2022’s Best Cities for Remote Workers

Looking over the shoulder of a remote worker while they are on their laptop, in a digital meeting with their coworkers

If you could work from anywhere — many more of us can in the wake of pandemic workplace changes — where would you choose to live?

More importantly, which cities set up remote workers for success — and which ones lack the internet backbone to support all those Zoom calls and a high-quality life?

To help you winnow your shortlist, LawnStarter ranked nearly 200 of the largest U.S. cities on remote worker-friendliness.

We considered remote job opportunities, internet connectivity, cost of living, and availability of personal workspace, among 20 total factors.

Check out our ranking below, followed by some highlights, lowlights, and expert insights on adapting to a telecommuter lifestyle.

Table of Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Ask the Experts
  4. Methodology
  5. Why This Study Matters

OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScoreOpportunity RankEarning Potential RankWorkspace RankConnectivity RankCosts RankSafety RankConvenience Rank
1Frisco, TX60.67197196107793
2Naperville, IL59.671455130133114
3Dallas, TX59.63127014373113014
4Arlington, TX59.1422100983178993
5Atlanta, GA58.98183327211161611
6Austin, TX58.33473954128311714
7Tampa, FL58.1668651062573114
8Plano, TX57.361615671921893
9Raleigh, NC56.78675319810429158
10Cincinnati, OH56.159816018422150158
11Houston, TX55.90557510835816114
12Nashville, TN55.72788059144316193
13Cary, NC55.2366124611202158
14Chicago, IL55.06959161381121101
15Denver, CO54.945243481612113014
16Salt Lake City, UT54.91836232610518693
17Charlotte, NC54.69705246999117158
18San Antonio, TX54.5093140140151315093
19Arlington, VA54.3676122751341214
20Seattle, WA54.104913281114415093
21Durham, NC53.826986411878142158
21Orlando, FL53.82811157437491611
23Kansas City, MO53.4989117123162150158
24Louisville, KY53.4212012090234514214
25Irving, TX53.35117114457236993
26Spokane, WA53.2715214723432817414
27Minneapolis, MN53.194460971312216193
28Overland Park, KS53.0790212761112393
29Fort Wayne, IN52.731611594419248293
30McKinney, TX52.527423813768493
31Phoenix, AZ52.513294147261251101
32Indianapolis, IN52.1185151120322715093
33St. Louis, MO51.6777163892247186158
34Greensboro, NC51.66140133652060130158
35Birmingham, AL51.6213918570273718614
36St. Petersburg, FL51.388091124454810793
37Little Rock, AR51.271447752495418614
38Omaha, NE51.0513284383186117158
39Gilbert, AZ50.8643222079139814
40Olathe, KS50.7194351073891193
41Cleveland, OH50.3384193583929174158
42Garland, TX50.321311016066307393
43Oklahoma City, OK50.301181041273339142158
44Lexington, KY50.2816382977699414
45Columbus, OH50.1686143107465911093
46Memphis, TN50.1113116811151618693
47Pittsburgh, PA50.04991251663529414
48Albuquerque, NM50.001191281225102186158
48Miami, FL50.0063154166369613014
50Alexandria, VA49.8481088941461514
51Bellevue, WA49.564823781617393
52Akron, OH49.51108184964720117158
53Milwaukee, WI49.391031771352466110158
53Pembroke Pines, FL49.39536424811013193
55Las Vegas, NV49.25959994525889158
56Des Moines, IA49.02138145167308415014
57Jersey City, NJ48.25236120721555214
58Yonkers, NY48.1845810160159893
59Mesquite, TX47.9727152132982511793
60Philadelphia, PA47.8646150142647010714
61Cape Coral, FL47.841491097710180614
62Murfreesboro, TN47.80399742995189158
63Newark, NJ47.781188131111414893
63Grand Prairie, TX47.781790130112194693
65Huntsville, AL47.331519211896115093
66Clarksville, TN47.3119015891581494158
67Scottsdale, AZ47.27341171711453114
68Tucson, AZ47.17133175875011011714
69Lincoln, NE46.9017311114746786158
70Paterson, NJ46.875179139671287393
71New York, NY46.79338193411703114
72Detroit, MI46.71651941535334174158
72Aurora, IL46.71915112913575814
74Chandler, AZ46.394231441151403914
75Vancouver, WA46.35759555799410793
76Thornton, CO46.27505469901178993
77Peoria, AZ46.194155341141372914
78Fort Worth, TX46.18878312697368693
79El Paso, TX46.15147164149103112393
79Boise City, ID46.151358721851192093
81Washington, DC46.13614868616016114
82Tulsa, OK46.0938123921233817493
83Knoxville, TN45.98143173291161015093
84New Orleans, LA45.701361311594810617493
85Hollywood, FL45.695110316595657393
86Jacksonville, FL45.67106119851322111014
87Kansas City, KS45.6688178128568115093
