Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Remote Workers

Mom working from home and keeping an eye on her kids

Telecommuting was once a luxury — now it’s the norm, and quite possibly the future. As of June 2020, a whopping 42% of the U.S. labor force was working from home, up from just 8.2% in February. 

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. 

For many workers, a remote arrangement means greater flexibility in location. But not every city is cut out for telecommuting success. 

So what’s the best city to work a remote job? To find out, LawnStarter compared the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 15 key factors, such as remote job opportunities, internet speed, and the cost of renting a home office.

Dive in to the data to find the perfect city for a telecommuting lifestyle. (We’ve already ordered our standing treadmill desk.)

Table of Contents

  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Ask the Experts
  3. Methodology
OVERALL RANKCityOverall ScoreOpportunity and Earning Potential RankWork Environment RankConnectivity and Convenience RankCosts Rank
1McKinney, TX72.2525229
2Frisco, TX71.1061172
3Plano, TX64.231335528
4Irving, TX64.111924292
5Garland, TX60.7129442612
6Yonkers, NY60.5313245110
7Austin, TX60.306221854
8Fort Worth, TX59.8378461017
9Dallas, TX59.0990261640
10Orlando, FL58.584394623
11Jersey City, NJ58.4921424122
12Fayetteville, NC58.0114167284
13Tampa, FL57.8851593325
14Arlington, TX57.834693357
15Overland Park, KS57.683345894
16Pittsburgh, PA57.4688292064
17Port St. Lucie, FL57.4264604022
18Raleigh, NC57.4066176543
19Peoria, AZ57.361275399
20Reno, NV57.2776413730
21Fort Lauderdale, FL57.1151053851
22Knoxville, TN56.85143106195
23San Antonio, TX56.661161021314
24Vancouver, WA56.39421012942
25Gilbert, AZ56.2210239485
26Charlotte, NC56.1479492548
27Atlanta, GA55.7050113998
28Miami, FL55.6669431784
29Houston, TX55.59117565919
30Aurora, CO54.8739356179
31Chesapeake, VA54.7844334986
32Huntsville, AL54.721072513321
33Cincinnati, OH54.70119706220
34Denver, CO54.6649204895
35Tulsa, OK54.50128121468
36Chicago, IL54.3785541492
37Henderson, NV54.2941278282
38Lubbock, TX54.2312492973
39Fort Wayne, IN53.73125501328
40El Paso, TX53.7313197856
41Wichita, KS53.69114426355
42Newport News, VA53.6381517947
43Philadelphia, PA53.421201141556
44Virginia Beach, VA53.4257348880
45Salt Lake City, UT53.3056398777
46Corpus Christi, TX53.251131006915
47Hialeah, FL52.99188611052
48Grand Rapids, MI52.991121263629
49Durham, NC52.97527310536
50Oklahoma City, OK52.95109914741
51Columbus, OH52.901021094138
52Shreveport, LA52.771391381245
53Minneapolis, MN52.75674027102
54Madison, WI52.7273558366
55Amarillo, TX52.661291421401
56Seattle, WA52.5928677115
57Tempe, AZ52.59262213891
58Lincoln, NE52.291013611763
59St. Louis, MO52.251051035239
60Cleveland, OH52.18149816633
61Worcester, MA52.08821813776
62Huntington Beach, CA51.7581218139
