific distribution lists. Nobody else needed to know that yet another bank robbery has happened across the street from our campus. (Yes, this was an ongoing problem.)

        1. MigraineMonth*

          My organization has separate email lists for each location, but I’m on the mailing list for my department’s location even though I’ve been remote from day one. There doesn’t seem to be any way to get myself removed.

          So I get weekly updates on the apparently very cranky loading dock elevator that keeps going out-of-service and a notification whenever there’s a large protest planned at the nearby capital building, which is at least interesting.

    4. Nicosloanica*

      To be fair, as a cube dweller (I now work from home) I was often resentful even when I realized it was arguably unreasonable. There’s just a scarcity mindset when you’re trying to work out of a small noisy cube shoulder-to-shoulder with people and then you find out someone put out pizza on another floor but nobody told you in time so you don’t get any pizza. There’s a scarcity mindset about who’s getting the “better cubes” or obviously private offices; it’s a crabs-in-a-bucket mentality. That doesn’t necessarily mean this set up with the satellite office is unfair, or that OP has to fix it, but it might mean that the employees are a bit stressed generally and some quality of life stuff might be a nice gesture.

  5. CM*

    Seems like an ideal situation for forming a committee to decide on workplace perks. If there is some money budgeted, the committee could decide how to allocate it. The committee would also need to design a process for getting feedback and communicating their decisions.

  6. Gardener Lady*

    I’d expect that the first item would be advocating for a budget for perks for your office. That’s part of representing your team to head offices. Your staff is coming in to a physical office – they don’t have the perk of being fully remote, which would make many of these complaints moot. The first step is to advocate for more money for perks on a morale basis, and asking that the company chance the way that things are messaged about head office perks.

    The perks wont necessarily be the same, but if they aren’t equivalent there’s something wrong here.

    I would stop worrying about who is/isn’t complaining – these are problems. These are staff respect and retention measures. Staff are rightly going to be upset if they know people at a different location are getting substantially bigger perks.

    1. Cmdrshprd*

      “but if they aren’t equivalent there’s something wrong here…..getting substantially bigger perks.”

      I think part of the issue though is the cost to value might be different for a smaller office compared to a bigger office.

      HQ might provide say lunch that has a value of $15 per employee but since they are doing it for 50/100+ employees it only costs the company $7, but at a smaller office of 10 employees to provide the same $15 lunch benefit it might cost the company $10/12 per employee.

      I do think it would be unreasonable to expect the same benefit for something that might cost differently on an office by office location, but would be reasonable to ask for the same/similar amount spent, although not unreasonable for them to say no either.

      HQ employees get $7 per employee so satellite office gets $5-7.

      But I do think that perks of satellite office lower cost of living, less traffic etc…. Tend to make up for it, especially if employees have the option (easy enough per OP) to transfer to HQ. You want the HQ perks transfer there and deal with the HQ drawbacks.

      1. STG*

        Except the satellite office may very well already have salary adjustments to lower salaries as a result of the lower COL.

  7. Peanut Hamper*

    My HQ is four states away, in a much larger city, and has a much larger campus. And yep, they get more in the way of perks than we do out here in the sticks. And it doesn’t bother me in the least. I prefer the sticks to the big city.

    But it’s reasonable that it would bug some people. We have a pretty active EAC that plans a lot of activities that fit our site and budget. Having a bit of money set aside for this, however small, is key. So yep, push for a morale budget, but also encourage employees to take ownership of this themselves. An active EAC may be a good way to divert some of that angry energy into something positive. (Especially since you don’t have the time for it.)

  8. Cmdrshprd*

    “It sounds like they have all the responsibilities of working in office, but far less of the benefits of doing so.”

    They have the responsibilities of working in office but not the responsibilities of working in the HQ office, that is a distinct difference.

    “There are perks to working at our site instead of HQ (less traffic, lower cost of living, nicer cubicles, more daily independence, proximity to food trucks)”

    I work at the “main/HQ” (technically we don’t have a main office or HQ) but my office is the founding/biggest office and hold majority of admin staff. But other office in smaller cities get things like free parking, granted public transport is not a viable option in most other ones, our office does not. Monthly parking costs are about $300/400 a month.

    It couldn’t hurt to give a bit more perks to the satellite office, but you can’t expect for them to be the same or spend the same in a tit for tat manner. especially if people have the option to transfer to the HQ, you want the HQ benefits you have to deal with the HQ drawback.