88Fort Lauderdale, FL44.9358411101268216193
89Henderson, NV44.889740301449023158
90Chesapeake, VA44.681164522931306793
90Los Angeles, CA44.68204818029176861
92Anaheim, CA44.592456184101716214
93Aurora, CO44.545688105991089793
94Grand Rapids, MI44.5114215779110445693
95Sacramento, CA44.47100811413415311714
96Virginia Beach, VA44.3312546311131292093
97Chattanooga, TN44.04155144406832186158
98Newport News, VA44.031241487391918293
99McAllen, TX43.9416414616216435614
100Rockford, IL43.69169170621622613014
101Richmond, VA43.39109113611069813093
102Providence, RI43.31130137636511597158
103Baton Rouge, LA43.23156139551245417493
104San Francisco, CA43.18304155171941741
105Madison, WI43.1612668331341136993
106Fresno, CA43.131571421722814211014
107San Diego, CA43.04762716344182481
108Buffalo, NY43.03101183261229713093
109Savannah, GA42.781131656717572621
110Winston-Salem, NC42.7714113411610240161158
111Baltimore, MD42.7533122711838717414
112Port St. Lucie, FL42.7017912163161883158
112Sioux Falls, SD42.701709836150159793
114Mesa, AZ42.67361051251521233914
115Reno, NV42.631508936172736293
116Tacoma, WA42.43117968011910317493
117Syracuse, NY42.41174182511177711793
118San Jose, CA42.3557816940190731
119St. Paul, MN42.19449315187127130158
120Riverside, CA42.091217217551589793
121Fort Collins, CO42.03170661714511456158
122Colorado Springs, CO41.92148731511811811793
123Corpus Christi, TX41.781841161451051813093
124Laredo, TX41.77192161183163231158
125Killeen, TX41.76182171113180125693
126Pasadena, TX41.756213217614848293
127Midland, TX41.5618624100191163993
128Portland, OR41.5173494383143174158
129Dayton, OH41.46127192601549150158
130Fremont, CA41.44403171421923614
131Hialeah, FL41.4161191185107634693
132Lubbock, TX41.3618713678166716114
133Glendale, AZ41.2037129117170131971
134Long Beach, CA41.101569179541627314
135Shreveport, LA40.921831671021694116114
136Norfolk, VA40.89115126761739311793
137Wichita, KS40.82146135501427917414
138Macon, GA40.79184166931814214214
139Huntington Beach, CA40.68641666551873914
140Tallahassee, FL40.56153155811923315014
141Jackson, MS40.3215818011212556161158
142Fayetteville, NC40.251801748316053130158
143Montgomery, AL40.14177153471357414293
144Springfield, MA40.001141811331271099793
145Anchorage, AK39.981882668157124161158
146Fullerton, CA39.9721321461081686214
147Rancho Cucamonga, CA39.911122899591733914
148Amarillo, TX39.76191138115193114214
149Mobile, AL39.7317216953141769793
150Metairie, LA39.6713479136138857393
151Tempe, AZ39.61351128218513514214
152Columbus, GA39.49176156951319513014
153Rochester, NY39.471541874815110011793
154Worcester, MA39.36137149751551266793
155North Las Vegas, NV38.98961271371464969158
156Joliet, IL38.939285148165642714
157Augusta, GA38.25168176156190469714
158Toledo, OH38.161611908418635130158
159Fontana, CA38.0512263177691541814
160Torrance, CA37.7729191031281863914
161Oakland, CA37.7128291537018418614
162Pasadena, CA37.4925181191331855414
163Garden Grove, CA37.393167186871635614
164Elk Grove, CA37.3710225351401802314
165Hayward, CA37.2010341811091839714
166Salem, OR37.09159124109120138117158
167Corona, CA36.957237721581663614
168Glendale, CA36.6523501381471811714
169Boston, MA35.8826301741881575614
170Santa Clarita, CA35.7810417118182177414
171Bridgeport, CT35.73110162152184132391
172Pomona, CA35.7282114190841519714
173Eugene, OR35.6416513057174136110158
174Irvine, CA35.45719251761911214
175Orange, CA35.1359201041431891414
176Bakersfield, CA34.931787616414914714214
177Ontario, CA34.10105107182621746214
178Springfield, MO34.091601893919471194158
179Brownsville, TX34.0418118618715958293
180Chula Vista, CA33.6979421701681721514
180Sunnyvale, CA33.69541130177193481
182Santa Rosa, CA33.59175471341391793614
183Moreno Valley, CA33.32128101178821687314
184Palmdale, CA33.211931021571791492014
185Oxnard, CA33.07145611891041654814
186Oceanside, CA32.61123571501561755414
187Stockton, CA31.8916611816816715616114
188San Bernardino, CA31.7012917219112914817414
189Escondido, CA31.60111741731871672714
190Santa Ana, CA31.5960781941211645214
191Modesto, CA31.5116710615817815011714
192Lancaster, CA31.131941411131891527314
193Honolulu, HI29.9010744188921888914
194Salinas, CA27.93189108192153178691
infographic depicting various statistics for the best cities for remote workers

