Learning & Development

Top Cities for Remote Work in the US

A few years ago, companies were often evaluated by employees and potential employees based on the attractiveness of the workplace. Silicon Valley tech company campuses often scored high on such measures with extensive perks like vast green spaces, fun leisure activities and employer-provided childcare.

Today, though, as millions of workers now find themselves in indefinite remote work situations thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lens through which these employees think about favorable workplaces has necessarily shifted and is now more focused on what geographic locations they choose to live in (and work).

Geography Matters

Recent data from IT Service Management company SysAid considered which US locations were best for remote work, and determined that Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts and Faribault-Northfield, Minnesota were at the top of the list.

“Vineyard Haven in Massachusetts is the best place in the US for remote work, where 17.7% of employees aged 16 and over reported working from home,” according to SysAid. “Faribault-Northfield, Minnesota, and Truckee-Grass Valley, California, follow closely behind, with 16.6% and 16.2% remote workers, respectively.”

While northern cities topped the list, remote work options were less favorable in the South. “Conversely, less than 1% of the jobs in Dumas (Texas), Atmore (Alabama), Magnolia (Arkansas) and Blytheville (Arkansas) are home-based,” according to SysAid. “These are the worst cities in the US for offering remote employment opportunities.”

Remote Work Most Common in Urban Areas 

The study analyzed data from the latest American Community Survey for 938 micropolitan and metropolitan areas in the US between 2015 and 2020 for civilian workers aged 16 and above. The researchers discovered that, on average, only 5.35% jobs in US cities were remote, including in the first year of the pandemic. However, employers in urban areas still took a significant leap towards remote working.

Compared to the five-year period before the pandemic, 23.84% more people switched to working from home. This represents five times more than the previous period, when the yearly pace at which people were switching to remote working was of 4.67%.

DC, Colorado, and Oregon are the top three most remote-friendly US jurisdictions, with 12.3%, 10.8% and 9.4% remote workers respectively. Meanwhile, the worst states on record for adopting remote working are Mississippi (3%), Puerto Rico (3.1%) and Louisiana (4.2%).

Companies looking to hire remote workers may want to consider which regions are more suited to remote work in their recruitment efforts.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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