    Lower cost of living and lower traffic is a big benefit.

    1. Busy Middle Manager*

      “they have all the responsibilities of working in office”

      This is an inadvertent knock on WFH. The whole point of WFH being permanent is you do the same amount and quality of work at home, there shouldn’t be added layers of responsibility for going into the office

      1. Cmdrshprd*

        I’m not sure I follow?

        HQ is not fully WFH, they are hybrid, and satellite office is fully in office.

        I think it depends, some jobs positions can be fully WFH and work out okay and others can’t.

        Some positions can be done mostly/entirely from home but just not quite to the same quality.

        Some companies have decided that the savings in office space spending is worth the trade off in slightly less/lower quality. Other companies have decided it isn’t worth it to them. Some jobs learning/training is easier when people are in the office together and you can pop in and ask questions, or talk around the water cooler.

        It can be done remotely it’s not impossible but it can be harder especially if it is partially a relationship based job.

        Then some positions can be done from home if someone else handles the in office responsibilities. I have a position that can be done 80/90% from home but certain duties require in office work.
        My job all the llama groomers rotate taking turns going in and handling the in office parts. But at least a few llama groomers are in the office everyday.

    2. The Terrible Tom*

      “Lower cost of living and lower traffic is a big benefit.”

      Yep. The workers are probably so habituated to it they don’t realize it.

      1. B*

        But they can vote with their feet, and they are still there, so on some level they are ok with the bargain.

        By all means, they should advocate for better treatment if they care to, but I am not sure there is a real problem for the organization here.

    3. UKDancer*

      I think I agree with you. Every location should have perks but they aren’t always exactly the same. My company has offices in a few cities in the UK and people can generally choose their location. The biggest office is in London and people based there are paid more because London is expensive. They get some perks regional staff don’t get. On the minus side, commutes are longer and property is a lot more expensive.

      We have offices in other cities, pay is slightly less but so is the cost of living. I’ve had 3 staff in my area transfer from London to regional offices (one to Glasgow, two to Manchester) because they want to be able to afford to buy somewhere to live which in London isn’t possible on our salaries. One of them now has a 15 minute commute to work and a much nicer flat than he’d get in London, on the minus side the office is much smaller and there’s no cafe in the building we’re renting office space in. In my company you decide where you want to work and take the perks in that location.

  9. Essentially Cheesy*

    I suppose this is similar to when I send out “come and get lunch extras” to the Office email. Of course there will be people that don’t even get (perfectly good) lunch extras because we have some staff that WFH. I would not blink an eye if any of our WFH office staff came in to take part in free lunch (although they would need to get here very quickly, I try to order appropriate amounts and often don’t have a ton extra).

    Caveat – the “commute” would be probably 15-20 minutes at the absolute maximum so that’s not a real concern here.

  10. Happy meal with extra happy*

    Different offices have different perks/benefits and different downsides, and I think it’s a bit precious to get too upset about that, even if if there are some budget disparities. I have some coworkers who work out of our downtown Manhattan office. They have a super nice building, a fancy cafeteria, etc. We have vending machines. However, I also have a twenty minute commute with zero tolls and free parking – that’s a massive perk for me.

    1. JAnon*

      Ahhh the zero tolls and free parking. When I started working form home, I felt like I got a raise based on the amount I was not spending on gas and city parking! People forget about the perks that aren’t handed to them

      1. Cubicles and Chimeras*

        I don’t know what it’s like in other locations but parking managed to go up in price after the pandemic downtown. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

  11. Busy Middle Manager*

    I thought the perks would be something more extravagant, if there is an actual uproar. Guesstimating here, but about 10% of people are going to use an onsite gym. Lunch? Maybe a third or half at most are going to eat in the office and not find an excuse to leave afterwards to get a break and some fresh air. Also does your office have someone to set up the food and clean up afterwards, and clean all the stuff for recycling, etc.?

    1. morethantired*

      Many AAM posts have shown people get weird about free food. Seems like the thing people are most likely to cause an uproar over.

      1. Clisby*

        I hadn’t thought of that, but yeah. I’ve never worked anywhere that I’d consider company-provided food as a “perk.”