Highlights and Lowlights

Don’t Mess with Texas

The Lone Star State dominates our ranking of the Best Cities for Remote Workers, hardly a surprise, considering it’s the third fastest-growing state in America.

Texas claims half of our top 10 cities and seven of our top 20, including Frisco at No. 1 and every major Texas city.

Texas cities — three of them in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex — earned many of the highest scores in the Opportunity and Connectivity categories. The lack of a state income tax also means more take-home money. 

Go Big and Go Work from Home

Our ranking shows that large cities tend to be safe bets for remote workers, despite the trend that claustrophobic remote workers are flocking to the suburbs for more space.

Eight of our top 10 cities have at least 250,000 residents, while the other two are mid-size cities with populations between 100,000 and 250,000.

Suburbs might offer more breathing room and mainstream amenities, but bigger cities boast more job opportunities and options in general.

Not All That Glitters Is Gold

If you’re a California-dreaming remote worker, wake up. The Golden State monopolizes the bottom of our ranking. Nine out of the worst 10 are in California, including Salinas in last place. Los Angeles is tops among California cities at No. 90 (tied with Chesapeake, Virginia).

High on costs and low on good workplace factors like available personal space, California may be better for visiting than telecommuting.

Ask The Experts

Working remotely became the norm for millions more Americans overnight during the pandemic. But telecommuting is new territory for many, forcing both organizations and employees to adjust. We reached out to experts for guidance on transitioning to remote work.

