5 million people have moved because of remote work since 2020

  • Remote work has led about five million Americans to move to a new location in the past two years.
  • Additionally, an Upwork survey estimates that nearly 19 million more are likely to move in the future.
  • The figures suggest that rather than a return to offices, working from home continues to gain momentum.

Company statements may suggest that US office workers are returning to the world of water cooler conversations and sad office lunches.

Corn a new study from the flexible job platform Upwork indicates that the opposite is probably happening.

Since the start of the pandemic, an estimated nearly 5 million people in the United States, or 2.4% of all Americans, have moved to a new location due to location flexibility of remote work. .

“For the first time, remote work has allowed many people across the country to see a life in which where they work and where they live doesn’t have to be the same,” the economist wrote. Upwork chief Adam Ozimek in a statement.

Before the pandemic, more than 80% of workers lived within an hour and a half of their workplace. Now more than one in four respondents who said they had moved in the Upwork survey said their home was now more than four hours away from work.

Citing the work of economists Arjun Ramani and Nicholas Bloom, who call suburban house price gains from urban migration the “doughnut effect,” Ozimek says, “the donut can be huge.”

So far, that’s translated into big increases in the value of homes within hours’ drive of cities like New York and San Francisco, but the donut is getting bigger as workers and businesses recognize that jobs remote do not disappear.

“It’s not just the people within two hours of New York City,” Ozimek told Insider. “What we’re going to see are people walking away.”

Nearly one in 10 survey respondents said they plan to move in the future because of remote work, which is nearly 19 million Americans, a number significantly higher than those who have already declared having moved.

Upwork’s numbers are consistent with other Gallup polls, cited by The New York Times, which found the percentage of white-collar employees working exclusively from home jumped to 65% in May 2020 from just 6. % before the pandemic.

“The only thing holding back flexible work arrangements was a lack of imagination,” said Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings, according to the Times. “This failure was corrected in three weeks in March 2020.”

Of course, the majority of American workers still do their jobs in person, but the benefits for those who can work remotely are significant, including a lower cost of living and less stress adjusting to office culture.

Ozimek said the rise of remote work is reversing the trend of recent decades of an ever-increasing concentration of economic opportunity in superstar cities.

“It’s about a spread of opportunity across the country,” he said. “It gives people more choice. They can choose where to live and where to work as a kind of separate decision instead of being stuck living near where they wanted to work.”

Taken together, the data and anecdotal evidence suggests that the first 5 million people were just the tip of the remote work iceberg.

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