  12. Busy Middle Manager*

    I feel like this is going to sound like a chatgpt compilation of every thread on lunches in the office, but here it goes anyway: does every really see office lunches as this huge perk? First off most get the same limited options like pizza and a generic pizzeria salad. Second, I want to go outside and get sunshine and air and coffee anyway, so it’s not really saving me time or effort. Third, I don’t feel like listening to coworkers chew, don’t feel like cleaning up after people. Fourth, unless your office has great ventilation, smelling a combination of salmon and chicken for three hours after a catered meal gets annoying. Lastly, there is the quality/freshness thing. Usually stuff is cold by the time it gets delivered and placed out.

    1. JustaTech*

      I think it really depends on a lot of factors.
      First there’s on-site cafe/cafeteria vs brought-in lunch. My husband’s company has on-site cafes that are 1) dedicated spaces and 2) have a wide variety of really good and mostly healthful foods.

      If you’re doing brought-in lunch, is there a dedicated food location that isn’t right next to anyone’s desk? That’s a lot nicer for everyone than trying to eat a salad standing at the reception desk. (We have this and it’s nice to keep the food smells and sounds in their own space.)

      And finally, the food itself: is it good? Does it meet everyone’s food needs (enough for everyone to eat the food that works for them)? Is there at least some variety?
      If it’s always mediocre pizza, then that’s not much of a perk. If it’s the amazing falafel and hummus place (oh they’re so good), then people will make a point to come in just to get it.

      (We also have a rooftop deck off our lunch room, so folks are most likely to get some sun on days when lunch is ordered in. Not fresh air, sadly, we’re right by the freeway.)

    2. Darlingpants*

      I’m not saying it’s logical, or healthy, but I would almost always rather have terrible free pizza than a decent salad I had to pay $8 for. Sometimes I will even eat free ramen + a free cheese stick instead of paying for my own lunch.
      Caveats: I was in grad school a long time, which has a free food hoarding culture, and our cafeteria where I have to pay for the food is mediocre so it’s not like I’m giving up a gourmet meal when I eat the bad pizza.

      1. Darlingpants*

        Also we work in an office/lab building that’s kind of in the middle of the woods, so there’s nowhere else to buy food without driving and nowhere to walk except hiking trails. There are tables outside in the summertime, but I can grab my terrible pizza from inside and eat it outside (as I did on Thursday).

  13. Cubicles and Chimeras*

    This could be my company.

    A few things:
    – If you’re having events big enough that they’re having games/food afterwards, there’s probably some kind of event planner at your HQ organizing all of this. Talk to them, see if they can organize for all other offices so it comes out of their budget.
    – You may need to talk to more people about the other offices being left out – HR, your equity people, the event planners, etc etc etc. Normalize thinking of it for them and they may be more apt to start planning to include you.
    – Speaking as someone a part of Business Resource Groups (BRGs), we’re mostly staffed out of the main office because that’s where the people are – although we have people in our other offices/remote. We would 1000% percent include our other offices in some food/whatever while they zoomed into things if someone would organize it for us. But it’s hard to do things for another office when we aren’t there, we don’t know when people are in, what dietary needs we need to be aware of, someone to pick up/whatever. We’ll pay for it if someone just takes the effort off our hands, so try there too. (I can confidently say as someone who is desperately trying to organize donuts and coffee across our offices, it’s the absolute worst if we don’t have someone taking point at each location.)

  14. I edit everything*

    I’m still vaguely resentful that my US office of a UK-based organization did not have a tea trolley that went around the building every afternoon, like in the main office.

  15. House On The Rock*

    Do the staff in the satellite office have the same salaries and benefits (meaning PTO, healthcare, retirement, etc.) as those at HQ? I’ve love to work remotely for a company in a high cost of living area and be paid the same as my peers who work there! That’s not insignificant and balances the free lunches and on site gym.

    Since it sounds like a lot of the agitation is coming from someone who used to work at HQ and misses what they had there, can OP talk to them about how they are sowing discontent based on an apples to oranges comparison? An open conversation about “your pay didn’t decrease when you transferred so what’s the real issue?” might be in order.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Yes, I always worked for money, so keeping the same pay as a higher COL HQ would be the biggest perk and morale-booster they could give me.

      1. House On The Rock*

        I’d see it as a perk to avoid the forced fun of activities and “free” lunches (because come on, you know there’s some weird food drama because there’s always weird food drama!). That plus a shorter commute and more low low key/nicer working environment sounds heavenly.