  1. What less obvious advantages are there, if any, to working remotely?
  2. Beyond traditional benefits — insurance coverage, paid time off, retirement contribution matches — that many employers offer, what non-traditional perks should companies consider giving workers in light of the challenges of working remotely?
  3. As companies move away from working in traditional offices to remote environments, local economies are likely to be impacted by lower tax revenues from declining commercial real estate and public transit. Where should cities look to replace the lost revenue in both the short and long terms?
  4. What are the three most effective ways for remote workers to stay creative?
  5. Remote work can sometimes heighten feelings of isolation and stress. How can remote workers most effectively manage their mental health during the pandemic?
  6. There are many sources offering advice on how to effectively work remotely. What’s the best way to filter “good” advice and tune out the noise?
M. Gloria González Mora​les, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University
Raffaella Sadun
Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Keaton Fletcher
Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech, School of Psychology
Katerina Bezrukova, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Organization and Human Resources Department, University at Buffalo, School of Management
Peter Cappelli
George W. Taylor Professor of Management, Director – Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School, and Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania
M. Gloria González Mora​les, PhD
Associate Professor, Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences, Claremont Graduate University

1. What less obvious advantages are there, if any, to working remotely?

The obvious ones are related to the time we spent commuting to work or juggling different activities in different places (e.g., child care).

We can now do most of our activities from home, diminishing the time we use in moving from one place to the other.

Time is one of those valuable resources that are finite, and this is one of the advantages of flexible work arrangements: People have more control over the structure and management of their time.

For people whose circadian rhythms are not in sync with the 9-to-5 arrangement of our offices and lives, working remotely, and given that they have autonomy to structure their day, provides them with opportunities to adjust their working times to when they are more alert or productive.

Similarly, people who have caregiving responsibilities (e.g., children, elderly relatives, sick friends…) may have more flexibility when organizing and managing all their paid and non-paid work, including household chores.

The problem is that the situation of forced remote work that we are living in affects and drains other resources. We may not have dedicated space for work, or adequate equipment and furniture.

Moreover the lack of physical boundaries between work and personal life requires that people invest more effort and intention on how to manage the now virtual, and psychological boundary, between paid work and other activities.

The research that we are developing at the Worker Wellbeing lab suggests that people are trying to figure out the transition from a sequential and linear home-work-home daily schedule, to a parallel non-sequential structure of our lives in which we are doing laundry while listening to a Zoom meeting, or taking a longer lunch break to help children with online schooling.

Actually, we are finding that people are taking more breaks to manage all their aspects of their lives, but also the paid working time is extended longer than 9 to 5.

2. Beyond traditional benefits — insurance coverage, paid time off, retirement contribution matches — that many employers offer, what non-traditional perks should companies consider giving workers in light of the challenges of working remotely? 

Companies should have managers and supervisors that support their employees.

While working remotely, it is extra important that workers perceive that they have all the resources they need to their job. Perceived organizational support is the overall perception that employees form about how much their employers care for their well-being and value their contributions.

Therefore, supervisors and managers should provide their team members with resources and autonomy to manage those resources.

More importantly, for employees to feel supported and valued, managers should focus on building trust with and within the members of their teams.

In addition, we know that this pandemic has affected disproportionally minorities and women because of various reasons. Tangible resources for that can support these employees to manage the extra challenges of the situation (e.g., lack of child care or having household members who are essential workers) are necessary.

These resources are diverse and depend on the situation of each individual, type of company or industry. Having conversations and communication channels that can be used by employees to use their voice in a psychologically safe manner to explain their needs, and following up on these ideas, is key during these times.

It also comes back full circle to the idea of employees feeling that they are supported by their company, and more likely to reciprocate with engagement, productivity and citizenship behaviors.

3. What are the three most effective ways for remote workers to stay creative?

Taking time to reflect on what are you doing, why are you doing it and what do you need to do things in a way that you feel more engaged, satisfied and happy.

4. Remote work can sometimes heighten feelings of isolation and stress. How can remote workers most effectively manage their mental health during the pandemic?

I would suggest that employees use the resources available to them. The employee assistant programs of most companies have counseling and therapy sessions, and they are set up so the employer doesn’t know who is using it.

