Working From Home "Here To Stay": Here's The Best States To Live When You Can Avoid The Office

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 09, 2024 - 10:55 AM

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies transitioned to a work-from-home model to maintain operations, a practice many have continued, according to WalletHub, who recently studied work from home trends.

From October 2023 to January 2024, over 21% of employees eligible to work remotely did so for five or more days a week, with more than 67% working from home at least once a week. However, not all remote workers find themselves in ideal working conditions, which ideally encompass low expenses, comfort, security, and minimal distractions.

The feasibility of remote work can significantly vary based on one's location. WalletHub's analysis of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, utilizing 12 key metrics, aimed to ascertain the regions offering the most conducive environments for working from home. This evaluation covered a spectrum of factors, including the proportion of the workforce operating remotely, internet affordability, cybersecurity measures, and the size and occupancy rates of homes.

According to Cassandra Happe, a WalletHub analyst, "Working from home can save people a lot of money on transportation expenses, as well as make their work environment a lot more comfortable and their hours more flexible. However, factors like energy costs, internet speed, home sizes, and household occupancy can significantly impact people's savings and productivity."

She continued: "While remote jobs can technically be done from anywhere, certain states offer much better conditions for this work mode."

Happe highlights New Jersey as the top state for remote work, attributing its ranking to affordable internet and widespread broadband access, alongside a significant portion of the workforce already working from home.

WalletHub's list ranking the best states to work from home showcases a diverse range of locales, from densely populated areas to expansive rural regions, emphasizing factors beyond just geography. Leading the pack is New Jersey. Following closely are Utah and Delaware. Maryland and the District of Columbia round out the top five, with the latter standing out for its top-tier internet access despite being ranked last for living space.

Katina Sawyer, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, predicts, "Despite many employers' efforts to bring staff back to the office, the desire among employees for hybrid or flexible work arrangements persists. A complete return to office settings appears unfeasible for organizations contemplating how to reduce physical office spaces. The work-from-home model is here to stay, with companies encouraged to embrace rather than resist this trend."

Echoing this sentiment, Katrina A. Burch, Ph.D., an Associate Professor and Director at Western Kentucky University, sees an increase in remote work options, which "will broaden the talent pool for positions and potentially attract top talent. Organizations recognize that remote work and flexible arrangements can enhance employee productivity, engagement, satisfaction, and decrease turnover."

Jerel E. Slaughter, a Professor at The University of Arizona, outlined the advantages for employees, including time savings from commuting and enhanced concentration leading to increased creativity. However, he notes the challenges in fostering a culture of trust and close personal relationships remotely. Slaughter advocates for hybrid arrangements to balance relationship-building in-office days with productivity-focused remote work.

Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist at the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, noted the productivity gains and work-life balance improvements for remote employees but cautions about potential impacts on career advancement due to reduced personal connections. For employers, Keating emphasizes the advantages in talent retention and the challenges in identifying employees suited for remote work.

You can read the full WalletHub study here.