Mansfield and Ashland nationally rank among best places for remote work

For remote workers, Buckeye State is the best place to live nationwide, and arguably the most preferred region to live in is North Central Ohio.

This was backed up this spring when Ashland and Richland counties received top marks in the “Zoom Towns USA: America’s best cities for remote workersstudy by Ownerly.com, a company that helps homeowners understand the value of their properties.

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Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo were all included as “cities that offer a lot to remote workers,” but the biggest local news is that Ashland ranked 11th and Mansfield 36th on the list.

“Affordable housing, high-speed internet, outdoor green spaces, childcare options and more,” are factors the website lists as having been important to the study, and residents of Ashland and of Mansfield think this describes their towns – and the whole region – very well.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of work in the United States, and the change is likely to be permanent.

“As more employers are bringing workers back to the office as the pandemic appears to be easing, the tight labor market suggests flexible work options are here to stay,” the study said. “Many companies have permanently adopted remote working.”

Many workers seem willing to change jobs, cities and even states for better conditions – in February of this year alone, 4.5 million people across the country quit their jobs.

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“Where are the best cities to live in if you’re no longer tethered to a work commute?” asks for the study. “Owner analyzed 445 cities across the country, looking at rent and housing prices, cost of living, security data, broadband levels and free Wi-Fi coverage. »

The study found that cities with fewer than 100,000 residents are preferred by remote workers, the midwestern and northeastern parts of the country attract west coast residents, and top destinations across the country are Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

Ashland has attractions and infrastructure

Being ranked No. 11 in the country has come as a source of pride for Matt Miller, the mayor of Ashland, but it wasn’t recognition that surprised him.

“For the past few years, my goal has been to do whatever we need to do to make sure Ashland is one of the most livable cities in the world,” Miller said. “We want Ashland to be where everyone wants to live.”

It is a city of 19,225 people nestled in a county of 52,447 people, according to data collected in the 2020 census.

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The mayor said unique events and festivals bring the community together and make it attractive to newcomers. Consider the scenic landscapes and he thinks it’s a no-brainer for an individual, couple or family looking to find a new home.

The new Arrows Landing housing estate on George Road is seen on Monday May 9, 2022. TOM E. PUSKAR/TIMES-GAZETTE.COM

“We’re focused on making Ashland look as much like a seminal movie as possible,” Miller said. “People might laugh hearing this, but there’s a reason we’re all drawn to these movies.”

The infrastructure has made these dreams come true – Ashland is served by fiber optic cable lines that continue to be upgraded and is located along I-71 between Cleveland and Columbus.

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“You can have a wonderful quality of life and still work for a company that may be headquartered in a major metropolitan area,” Miller said. “The good news is that we have all the technology in place.”

The new Arrows Landing housing estate on George Road is seen on Monday May 9, 2022. TOM E. PUSKAR/TIMES-GAZETTE.COM

Several new residential construction projects in the city show that people want to live, work and play in Ashland, and the mayor is happy to meet all newcomers.

“There’s something to be said for the cultures we have here in these communities like Ashland and like Mansfield,” Miller said. “It’s not like that everywhere.

Mansfield is full of opportunities for newcomers

The checklist of amenities that make Mansfield and Ashland attractive to homebuyers can also be extended to towns in neighboring counties, according to Clint Knight, director of workforce development for the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development.

“Our region matches the characteristics that remote workers are looking for,” Knight said.

Mansfield, ranked No. 36 nationally, has a population of 47,534, more than a third of Richland County’s 124,936 residents, according to census data.

It’s a great place to experience, and Knight has first-hand experience with it — he moved from Atlanta ten years ago.

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“This area has been incredibly welcoming,” Knight said. “It gave me a lot of opportunities that I never would have had in Atlanta.”

Workers 45 and under tend to seek out communities where they can have an impact on their school boards, in their churches, and through civic organizations. He said Mansfield was giving them those chances.

Proximity to other major cities via US 30 and I-71 makes Richland County an accessible location that is still surprisingly hidden.

“There are people moving out of metro areas, but still working in metro areas,” Knight said. “You have access to metropolitan things, but you’re not surrounded by all the things that go with it.”

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