In terms of active management of their new remote life I would suggest that remote workers intentionally think about what works for them and what doesn’t and craft their new jobs according to their new demands and their new resources.

Job crafting is a technique that helps us figure out what works in our jobs, what doesn’t, and how we can modify our jobs to maximize resources and minimize demand according to our goals and interests.

After reflecting on what we want to accomplish in the short and long term, and what are the aspects of our jobs and lives that make us engaged and satisfied, we start crafting our new remote working life according to that.

For example, we can:

  1. Physically change things and space (e.g., request from the company to buy a good office chair for the home office).
  2. Craft our work relationships (e.g., taking advantage of not having to talk to that annoying co-worker, or going for socially distanced walk with that co-worker who lives closer to us).
  3. Think about things differently by finding silver linings or savoring the positive aspects of working from home (the extra 5 minutes in bed, or the opportunity to take a nap in the middle of the day)
  4. Start or finish the day with the tasks that are more interesting to us or take on a side project that will help us develop our skills and be ready for that next job promotion.
  5. Find ways to have recovery breaks during the day
  6. Set goals based on the work that needs to be done instead of the hours that we need to be sitting in front of the computer.

5. There are many sources offering advice on how to effectively work remotely. What’s the best way to filter “good” advice and tune out the noise?

Different things work for different people, and trying different things until you find what works for you may be the best route.

Having said that, the advice coming from the American Psychological Association (apa.org) and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (siop.org), comes from trusted experts who do research and practice in these areas.

6. If you could live anywhere as a remote worker, where would you live and why? And why not be a digital nomad instead of being tied to one location? Beach town in winter, Denver or Maine in summer, for example. Maybe use our best cities for remote workers as a bucket list spending six months in various locations.

It depends on what your needs and responsibilities are. Some people may want to take advantage of this to go back to their hometowns and spend time with their extended families, or going back to their roots.

Some people who do not have any caregiving responsibilities may want to become digital nomads.

Other people who used to travel constantly, may take advantage of enjoying their homes and staying put for a while.

Whatever it is, it should be aligned with our needs and wishes.

 

Raffaella Sadun
Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

1. What less obvious advantages are there, if any, to working remotely?

A couple of things come to mind:

  • First, mental health. If we have to juggle many tasks (family for example), if we suffer from solitude, if our home situation is not ideal. These are all factors that make WFH less desirable.
  • Second productivity. On the one hand, it is great to have the ability to tailor the day to our needs but a) to some extent, what we do still depends on interactions with others, so inevitably we will still have to have meetings.If meetings online are less productive, then this can translate in lower efficiency.

    Second, WFH forces us to have much more structured interactions (we have to set up meetings, cannot have extemporaneous interactions), so that can also be detrimental.

2. Beyond traditional benefits — insurance coverage, paid time off, retirement contribution matches — that many employers offer, what non-traditional perks should companies consider giving workers in light of the challenges of working remotely?

Mental health coverage, home office furniture, structure in the day that fosters a separation between work and life (eg protected hours).

Most importantly, a shift in the managerial mindset that rewards people on quality of output rather than hours worked.

3. As companies move away from working in traditional offices to remote environments, local economies are likely to be impacted by lower tax revenues from declining commercial real estate and public transit. Where should cities look to replace the lost revenue in both the short and long terms?

I think the jury is still out on what will happen to cities. Yes, surely in the short run there will be a redistribution, but in my view, the appeal of cities may easily rebound as we get closer to normalcy.

It is very likely that organizations will still try to preserve safe spaces for in-person interactions, maybe located in more suburban areas, maybe larger offices.

So, in my view, there needs to be some flexibility built in because we really do not know where things are going. Surely there will be an appeal for healthier buildings.

4. What are the three most effective ways for remote workers to stay creative?

Find a way to do things that are not immediately related to day by day routines. Set broad goals and work toward ways to achieve them.

