Moving for Remote Work: What are the Trends in Mobility in the 2021 Workforce?

If you could work from anywhere, where would it be? That question has become part of our workforce reality as new opportunities give rise to a noticeable trend in moving for remote work. Technology and advancements in communication tools have effectively shrunk distances. This allows working individuals to be fully productive from a work environment of their choosing and transforms where and how employers find talent.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, one survey indicated that from 14 to 23 million Americans were planning to move to a new location given the increased availability of remote work.

Where is the talent moving for remote work?

In a nutshell: to locations that offer more affordable living, and often fall on the lower end of the list of populous metros across the US.  In fact, studies on population migration during the pandemic, indicate an increase of residents relocating to mid-sized locations (like Louisville, KY and Tulsa, OK for example).

Which states have the most remote jobs?

With a quick search, you can find just about any statistic: which states are best for standard of living for remote work or which states have the most affordable housing for remote work and so on and so on. To be perfectly honest, there’s not a perfect consensus of data. However, we have found consistently that the states that post the majority of the remote job opportunities are Florida, California, New York, rounded out by Texas and Illinois. Other research suggests that the New England region is also a strong location.

What lines of work support the idea of remote work and being able to work from anywhere?

It’s no surprise that most jobs that don’t require regular face-to-face interaction and can be easily managed using a computer, the phone and an Internet connection are fair game for remote work from anywhere. Industries seeing the biggest rise in remote work include:

  • Computer and IT
  • Marketing
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Customer Service
  • Administration

Indeed reported that job listings with a remote work option increased to 6.9% this February, up from 2.9% from January 2020, just prior to the initial work-from-home mandates borne from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as we begin to return to the office a year later, working remotely is still an option, contributing to the talent workforce moving for remote work.

With moving, remote work across time zones can become a challenge – what’s the protocol?

The protocol is definitive planning and establishing a clear policy! Currently, a recommended remote schedule factoring in employee time boils down to business needs and best practices. There may be some jobs that specify certain hours of the workday as non-negotiable – if the suggested timeframe for a candidate is not ideal, the position is likely not a good fit. However, most organizations will agree on a base schedule with overlapping hours to conduct core business. Then, to fill in the gaps, employees may opt for rotating schedules in shifts to account for the prime business hours needed for highest productivity in a certain company. Tools that  track collaboration, notes, project management and more where all workers have access to the information pertinent to their role also help to keep everyone on the same page.

Is there a “desired distance” for how far a remote worker should live from their base company?

This would really depend on how often an in-person engagement is required and the time and expense needed for travel, proximity to an airport, etc. You will notice that on many remote job descriptions, there is often a location included, indicating a region that is desirable. This could be for a number of reasons like regulatory issues and time zone considerations as noted above, Larger companies with hubs in several locations may have the budget and manpower to manage more fully-remote options, allowing more destination choices for a remote worker pursuing a move.
However, don’t count out small businesses and a remote work option. According to a survey in the summer, 57% of surveyed small businesses said they will consider a remote work offering even after all restrictions are lifted. They  do however recognize that historically small business growth happens because of in-person meetings, so the radius for relocation for their employees could be smaller.

What does this all mean for the #futureofwork?

With 49% of working adults wanting to work from home 1-4 days per week, and 27% wanting to work entirely remotely, moving companies are going to be booked solid!
A moving workforce, however, affects both sides of the work relationship, especially during the recruiting and hiring process.
For candidates, there are considerations when making the decision to relocate based on a remote work option, including:

  • Future work availability. If the remote trend reverses, which doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, will the location chosen to purchase a home have viable job opportunities nearby 5-10 years down the road?
  • Salary. Have you considered the possibility of pay cuts? Some organizations in high-cost areas are considering decreasing salary for employees who opt to move to a lower cost area; or conversely, salaries offered may start to mirror the market where the candidate lives. This is a budget and lifestyle decision for job seekers. Candidates can consider the savings they gain from working from home, including reduced cost of living, lower housing costs, and decreased commuting costs. Some of the real benefit however to pursuing remote work despite a lower salary may not be related to dollars, with flexibility and less travel time being among the pros.
  • An isolated lifestyle. While a busy homelife for many working adults can offset the lack of networking and work bonding, for nearly half of surveyed workers, workday loneliness is seen as a top detractor. Finding a company to work for that has a proven policy in engaging remote workers is important, and something that a good recruiter can help discover.

For employers, the trend of workers moving for remote opportunities has caused them to reevaluate their recruiting and hiring process.

  • Talent searches are now expanded, which means there is more talent to choose from. Sometimes, though, a larger talent pool of remote workers increases time and energy (and cost) to find the right hire. Couple that with an expectation in what the new candidate is looking for in a job, and employers must be heavily focused on standing out. A recruiter or staffing firm with a deep understanding of the available candidates can help streamline the process.
  • On the flip side, talent moving to less populated areas are a new found resource for the smaller companies in their new locations. Local businesses now have access to more talent with skill-sets they might not have found before.
  • Employers also must continue to evolve their hiring activities, especially in the way interviews and on-boarding changed dramatically in the COVID era. This is another area where a hands-on staffing and recruiting firm can help guide the hiring process. From initial interviews, to scheduling for hiring managers to getting new hires up to speed, staffing firms can recommend platforms, software and processes to their clients that support the best candidate experience.
  • Employers may be more apt to embrace a mobile, remote workforce because of the cost-savings they might realize. A pre-pandemic study calculated that employers can save an average $11,000 per employee even when they work from home half-the-time. With the cost-savings in overhead, a full remote force could be a significant budget booster.

The last two decades have seen remote work skyrocket, allowing workers more choice in where they live. This has changed the recruiting and hiring landscape dramatically, causing employers to reach far and wide to secure the talent they seek and talent to stay abreast of the right opportunities for them. Matlen Silver understands the ebb and flow of the workforce landscape and has adapted with these changes as they’ve unfolded for over 40 years. Talk with one of our experts today and we can help deliver top talent to the positions that fit with new work lifestyles.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Recent Blog Posts

intentional work culture creates a team environment

Creating an Intentional Work Culture

by Michele Bielman, SVP Regional Sales & Operations Work culture …

Recruiting Gen Z candidates

Recruiting Gen Z Candidates: How to Speak Gen Z

(By Laura Vallina) With tech companies facing a hiring crisis, …

contemplating the return of women to the workforce

The Return of Women to the Workforce

by Cameron Edwards, SVP Client Strategy and Operations It was …

Scroll to Top