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The Best & Worst Cities for Working From Home

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Working from home has never been easier. Thanks to advances in technology, many professionals can plow through their to-do lists from the comfort of their couch. However, some cities are better for remote work than others.

Cities that are more appealing to telecommuters have higher earning power for the remote workers who live there and more remote work opportunities. Additionally, cities with longer commute times also make it more appealing for residents to choose to work from home.

To determine the best cities for working from home, MagnifyMoney combed through the Census Bureau’s 2018 1-Year American Community Survey. We examined the 100 largest U.S. cities by the number of workers, classifying them by metrics related to how many people work from home, their earning power and their cost of living.

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What happened to the ‘telecommuting revolution?’

Roughly a decade ago, as technology became more advanced and workforces became increasingly mobile, there were predictions of a “telecommuting revolution” in which more and more employees would begin working remotely.

Indeed, a recent study from FlexJobs found that between 2005 and 2017, remote work has grown 159%. However, this massive explosion in growth in the last decade and a half slowed to just 7.9% between 2016 to 2017 — evidence that the movement is losing steam.

Our study also found a fairly stagnant remote workforce in the 100 most populated U.S. cities from 2017 to 2018. Even the city that ranked first for the metric measuring the growth of the number of people working from home from 2017 to 2018 — Irvine, California — had just a 2.40% increase in the number of telecommuters. Additionally, our study revealed a slew of cities in which there were a smaller share of remote workers in 2018 than there were in 2017, including Washington D.C., Orlando and St. Louis.

While the number of remote workers might not be completely stagnant, these are certainly signs that the telecommuting movement might be slowing down. So, what’s to blame for the seemingly slowing growth of the “telecommuting revolution”? One explanation might be linked to perceived worker productivity. In 2013, for example, Yahoo yanked its employees’ remote privileges and shortly after cited increased levels of productivity and employee engagement.

Additionally, a 2018 survey from Randstad USA found that employees might not be buying into the idea either. While 82% of workers said being able to work from home helps them maintain their work-life balance, 62% said they still prefer working in the office, a number that was even higher among younger generations.

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Advantages and disadvantages of working from home

As is the case with clocking your 9-to-5 hours in a cubicle, there are both advantages and disadvantages to working from the comfort of your couch.

Advantages of working from home

  • Potentially higher pay: Our survey found that in many cities, remote workers raked in more money than non-remote workers. For example, in Norfolk, Va., the average remote worker made $1.68 for every dollar earned by the average worker. One reason for this could be that, according to the BLS, the more popular occupations for remote work include jobs in management, business and finance, all of which tend to be higher-paying.
  • Money saved on transportation: The cost of commuting is not something to overlook. Depending on the state in which you live, you could spend between $2,000 to $5,000 a year on commuting costs. Working from home enables you to save thousands of dollars a year.
  • Money saved on childcare: One of the biggest incentives for working from home is the flexibility it allows — especially for parents with kids to care for. For working parents, the cost of childcare can add up to hundreds of dollars a week. If a parent works from home, they might be able to avoid paying for a daycare service or nanny.

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Disadvantages of working from home

  • Strain on relationships with colleagues: Working from home could have a negative effect on your relationships with your colleagues. At least one study has found that remote workers were more likely to report that their co-workers treat them poorly and exclude them.
  • Lack of work-life balance: When your home doubles as your workspace, it can be difficult to unplug. Indeed, one survey from Remote.co found that unplugging after work hours is the biggest challenge among telecommuters. Achieving a healthy work-life balance when you work from home can certainly be a challenging obstacle to overcome.

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Methodology

For our study, we looked at data from the 2018 Census Bureau’s 1-Year American Community Survey. Metrics analyzed included:

  • The percentage of people who work from home.
  • Earnings for people working from home relative to average earnings of local workers.
  • The percentage point change in the share of workers working from home from 2017 to 2018.
  • The percentage point change in earnings for people who work from home from 2017 to 2018.
  • Housing costs as a percentage of income for people working from home.
  • Average commute time.
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To create the final rankings, we ranked each city in each metric. Using these rankings, we created a final index based on each city’s average ranking. The city with the best average ranking received the highest score, while the city with the lowest average ranking received the lowest score. The cities were then indexed based on the best possible score.

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Best cities for working from home

Topping our study’s ranking of the best cities to work from home is Gilbert, Ariz. Gilbert, a suburb located southeast of Phoenix, measures just over 72 square miles and has a population of more than 230,000.

