We’ve seen it play out over the last two years: The pandemic has resulted in quarantines, lockdowns and self-imposed isolation, leading to more people working from home than ever before. A new Pew Research Center survey shows that before the pandemic, only 1 in 5 people worked from home all or most of the time. Now, 71% of those workers surveyed are doing their job from home all or most of the time, and they’re learning that working remotely opens a world of possibilities.
The dream of living anywhere
For some people, not being tied to a company office means living in a location they love. Anywhere can be home when there’s no commute to the workplace. For others, it means the opportunity to live in two locations. Just imagine—living in Minnesota for part of the year, then renting a place in Florida for the winter, all while remotely working for a company located in Manhattan. You’d enjoy year-round mild weather and make NYC wages without dealing with the city’s high cost of living.
(See our companion article, “Working From Where?,” to find out which cities have had the biggest influx of remote workers.)
WFW: The benefits
There are lots of advantages to not being tied to a specific place by your job. Here are a few:
- Competing for the highest-paying jobs at a larger number of companies.
- Settling in an area with a lower cost of living.
- Living near family.
- Being able to relocate with a spouse who has a job that involves frequent moves.
- Living in a place you enjoy.
- Setting your own schedule.
WFW: The considerations
Companies of all sizes are making it possible for employees to live where they want, but there are things to keep in mind before you pack your bags:
- There could be time zone issues. Living on the West Coast and working for a company on the East Coast means you may have less time to collaborate during work hours. You may even have some teleconferences that are very early—or very late—in the day.
- Working far from the office means you’ll be counting on technology to keep you connected. You’ll need reliable high-speed internet service, and you may have to be your own IT support when technical problems arise.
- Isolation could become a problem. You might also find it more difficult to collaborate with your co-workers.
- When there’s no need to be physically located near the office, you’ll compete for jobs with a much larger pool of equally qualified candidates.
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Will work ever be the same?
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of living in more than one location, or somewhere exotic, or near family and friends. Today, more companies than ever are making it possible. And while a significant shift to a remote workforce could have a profound impact on urban economies, transportation and more, for now the idea of living someplace totally untethered to a central workplace has a very strong appeal. After all, who doesn’t want to have a job that lets them live and work from anywhere?