    2. E*

      I worked at the satellite office in almost the exact same situation. It was annoying that HQ got frequent events that were broadcasted out to all. They always invited us, but no I don’t want to drive 5-6 hours roundtrip to eat lunch. It was a little irritating to be reminded of all the extra stuff they got but that’s just part of being in a satellite office. What did make us upset (and was a factor in my accepting a new job) was that they frequently forgot about us entirely. Things like closing the main office on Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve but not letting us know we were supposed to be closed and off too; not sending notifications about IT updates (nothing like coming in and not being able to use the computer for a couple hours); forgetting to send updated staff lists when people left or were promoted; etc. Satellite offices will never be the same experience as working in HQ, but it is important that the employees feel like they are part of the same company.

  16. I should really pick a name*

    it is not reasonable to want everything employees there have

    Actually, it’s quite reasonable. They work for the same company, why shouldn’t they have the same perks?
    It’s just that is isn’t practical/possible to get them those things.

    You don’t want to go in this with the attitude that they shouldn’t want these things. Just be up front about why they can’t be provided. HQ has a larger budget for this, your location doesn’t.
    If you think of them as entitled whiners, there’s a good chance that that is going to come across.

    Also, be clear about what you’ve looked into. If you say you’ll look into it, after you do, let them know what you found out. Otherwise it may come across as you’re just saying you’ll look into it to keep them quiet.

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      The counter point is that if everyone should receive the same perks, then everyone should have the same downsides (reversing from OP’s letter, morr traffic, higher cost of living, worse cubicles, less daily independence, no proximity to food trucks).

      A company offers perks to offset the disadvantages.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        I disagree with that counterpoint.

        HQ offers a set of perks. That’s what the employees at the satellite office see. They don’t have the context of the background of why those particular perks came into play. They also don’t see the budgets that the different offices have access to.

        A company can offer perks because the perks make their employees happy. Not all perks exist solely to offset disadvantages.

        This doesn’t mean the satellite office needs to get these things, but it’s not off-base for them to wonder why one office gets them and the other doesn’t.

    2. Caliente Papillon*

      I find this comment interesting because it’s like I do and don’t disagree with you lol
      Sure it’s reasonable to want the same perks as others in the same company but then again is it? For instance You want an onsite gym just like HQ but is that reasonable? Probably not. My thing is why even waste your time wanting that when you can to planet fitness for $10 a month and BONUS not have to look at whatever coworker Joe is doing over there on the weight bench. (Meanwhile the majority of people who need a dang gym provided aren’t going to go but that’s another subject) I’m not going to talk about every point but, you see what I mean.
      Some thing’s are easier to provide which it sounds like LW does / is trying to do, but is the team satisfied with that? Of course not.

      1. I should really pick a name*

        To the specific point you brought up, the proposal in the letter was reasonable. They’re not asking for a gym to be built, they’re asking for a gym pass.
        The company may not be able to provide it, but I don’t see it as unreasonable for the employees to ask.

        Now a member of my team heard about the gym at HQ being remodeled, and asked if we could have a gym pass program

        1. JustaTech*

          This reminded me of something that happened the last time my company got bought: we got new HR people (we got *any* HR people) and they asked what we wanted.
          And we said, hey, we know we can’t have an on-site gym, but could we maybe have gym membership discounts? And if we can’t do that, can we have permission to do peer-led yoga classes during lunch?
          And a lot of similar very modest requests (“could we have a requests list for the vending machine?”).

          And the answer to all of these things, including the free things, was a resounding “NO!”

          While the CEO got a gym built at HQ.
          (We were also told that we had to have our holiday party on-site the year that our building was renovated, because we’d just gotten a new building. Uh, shouldn’t those be two separate budgets?)

  17. WellRed*

    I don’t love the framing of lower cost of living and proximity to food trucks as an office perk. The company isn’t providing that all it’s just a reality of that location. There absolutely should be a morale budget, even if they are not matching the perk and budget levels exactly. I wfh in a totally different state and prefer that to the frequent HQ fun but I do think it’d be polite for them to take us off the party invite list.

    1. WellRed*

      In fact I think the higher cost of living thing is a bit of a red herring. If HQ were still providing all the perks in a lower cost area?

    2. Bee*

      Right, I live in a VERY high COL area, voluntarily, because the benefits are just about worth it to me. There are trade-offs to both locations. But I would not consider the fact that I can walk to a Broadway show from my office to be a perk provided to me by the company unless they’re also buying the tickets.

    3. M2*

      If they get the same salary and she talks about equity in the letter than it is definitely a huge perk to live in a LCOL area.