I think that the main issue is that WFH it is easier to be either entirely distracted, or entirely pulled into micro tasks for the sake of feeling productive.

Creativity requires a middle ground that does not usually happen if we are constantly glued to our monitors.

5. Remote work can sometimes heighten feelings of isolation and stress. How can remote workers most effectively manage their mental health during the pandemic?

I think boundaries really matter.

Before we had commuting as a buffer and transition from life to work. I find it very interesting that some companies such as Microsoft are trying to recreate the commuting experience virtually.

More generally, less social media and forcing ourselves to switch off.

 

Keaton Fletcher
Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech, School of Psychology

1. What less obvious advantages are there, if any, to working remotely?

We know that people have three basic needs that can be met via work: relatedness, autonomy (control over your decisions), and competence.

Working remotely provides a great opportunity to meet the need for autonomy. Maybe you choose when to work, if your job is flexible in that way. Maybe you have more control over your work environment (at-home standing desk, on the patio on a nice day, on the couch). Maybe you have more control over your schedule now that people are meeting face-to-face less.

That’s the biggest benefit. But once COVID passes, working remotely may also help you meet your need for relatedness. You can work in coffee shops, or other public spaces with good internet connections. You can work with people outside of your organization to keep each other motivated in a way that working with colleagues you didn’t necessarily choose might not be able to. 

2. Beyond traditional benefits — insurance coverage, paid time off, retirement contribution matches — that many employers offer, what non-traditional perks should companies consider giving workers in light of the challenges of working remotely? 

Child-care/elder-care benefits can really help working from home be as productive as possible.

If companies can provide a small stipend to set up an at-home office (e.g., quality desk, quality chair, dual-monitors, better internet) that can help show employees the organization understand the challenges and is providing support, but also can help reduce some of the unnecessary stressors on the worker including something as simple as bad posture from working on the couch or at the dining room table.

A very simple benefit would be increased flexibility in work hours, when possible.

Because working from home means you might be working around your family more frequently, it might be better to start work earlier in the day or later at night.

These flexible hours should not be used to pressure the employee into feeling they need to work more (which is a risk of working remotely) but can be used to make it a more productive experience.

If companies don’t want/can’t give full schedule control to their employees, maybe they set “core hours” from say 11-3 that all employees are online and working, but when to start/stop the workday is up the employee.

3. As companies move away from working in traditional offices to remote environments, local economies are likely to be impacted by lower tax revenues from declining commercial real estate and public transit. Where should cities look to replace the lost revenue in both the short and long terms?

This is definitely out of my wheelhouse since I’m trained only on organizational dynamics.

4. What are the three most effective ways for remote workers to stay creative?

Creativity is linked to positive emotions, opportunity, and drive.

So first, workers need to give themselves some time to be creative intentionally. Set the mood to create those positive emotions. Maybe that’s working out, meditating, or some other personal habit that is not too mentally draining that puts you in a good mood.

Then, let the creativity intentionally flow. Free-write where you just write the thoughts that come to your head, or maybe write in response to specific prompt or idea you want to be creative about, maybe talk to others to be co-creative (but set ground rules that anything goes otherwise the fear of being judged may hinder your creativity).

Then, once your creativity has led to something you want to act on, whether it’s a new way of doing things, an idea for a blog post, or something else, you have to shift gears from letting your mind come up with ideas to focusing in on the one and making it come to life.

This shift can be very challenging, but finding ways to limit distractions can help.

5. Remote work can sometimes heighten feelings of isolation and stress. How can remote workers most effectively manage their mental health during the pandemic?

Thinking back to the three needs we talked about, finding ways to stay related to others is helpful. If possible, face-to-face interactions (once they’re safe) are the best, but in the meantime phone calls or video chats can help.

Taking time to establish a healthy practice whether that’s exercise, meditation, journaling, or something else that helps perceived control and perceived competence can help deal with stressors.

