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A woman conducting a virtual business meeting on a laptop while taking notes on a piece of paper

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.  A survey conducted by Upwork in October 2020 revealed that around 14 million to 23 million people plan to move. This remote-worker migration attributes to many companies deciding to remain remote or reduce 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. In addition, 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!

Why Now?

At the beginning of quarantine, millions of people were forced to vacate their offices. However, many looked at their home workspace and were unhappy with what they had. Some are willing to move and upgrade their living. 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?

Zoom Town Housing Market

Before COVID-19, the cost of living in the most expensive cities in the United States had already deterred many potential employees. On the other hand, 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. The city’s growth spurt is an excellent opportunity for employees to make extra money by turning a house into a vacation rental.

Geographical Salaries

But firms in these cities are making their case for the reasons why this migration should not occur. For example the job recruiting site Glassdoor released a calculator suggesting that geography can impact pay in the long run. For instance, software engineers leaving San Francisco and New York City could face a 24.8% or a 12.2% decrease in pay. 

Where are remote workers flocking?

Known as “amenity migration,” remote workers are relocating for recreational purposes. Workers prefer locations close to national parks or ski resorts. 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.” For example, infrastructure constraints, unaffordability, and traffic congestion problems. These gateway communities are most likely experiencing planning and development challenges. But, again, it is attributed to population growth rather than tourism. In addition, these small towns are trying to preserve their “small-town” atmosphere while ensuring that they can accommodate the need for more housing.

What Should Management Do?

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 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. Essential Data Corporation guarantees the quality of our work. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or [email protected]

Written by Alexa Do