      LW have you given them #s? They might think oh we can’t do that bc the cost is so expensive for HQ not realizing it would cost 1/5 of the cost because of your size.

      Find a couple catering companies or ask the two main grumbles to do it, ask them for actual quotes with the # of people at your office and have those #s ready for HQ. What does it cost to rent one of those food trucks for 90 minutes? We did at my former office and people were given 2 tickets so ransoms off the street didn’t use up our food truck food. Get that information and ask HQ for a budget so you can do a lunch once a month or something. Maybe one of those catering companies would give a discount if you used them every month for a year. Call or email and give solid #s for HQ.

    4. Baunilha*

      That’s exactly what I said above. And for the cost of living to be considered a perk, the salaries would have to be the same. A low cost of living on a lower salary isn’t really a benefit.

  18. a raging ball of distinction*

    You mention the cost of the onsite lunches is paid by the executive budget. I do think it’s worth you (or your appropriate grandboss) asking the executive/s to whom your team rolls up for a “morale budget.” If HQ is able to offer perks from a budget your location has no access to, to me it seems entirely fair to ask for at least some comparable perks from that same budget. You should be able to share some perks without pulling from your team’s budget — just as it sounds like your compatriots in HQ are able to do.

  19. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    Lower COL probably saves a lot more money than having company lunches.
    I’d regard the HQ perks as compensation for higher COL.

  20. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

    “Mofale budget” Hell, my morale is higher – and stress lower – when I don’t have to attend “morale-building” lunches and other team events

  21. mytummyhurtsbutimbeingbraveaboutit*

    All I read is: management will do anything it pay people more to get them to not WFH

    1. Bella Ridley*

      Did you know some jobs cannot be performed from home full-time, for a variety of reasons?

  22. Girlypop*

    Personally, we used to just change the accounting numbers so that it looked like we were in the central office, and that’s how we funded our perks in Satellite. We got away with it for five years until a new accountant caught on and then we all had to act dumb lol!

  23. Person from the Resume*

    This is tougher. This is not a “working from home” is the perk. LW you’re saying there’s perks of your location versus the HQ. But your employees have to come into the office every day which is not even true for the employees at the HQ. I would recommend you really make the case with HQ that your employees get some similar (although not exact) perks as those in HQ. Or equivalent amount of money per employee.

    OTOH the lunch delivery service at HQ’s state purpose is to encourage staff to come to the office when they could work from home. By nature of their role your employees must come into the office. So I see the logic that there no need for this incentive at your location.

    You have done a lot, maybe all you can. I would stop trying to convince people that your location is a perk but focus on the HQ executive budget funds the in HQ lunch and you location doesn’t have the budget. And keep telling the HQ this lowers morale at your location. At least if they would stop making a big deal out it your employees keep being reminded about what they’re missing out on.

  24. Lily Potter*

    I don’t see anything wrong with the initial questioning from staff – “Hey, HQ gets these perks, why don’t we?”. There is nothing wrong with asking about something that doesn’t seem right to you, and if no one asks about it, management can rightly think that no one notices or cares.

    BUT. Once someone has explained “HQ gets these perks, we don’t, that’s just the way it is, they don’t give me a budget for such things, sorry”, it’s time for the staff to STOP whining and sowing seeds of internal discontent. It’s just not a good professional thing to kvetch about with your co-workers once you’ve been told NO.

    I am assuming that there are all-staff meetings in an office of less than 10 people – if I were the LW I’d make “HQ Perks vs Our Perks” a topic at the next one, and lay out the situation. Explain what you’ve investigated, what can be done, and what cannot be done. End the presentation with something along the lines of “Much as I wish I could give you the same perks that HQ gets, I can’t. That’s a reality that’s not likely to change, and I’d appreciate your understanding. Complaining about it with others about this isn’t going to change the situation and is just going to further frustrate everyone, so I’d appreciate keeping the out-loud complaining to one another to a minimum.” And frankly, if after all that the internal complaining continued, I’d bring it up with the employee during a 1:1.

    Of course, the manager should continue to find little ways to provide employee perks within their budget even if they are not the SAME perks that HQ gets.

  25. HonorBox*

    I think there’s a difference between pizza brought in for lunch meetings or some games following some meetings and having perks like company-subsidized lunches and gym perks. While there may be some additional value in things like better cubes, easier commutes, lower COL, it is difficult to compare that when there are some actual monetary benefits to working at HQ, especially when the satellite staff needs to be in office more often than not.