Mindful meditation is one example that helps people stop reacting without thinking and falling into downward spirals, by being intentional about acknowledging the negative emotions, recognizing it’s ok that you’re having them, but then intentionally shifting your attention back to the task at hand or to something else, letting the negative emotions fade, rather than dwelling on them.

6. There are many sources offering advice on how to effectively work remotely. What’s the best way to filter “good” advice and tune out the noise?

If the advice is based in the scientific literature, then it’s certainly better advice than others. Maybe this is clear because it cites a study, or it’s presented by a professor or a practitioner who has a graduate research degree.

If it sounds too good to be true, though, it probably is. Everything takes work and there is no quick fix.

SIOP.org and SHRM.org are two scientific communities that provide resources for workers and employers that are rooted in the science and backed by the entire field. So you can always go to them for advice, or check the advice you’re getting against that.

Lastly, be afraid of confirmation bias. We all look for information that supports our beliefs or hopes. If you come across advice that you’re really excited about, a quick Google search, or even a quick scholar.google.com search, on that advice can give you input from a bunch of different sources that may disagree with you.

At least then, you can weigh the information, and feel confident that you did your due diligence in researching the topic.

Katerina Bezrukova, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Organization and Human Resources Department, University at Buffalo, School of Management

1. What less obvious advantages are there, if any, to working remotely?

So much time is spent at work doing non-productive things like: getting to work (the commute) and dealing with the stress of the commute, especially in urban areas. Time spent in conversations and activities unrelated to work, time spent in coordinating non-work obligations- getting time off for doctors’ appointments, for example. 

Not sure if this is obvious or not, but there is more time involved with these than most realize.

2. Beyond traditional benefits — insurance coverage, paid time off, retirement contribution matches — that many employers offer, what non-traditional perks should companies consider giving workers in light of the challenges of working remotely? 

For many employees, it’s an issue of technology. They need up-to-date laptops and software. It’s hard to do everything with an iPhone (I know students who take tests for online courses on iPhones).

That’s a basic thing that should be a positive cost/benefit for the company since it would improve productivity.

3. As companies move away from working in traditional offices to remote environments, local economies are likely to be impacted by lower tax revenues from declining commercial real estate and public transit. Where should cities look to replace the lost revenue in both the short and long terms?

Somewhat away from my expertise, a hint might be to look at developing things in short supply now that people want in cities. Also, some cities have seen a resurgence in people moving back, revitalizing inner cities.

More living areas in inner cities mean having more and bigger grocery stores and other things to support people returning. This is what I notice is in such short supply in cities because there just isn’t enough room.

Finally, some creative ideas about economical living areas and arrangements for the homeless would be a great opportunity to address that social problem.

4. What are the three most effective ways for remote workers to stay creative?

Probably depends on the person but having a  routine or some (self-imposed) structure to the workday, taking short but frequent breaks, and exercise are all good aspects of staying productive, and they should work for remote work, too.

5. Remote work can sometimes heighten feelings of isolation and stress. How can remote workers most effectively manage their mental health during the pandemic?

Try to reconnect with old friends from college or high school. This might be a treat for them, too.

Find new interests or activities and try them out. Not everything is remote now. Rock climbing, kayaking for the athletic.

Book clubs or volunteer work for the community, most are always looking for help.

6. There are many sources offering advice on how to effectively work remotely. What’s the best way to filter “good” advice and tune out the noise?

Follow evidence-based advice. Did you read this advice from a reputable source? Did you hear it from more than one source? Does it make sense to you?

 

Peter Cappelli
George W. Taylor Professor of Management, Director – Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School, and Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania

1. What less obvious advantages are there, if any, to working remotely?

None for the employer. For employees, it’s just saving on commuting time.

2. Beyond traditional benefits — insurance coverage, paid time off, retirement contribution matches — that many employers offer, what non-traditional perks should companies consider giving workers in light of the challenges of working remotely? 

