Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 6% of jobholders in the United States were remote, and around 75% had never worked from home. The pandemic has played a significant role in increasing the amount of remote workers, where many have decided that this is their preferred mode. A survey conducted by Upwork in October 2020 revealed that around 14 million to 23 million people plan to move, many of them from the largest cities in America. This remote-worker migration is attributed to many companies deciding to remain remote or reducing their office size. Another reason for individuals to uproot from big cities is to settle in less-populated regions, particularly those with lower housing expenses. Cities such as Bend, Oregon; Burlington, Vermont; and Butte, Montana have become Zoom Towns. This concept of a Zoom Town has also expanded globally, with Western Australia and Somerset, England being viable options for workers as well. For many of these individuals, the only requirement is a reliable Wi-FI connection!
At the beginning of quarantine, where millions of people were forced to vacate their offices and find alternatives in their own homes, many took a hard look at their homes and workspaces and were not happy with what they saw. Why pay more for a two-bedroom apartment when you can have a four-bedroom house for the same price? Why not have the backyard you dreamed up, rather than only a balcony?
Before COVID-19, the cost of living in the most expensive cities in the United States had already deterred many potential employees, but the concept of being able to work for these companies without factoring in the cost of living was enticing for many. For many soon-to-be former city dwellers, the Zoom Town housing market is pleasing, particularly due to its proximity to activities this soon-to-be-former city-dweller enjoys, such as golfing, hiking, or fishing. Moreover, many Zoom Towns are attracting tourists to their location, making this a good opportunity for employees to make a couple of extra bucks by turning a house into a vacation rental.
But firms in these cities are making their case for the reasons why this migration should not occur. The job recruiting site Glassdoor released a calculator suggesting that geography can impact pay in the long run. For example, software engineers leaving San Francisco and New York City could face approximately a 24.8% or a 12.2% decrease in pay, respectively.
Where are remote workers flocking?
Known as “amenity migration,” remote workers are moving to places for recreational purposes, such as a location close to a national park or ski resort. Two of these cities – Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Jackson, Wyoming – are also attractive due to their population of less than 25,000.
What does this mean for the cities attracting remote workers/technical writers?
Although these communities are viable options now, if too many people begin to live in these areas, these towns will have “big-city problems,” such as infrastructure constraints, unaffordability, and traffic congestion. These gateway communities are most likely experiencing planning and development challenges that are attributed to population growth, rather than tourism. In addition to this, these small towns are trying to preserve their “small-town” atmosphere, while also ensuring that they can accommodate the need for more housing.
To avoid this, Zoom Towns need adequate infrastructure, possibly by increasing taxes. But management can also do their part by assisting their employees with this transition. While many companies can do this financially, managers can also lend a helping hand by opening up “hubs” in these Zoom Towns. This hub would provide a corporate culture that supports collaboration and communication.
But the most important thing is for employers and employees to work together to find what best suits both their needs.
If you or your firm needs assistance with moving to remote work, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager and remote technical writers are here to help. Our remote technical writers will be there to lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Alexa Do