    LW, while not easy, it would be worth making a case for some additional benefits that you can offer your team especially as it relates to equity. Their commute may be shorter and easier than those at HQ, but the satellite team HAS to be there. It is an actual benefit that HQ has a gym available to the staff there. It is an actual benefit that HQ employees get lunch paid for. While it might not be feasible where you are to have all of the same benefits, if you could subsidize gym memberships for your team (Planet Fitness is $10/month) or you could have some additional discretionary dollars to offer other perks, because maybe lunch and the gym aren’t key to your team. Or maybe there’s some additional salary that you can offer people since they’re paying for things others aren’t.

  26. Just Thinkin' Here*

    I see a lot of responses that the lower cost of living is a benefit of this satellite office. Most companies take that into account when determining pay scales – they often have geo-pay adjustments. So there really isn’t a benefit of lower cost of living if your salary is also lower to match.

    Taking this a step further, what types of jobs are these and what’s the salary? For someone making 100K at HQ, free lunch may be take-it-or-leave-it. But since these satellite folks HAVE to be onsight, are their salaries more like 35K a year? Assuming 2 weeks of vacation and a lunch is running around $10 a person. If that’s the case, a free lunch each day is a $50 a week savings * 50 weeks a year = $2,500 benefit – or a 7% raise.

    1. not nice, don't care*

      Just like AAM always says salaries shouldn’t be based on how many bills we have, salaries also shouldn’t be based on where we live. Maybe folks live in LCOL areas because they need the lower cost to pay off student debt or afford child care. Lower salaries/perks just mean more inequity. Pay for the work being done. Don’t jack the worker, or the perks.

      1. Just Thinkin' Here*

        The reality is that most large corporations do have geo-pay adjustments. Not sure how big this employer is, but if it’s a 3 hour drive – say HQ is in NYC and the satellite is in Albany, then I’d be shocked if the salaries were the same.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        Yes, they actually should. The cost of living where an employees lives (when they have to live near the office to go into the office) does impact the value of that employees work.

        1. JustaTech*

          The ways I’ve seen it at big tech companies is that there is a base salary for each level, and then there is a modifier for the people who actually live and go into the office in high COL places. If you don’t live in one of those places you get the base salary, but the company doesn’t reduce from the base if you move from say, Albany to Akron.

        2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          A lot of companies have pay bands for various roles, then a “HCOL city weighting” system where you get a certain percentage more based on how much more expensive the city is where you work. Then if you transfer to a cheaper place, you have the same salary but you lose the weighting.
          If it doesn’t work like that, it’s not fair on the HQ workers. They would probably prefer the money to the lunch delivery service.

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      We need to know whether HQ indeed pays more and if so whether it’s enough to offset the higher COL.
      Does any employer offer anything like a COL difference of 35k vs 100k for the same job at different offices?

      At any rate, I never wanted meals – that I probably wouldn’t chose myself – to be part of my compensation. I wanted actual money I could spend. So if the satellite office pay is indeed too low, I’d want to raise it to a fair level.

  27. Llama Llama*

    My work was a satellite office and while our COL was cheaper we were also paid significantly less. So that wasn’t a real perk.

    Our perks were obviously less and it was obvious that we were less even though we saved our company significant money, (beyond being a cheaper wage). Our CEO never even visited us even though he valued traveling to his sites. Eventually our work was deemed outsourcable and that is what they did. Surprise!! It was waaaaay harder to do our work than they ever estimated.

  28. Brain the Brian*

    Funnily enough, my company’s satellite offices have better perks than our HQ, because our CEO doesn’t see their perks in-person and declare them “wasteful.” This is a grass-is-always-greener situation, and I think the advice to generate buy-in for potential solutions is good.

  29. Agent Diane*

    There are two things you can be doing here, realistically, as you have two problems.

    1. Your HQ doesn’t want to spend budget on the morale of a satellite office. That sucks. Make the case again to HQ. There are several ideas from other commenters. At the very least, HQ can stump for a pizza delivery given everyone has to work on site. I was the officer in charge at a satellite office and we’d do that on lunchtimes for anyone working between Christmas and New Year.

    2. You have someone who is unhappy after relocating for…reasons…and who is creating disgruntlement in others. Talk, as casually as possible, with them. How’s their commute compared to before? How are they finding the COL and quality of life out here? Keep dripping the antidote to their poison. Ideally, you want them to dial down the discontent as much as feasible, and make sure they know they can always transfer back to HQ.