I think the question for employers is whether they should offset what employees now can’t do at the office, such as go to the company gym.  This is only if employers are prohibiting people from working from home.

 3. As companies move away from working in traditional offices to remote environments, local economies are likely to be impacted by lower tax revenues from declining commercial real estate and public transit. Where should cities look to replace the lost revenue in both the short and long terms?

No idea, but I don’t agree with the premise that companies will move a lot of jobs permanently out of their offices.

4. There are many sources offering advice on how to effectively work remotely. What’s the best way to filter “good” advice and tune out the noise?

In general, advice from people selling you a solution is less objective.

5. If you could live anywhere as a remote worker, where would you live and why? And why not be a digital nomad instead of being tied to one location? Beach town in winter, Denver or Maine in summer, for example. Maybe use our best cities for remote workers as a bucket list spending six months in various locations.

Not that many people are in a stage of their life where they don’t care about a continuous community.  People with children can’t do that, families, important ties to social activities, and so forth can’t hop from one location to another. 

The attractions of a location are only one factor that determines where to live.  Maintaining more than one residence is really expensive, and it isn’t very feasible to be in transit every few months unless you are running away from something.

 

Methodology

We ranked 194 of the biggest U.S. cities from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 194) based on their overall scores (out of 100 possible points), averaged across all the weighted metrics listed below.

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. ValueBest
Opportunity
Remote Job Opportunities3649,596Max. Value
Remote Work Incentives1$0.00$10,000.00Max. Value
Earning Potential
Median Household Income3$44,730.00$179,798.00Max. Value
Workspace
Coworking Spaces per 100,000 Residents1038.56Max. Value
Median Home Square Footage per Average Number of Household Occupants3315.891,036.73Max. Value
Median Number of Rooms per Home13.77.3Max. Value
Share of Homes With 1 or Fewer Occupants per Room170.1%98.8%Max. Value
Connectivity
5G Home Internet Availability301Max. Value
Fiber Coverage26.00%100.00%Max. Value
Broadband Coverage289.50%100.00%Max. Value
Average Internet Speed250.8534.4Max. Value
Number of Internet Service Providers110177Max. Value
Costs
Cost of Living Index373205Min. Value
Housing (Median Sale Price per Square Foot)2$58.00$1,080.00Min. Value
Average Rent Price2$711.00$3,153.00Min. Value
Utilities1$60.00$326.25Min. Value
Internet1$38.33$250.00Min. Value
Income Tax20.00%13.30%Min. Value
Safety
Crime Index (100 is Safest)2088Max. Value
Convenience
Food Delivery Services169Max. Value

Sources: AreaVibes, Beyond Menu, BroadbandNow, Caviar, Delivery.com, DoorDash, Foodie Call, GrubHub, Homes.com, Indeed, Instacart, MakeMyMove, NeighborhoodScout, Numbeo, Postmates, Redfin, Seamless, Tax Foundation, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, UberEATS, Verizon, Yelp, and Zillow

Why This Study Matters

Remote work was once a luxury. The pandemic made it the norm — and quite possibly the future. Leading companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter now offer remote and/or hybrid work options. (LawnStarter itself went fully remote in 2020.)

The transition to working remotely has been so huge and fast that it’s created a whole new sector of the labor force — dubbed the “working-from-home economy” — a trend researchers predict will outlast the pandemic

As of September 2021, nearly half of U.S. full-time employees were fully or partly working remotely, and more than nine in 10 remote workers hope to keep telecommuting beyond the pandemic, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Many U.S. companies want employees back in the office, but employers are no longer calling the shots. 

More than seven in 10 companies are struggling to recruit workers, and experts warn employers will deter 50-70% of candidates unless they offer workplace flexibility, including hybrid or remote arrangements.

For the foreseeable future, that means the ball is in remote workers’ court to choose where they want to live and work.

So, if you could work from anywhere, where would you choose to live?

Main photo credit: Shutterstock

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Staff Writer