While the concept of remote work has taken off during the pandemic, it isn’t a brand-new idea. Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work, and today—according to Statista—11.2% of Americans are working from home, which is up from 5.7% of people working remotely in 2019. And we’re getting use to it—22% of workers say they’d like to work from home permanently. So what are the best places in the United States to work remotely? PCMag, a leading technology trade publication, released a report yesterday ranking the best work-from-home cities for 2021. And it’s not just big cities: The list also includes suburbs and small towns.
PCMag created the list using data from Ookla Speedtest, BestPlaces.net and BroadbandNow, analyzing places with affordable housing, fast gigabit, reasonably priced internet connections and remote-work-friendly lifestyles.
Coming in at the top of the list is Chattanooga, Tennessee. Set in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga has all the amenities of an urban city, along with a low cost of living and easy access to nature. Chattanooga is sometimes called “Gig City”—it rolled out a citywide fiber network in 2010—and supposedly has the fastest internet in the world. The city has also been working to recruit tech workers and companies. "In 2020, it was evident that Chattanooga has been able to attract talent from major cities and companies,” venture capitalist Santosh Sankar of Dynamo Management Co. told PCMag. “I’ve run into folks who work for Spotify, Stripe, Netflix, et al. The quality of life was a major reason many of these folks moved from places like NYC, SF, LA, and more.”
This isn’t the first time Chattanooga has been grabbing attention. Zillow also ranked Chattanooga (pop. 180,000) as the No. 1 Best Metro for Remote Workers, and the city’s ideal WFH environment was the subject of a recent Time Out article.
Second on the list is Bear Valley Springs, a private gated community in California’s Tehachapi Mountains with 18 coffee shops per 100,000 people.
Southern Vermont performed well, with two locations making on the list: Pawlet (at number 3) and Springfield (number 9). Interestingly, big tech cities like San Francisco and New York didn't make the cut.
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