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10. Scottsdale, Arizona

Percent of workforce working from home: 6.2%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 132.9%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -38.3%

Percent change in people working from home: 1.8%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 24.1%

Average commute time: 21.6

Index: 65.15

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9. Plano, Texas

Percent of workforce working from home: 3.9%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 131.6%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -28.9%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.4%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 27.1%

Average commute time: 26.8

Index: 65.32

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8. Chicago

Percent of workforce working from home: 2.6%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 121.0%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -1.1%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.2%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 29.4%

Average commute time: 35.4

Index: 65.66

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7. Chandler, Arizona

Percent of workforce working from home: 3.8%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 150.4%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -18.7%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.2%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 22.5%

Average commute time: 24.2

Index: 66.67

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

6. Denver

Percent of workforce working from home: 4.4%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 131.4%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -11.2%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.3%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 27.4%

Average commute time: 25.1

Index: 67.68

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

5. Tampa, Florida

Percent of workforce working from home: 3.5%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 148.1%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -9.2%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.1%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 24.5%

Average commute time: 25.5

Index: 68.86

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

4. Seattle

Percent of workforce working from home: 4.0%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 119.1%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: 7.4%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.4%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 30.9%

Average commute time: 28.4

Index: 69.02

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

3. Aurora, Colorado

Percent of workforce working from home: 3.5%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 141.2%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -14.0%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.6%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 32.4%

Average commute time: 30.3

Index: 69.36

Aurora, Colo. comes in third, with residents who work remotely skipping out on the 30-minute average daily commute there.

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2. Atlanta

Percent of workforce working from home: 4.5%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 112.7%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -0.1%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.8%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 27.2%

Average commute time: 28.3

Index: 73.40

The second best place to work from home is Atlanta, thanks to factors like a rise in people working from home from 2017 to 2018 and good pay for remote workers. Additionally, local housing costs in Atlanta were equal to just 27% of earnings for the average person who works from home.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

1. Gilbert, Arizona

Percent of workforce working from home: 4.9%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 131.5%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -5.2%

Percent change in people working from home: 1.2%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 29.5%

Average commute time: 27.9

Index: 75.59

Gilbert, Ariz. is rated the best place to work from home, due to a sharp rise in the number of people working from home, which indicates more remote work opportunities, as well as the fact that remote workers there make $1.32 for every dollar earned by the average worker.

READ  If Breakout Incomes is a Scam Then What Can I Do From Home Online to Make Money? - Brandon

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Worst cities for working from home

The U.S. city falling to the bottom of our study’s ranking — making it the worst city to work from home — is Toledo, Ohio. Located in the northwest region of Ohio, Toledo has a population of around 276,000.

Remote workers in Toledo pulled in far less than the average worker, earning just $0.58 for every $1 earned by an average worker and resulting in the city ranking 99th for that metric. Additionally, remote workers in Toledo spent an average of 51% of their earnings on housing, underscoring remote workers’ overall low earning power. Toledo also had a staggeringly low percentage of residents working remotely — 0.90% — which indicates the poor overall culture of remote work and opportunity in the city.

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10. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.1%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 84.7%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -20.2%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.2%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 36.6%

Average commute time: 27.2

Index: 32.32

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

9. Memphis, Tennessee

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.1%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 123.5%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -20.8%

Percent change in people working from home: -0.7%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 27.7%

Average commute time: 21.9

Index: 31.99

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

8. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.9%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 97.7%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: 7.9%

Percent change in people working from home: -0.7%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 35.9%

Average commute time: 22.2

Index: 30.98

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

7. Paradise, Nevada

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.3%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 100.1%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -24.1%

Percent change in people working from home: 0.3%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 38.9%

Average commute time: 23

Index: 29.97

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

6. Wichita, Kansas

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.6%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 75.0%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: 26.8%

Percent change in people working from home: -0.1%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 39.8%

Average commute time: 18.9

Index: 27.44

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

5. Riverside, California

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.8%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 76.3%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -18.6%

Percent change in people working from home: -0.4%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 71.7%

Average commute time: 29.9

Index: 25.25

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

4. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.7%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 95.6%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -0.9%

Percent change in people working from home: -0.7%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 32.7%

Average commute time: 18.6

Index: 25.08

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

3. Greensboro, North Carolina

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.8%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 99.9%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -11.3%

Percent change in people working from home: -1.9%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 32.5%

Average commute time: 20.8

Index: 24.75

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

2. El Paso, Texas

Percent of workforce working from home: 1.6%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 81.8%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: -11.3%

Percent change in people working from home: -0.1%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 44.9%

Average commute time: 23

Index: 23.91

The second worst city to work from home was El Paso, Texas, followed by Greensboro, N.C.

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1. Toledo, Ohio

Percent of workforce working from home: 0.9%

Work from home earnings compared to average earnings: 57.9%

Percent change from 2017-2018 in earnings for people working from home: 12.3%

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Percent change in people working from home: 0.0%

Housing costs as a percent of earnings for people working from home: 51.4%

Average commute time: 19.7

Index: 23.91

The worst city to work from home was Toledo, Ohio, which had a low and stagnant number of people working from home, indicating few remote work opportunities. Those who do work from home in Toledo generally earned less in comparison to average earnings.

This article originally appeared on MagnifyMoney.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.




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