63Jacksonville, FL51.669511110718
64Columbus, GA51.561338213411
65St. Paul, MN51.55588822100
66Chandler, AZ51.54234812890
67Portland, OR51.51611551116
68Grand Prairie, TX51.4015578128
69St. Petersburg, FL51.34369611950
70Milwaukee, WI51.281381075446
71Chattanooga, TN51.211327512032
72Greensboro, NC51.07122959337
73Akron, OH50.971261018635
74Aurora, IL50.89471279144
75Anaheim, CA50.83141346131
76Rochester, NY50.82148837449
77Sioux Falls, SD50.819411710627
78Scottsdale, AZ50.551616142106
79Memphis, TN50.481441447516
80Mobile, AL50.471359911826
81Washington, DC50.3717844136
82Buffalo, NY50.221406310467
83Laredo, TX50.1910814710310
84Omaha, NE50.1991579589
85Richmond, VA49.88986812669
86Colorado Springs, CO49.87724713975
87Cape Coral, FL49.79597912373
88Baton Rouge, LA49.791301137259
89Baltimore, MD49.731031205078
90Birmingham, AL49.671461397034
91Detroit, MI49.1614514312113
92Tacoma, WA49.14388712288
93Rancho Cucamonga, CA49.07278534118
94Irvine, CA49.029964138
95Las Vegas, NV49.028911210960
96Spokane, WA48.9511510814124
97San Diego, CA48.83483121133
98Little Rock, AR48.761067813170
99Phoenix, AZ48.6883989283
100Albuquerque, NM48.581108913657
101Newark, NJ48.4837690125
102Kansas City, MO48.349911810271
103Des Moines, IA48.241046513087
104Norfolk, VA48.14847714561
105Toledo, OH48.1115014011531
106Los Angeles, CA47.8075375140
107Louisville, KY47.6111111632107
108Montgomery, AL47.4612113111662
109Long Beach, CA47.44316942126
110Sacramento, CA47.106812331112
111Glendale, AZ46.99358414874
112Winston-Salem, NC46.831371157196
113Providence, RI46.73978067109
114Santa Clarita, CA46.65215298123
115Mesa, AZ46.62545315058
116New Orleans, LA46.101361348093
117Glendale, CA45.97712430135
118Nashville, TN45.778014523114
119San Jose, CA45.55202856141
120Salem, OR45.348611912497
121Tallahassee, FL45.3012713514653
122Fremont, CA45.02438100144
123Fontana, CA44.9440136125101
124Chula Vista, CA44.723058114130
125San Francisco, CA44.7111199150
126Modesto, CA44.688712573111
127Oakland, CA44.23244543143
128Stockton, CA44.139614676103
129Fresno, CA43.75118130101105
130Brownsville, TX43.5314713714765
131New York, NY43.4274663147
132Tucson, AZ43.3114210414981
133Santa Ana, CA43.14349081132
134Indianapolis, IN43.0912314884104
135Riverside, CA42.946012296121
136Santa Rosa, CA42.84636268137
137Augusta, GA42.01134129135108
138Oceanside, CA41.994561144127
139Boise, ID41.8977133108117
140North Las Vegas, NV41.856511099129
141Boston, MA41.79377157142
142Oxnard, CA41.6955132112120
143San Bernardino, CA41.609314989113
144Elk Grove, CA41.18223060148
145Ontario, CA41.1532747149
146Lexington, KY40.64100128127119
147Anchorage, AK40.245364143134
148Bakersfield, CA38.1192150113124
149Moreno Valley, CA38.017014111145
150Honolulu, HI35.067172111146
Infographic showing the best and worst cities for remote workers. Categories include highest/lowest cost of living, most/least home office and coworking space, etc.