  30. OP*

    LW here. Our site is paid on the same pay scale as HQ which is great.

    Our roles require us to be on-site to operate equipment and interact with clients to generate billable hours. The on-site expectation is made very clear during hiring. The amount of tasks appropriate for WFH is only a small portion of our work, but I try to let staff WFH when it helps them not need to take PTO. There are identical positions to ours at HQ who are also are required to be on-site, but that is only about 20% of staff at HQ. All business groups are located at HQ (Finance, Procurement, HR, Legal, Marketing, etc.) and they are all hybrid (for now).

    For each request I get about a perk, I have to spend time chasing down information and investigating local options when I could be doing billable tasks. Sometimes this works out – The company has a pass that works with one gym in our area. But most of the time, it doesn’t due to size of our office, lack of equivalent businesses in our area, or need to be on-site. The staff don’t seem upset when I explain why a perk won’t work here, but then they will ask for something else. One staff member told me that they figure it doesn’t hurt to ask. Maybe I just need to wait to see if the request comes up a second time. Please note that I rarely say no to their requests for new equipment, training, or business travel, but we are being asked to hold budgets flat.

    The transfer from HQ talks about being very happy with the move to our office, but they are a social personality who misses friends and attending the events with 200 people.

    1. Lily Potter*

      One staff member told me that they figure it doesn’t hurt to ask.

      I would agree that it doesn’t hurt to ask – ONCE. It sounds like this is a continued pestering though. As I noted above, you really should just shut this down with one meeting and be done with it. This thread has gone off the rails in multiple directions about equity, HCL vs LCL, WFH, making things “fair”, blah blah blah. What it comes down to is that you need to shut down the complaining by explaining the situation one time and then being done with it. Future requests for perks needs to be met with “as I explained at our team meeting last week/year/March, HQ decides on our perks package and they haven’t extended this one to our office.” Period. Discussion done. Don’t rationalize further, or the situation will not change.

      1. Antilles*

        I agree with this. It really feels like on the employee side, they’re not at all aware of everything that goes into a HQ gets catered lunches, why not us request – nor do they recognize the reality that the numbers are what they are. And probably also they’re viewing these as one-off requests, rather than an overall pattern.

        One clear broad explanation of “this is what’s up” can likely really help shut this down and cut down on your time investment.

  31. Caramellow*

    I worked in a start up satellite arm of a storied regional company. HQ employees got subsidized breakfast and lunch, 24 hour gym membership, all day free beverages, package pick up, dry cleaning, banking on site and a list too long to mention. In our satellite office we got a water fountain. HQ employees had casual dress, we did not. The list went on.

    What changed everything was employee satisfaction surveys. The ones from our unit were abysmal. The CEO started overriding our VP on morale issues and holding meetings with us. It became vastly more equitable after that.

  32. nikkole82*

    If these offices are 3 HOURS away I’m not sure how the commute, parking and etc are comparable? if someone already lives in either city they are applying for a job where they live and I’m sure the other places of employment WHERE THEY LIVE have similar parking and office situations. It’s not like the offices are 30 minutes apart, that might be a valid argument considering a person is more likely to have a choice in the office in which they work. I just don’t see how lighter traffic is a ‘benefit’ to me when that’s just the way that the city live in operates, that’s not a ‘perk’,

  33. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    If you asked me “where do you think we could get the money from?” I’d say, corporate finances are not my job, but if there’s money for the HQ employees to have free meals delivered, there’s money for us too. If there isn’t enough for all employees to have this perk, the company shouldn’t offer it to anyone.
    I find it particularly unfair to say that the satellite employees get to live in a low cost of living area. I live in the highest cost of living area in my country and there’s a good reason why it’s the highest: there are loads of amenities: there are theatres and cinemas and the finest art museums and all sorts of other museums and beautiful architecture and great shops and the finest restaurants, cafés and bars galore, there are world-class universities and schools, all sorts of educational and cultural opportunities. And one of the best public transport systems in the world, and bike lanes everywhere. Those living where it’s a whole lot cheaper have to come to the city to get the same opportunities.
    Not everyone wants to take advantage of these opportunities, of course. Those who want to just work then go home, would be better off living in a lower cost of living area. But you pay for what you get, and usually salaries will be higher in high cost of living areas. They certainly are here!

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