By Neale Orinick
April 30, 2021
The work from home craze was already on the rise prior to the 2020 worldwide pandemic forcing millions of Americans to adopt it as a lifestyle. For some, it was a fairly smooth transition. For others, not so much.
The ability to work from home efficiently in large part depends on what city and state you live in. Online publications like WalletHub, Money, and PC Magazine have examined states and cities that are most favorable in terms of fostering work from home locales. Criteria used in these studies included access to affordable broadband internet, cybersecurity, types of jobs that can be done from home, housing accommodations and overall quality of life for residents.
The states and cities that emerged at the top of these lists might, in fact, surprise you:
So here are the top five states to work from home according to WalletHub:
• North Carolina
• New Hampshire
For starters, all of these states offer far reaching and reliable broadband internet to most of their residents at an affordable cost. They also boast good cybersecurity for online work. And most people, with jobs they can do from home, live in a house with two or more bedrooms, meaning they have room to work, if you will.
Not surprisingly, states like Alaska and Hawaii ranked at the bottom for ease of working at home. Here, sparsely populated landscapes and small tropical islands often lack high-speed internet access and appropriate housing options and jobs that align with the emerging work from home trend.
The Best “Home Work” Cities
In keeping with the entire state, Chattanooga, Tennessee is a top work from home city. Literally known as “Gig City” since the 2010 rollout of a new city-wide fiber network and long before the COVID crisis, Chattanooga has been expending a lot of effort to attract companies and workers in the technology space. With a government-friendly business environment, affordable real estate, and plenty of broadband to go around, it’s easy to work from home and enjoy a great quality of life there.
Another work from home friendly city is quiet and pedestrian friendly Reston, Virginia. Even before the pandemic sent people into their home offices daily, Reston already saw around 6% of its residents working from home compared to the national average of around 4%. Lots of parks within walking distance of affordably priced homes with reliable broadband make this an ideal place for people to live, work and play.
Some other cities that made Money magazine’s top places around the country to live and work from home are:
• Lower Merion, PA
• Ann Arbor, MI
• Parker, CO
• Cedar Park, TX
• Roseville, CA
Criteria used to determine a good work-from-home city by Money include low crime rates, plenty of homes under $600k with reliable internet service, and an abundance of parks, restaurants, and health facilities.
“For each place we considered: cost of living, quality of life, mental and physical health factors, diversity, amenities, education, housing market, and economic health.” 2020 Best Places To Live Methodology
A common theme for most of these work-from-home friendly cities and states has been their investment in upgraded broadband technology, a trend that occurred long before Covid-19 arrived. Many of these communities were already designed to encourage people to live where they could also work without a long commute, offering amenities like good schools, health facilities, lots of public parks, restaurants, and other entertainment venues.
With a growing percentage of today’s American workforce voicing a desire to continue to work from home at least part of the time post-pandemic, look for more communities to begin making changes to accommodate the WFH lifestyle. This will include expanding their broadband offering, mixing up housing to attract more levels of income earners and incentives to entice remote workers to move in and boost their economy.
The desire to work from home will undoubtedly change the way new communities are built and more states, cities, and towns will begin infrastructure changes to accommodate those workers.