Key Takeaways

Don’t Mess with Texas

With a whopping eight of our top 10 cities, the Lonestar State dominates our ranking. (Full disclosure: LawnStarter is headquartered in Austin, but we promise that our Texan pride didn’t influence the results here.)

Texas cities — seven of them in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex — earned many of the highest scores in the Work Environment and Connectivity categories while also getting decent scores in Costs and Opportunities.

In other words, Texas is a well-rounded place for remote work, which comes as no surprise, considering it’s one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.

Meet Me in the Middle

Mid-sized cities are safe bets for remote workers. Larger cities tend to falter when it comes to cost of living, workplace safety, and rental prices. And smaller cities can’t compete on metrics like coworking spaces, food delivery, or job opportunities.

Not too hot and not too cold, mid-sized cities like Fayetteville, North Carolina; Orlando, Florida; and Reno, Nevada, are just right.

Rockin’ the ’Burbs

Suburbs ranked well on our list — and for good reason. They boast some of the benefits and accessibility of major cities but at cheaper prices. Not feeling Kansas City, Missouri, income taxes? Try Overland Park, Kansas.

Want to escape those sky-high New York City prices? Head on over to Yonkers. Suburbs are a great choice for that new, remote-work lifestyle that won’t break the bank.

Not All that Glitters Is Gold

One location to avoid is California. The Golden State consistently finds itself at the bottom of our ranking, even California’s mid-sized cities like Santa Ana or suburbs like Moreno Valley.

High on costs and low on good workplace factors like safety or available personal space, California may be better for a vacation than a telecommuting life.

Ask The Experts

Working remotely has become normal for many Americans in recent months, but how can we better cope with the workaday world while juggling keeping an eye on our kids and remembering to take breaks and not work long into the night?

We asked the experts for answers to these questions:

  • What less obvious advantages are there, if any, to working remotely?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • What are the three most effective ways for remote workers to stay creative?
  • Remote work can sometimes heighten feelings of isolation and stress. How can remote workers most effectively manage their mental health during the pandemic?
  • 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 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.
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.

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.

You know, right now I would love to be a nomad and travel just for fun, forget about work and digital for a while.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I think there has been a massive cut in time spent on holidays and way too much time spent on screens.

How lovely would it be to just take some time off and forget about working while traveling?

 

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.

7. 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.

For those who don’t have ties to one place (e.g., children’s school systems) the digital nomad life sounds great.

For me, since I’m tied to one location for my child, I’d prefer to work remotely from the beaches of southern California. You get the sun, the sand, and the mountains all nearby.

 

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?

7. 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.

As far as digital nomads, that is already happening. Read (I believe it was in the New Yorker but may have been elsewhere) about couples and others ditching their apartments, renting an RV and working remotely while traveling across the country. Not realistic for all people but possibility for some. The bucket list would tie right into that trend.

 

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

To design our ranking of 2020’s Best Cities for Remote Workers, LawnStarter first determined four key categories of factors that are necessary for telework success, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Those categories include Opportunity and Earning Potential; Work Environment; Connectivity and Convenience; and Costs.

We then identified 15 metrics related to the four categories using the most recently available data. The categories and their corresponding metrics are listed below with the score we assigned to each. For our sample, we chose the 150 most populated U.S. cities, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

We then added up the scores across all categories for each of the 150 biggest U.S. cities to arrive at the final ranking, which is based on their overall scores, the highest being 100. The city with the highest score ranked No. 1, or “best,” while the city with the lowest score ranked No. 150, or “worst.”

1. Opportunity and Earning Potential (Total Points: 15)

  • Remote Job Opportunities: 10 Points
    Note: Measures number of remote job opportunities per total population in labor force
  • Median Household Income: 5 Points

2. Work Environment (Total Points: 17)

  • Availability of Personal Workspace: 7 Points
    Note: Measures median home square footage per average number of persons in a household
  • Availability of Coworking Spaces: 5 Points
    Note: Measures number of shared office spaces
  • Workplace Safety: 5  Points
    Note: Measures city’s position in LawnStarter’s “Best and Worst U.S. Cities to Be Stuck at Home” ranking

3. Connectivity and Convenience (Total Points: 27)

  • Internet Accessibility: 5 Points
    Note: Measures number of internet providers
  • Average Internet Speed: 10 Points
  • Broadband Coverage: 7 Points
  • Access to Food Delivery: 5 Points
    Note: Measures number of food delivery apps

4. Costs (Total Points: 41)

  • Cost-of-Living Index: 7 Points
  • Home Office Rent: 7 Points
    Note: Measures median home rental price per square foot as a proxy for “home office rental price”
  • Housing: 7 Points
    Note: Measures median home price per square foot as a proxy for “housing costs”
  • Utilities: 5 Points
    Note: Measures cost of basic utilities, such as water, electricity, garbage, heating and cooling
  • Internet: 10 Points
    Note: Measures cost for 60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL
  • Income Tax: 5 Points

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

Main photo credit: Brenda Ryan / LawnStarter

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Staff Writer