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Most citizens would move city to keep their remote work option

Do you value remote work enough to move city? A new poll suggests so.

Photo: © AFP
Photo: © AFP

In many ways, the pandemic was the catalyst for a remote work movement that allowed people more freedom to make permanent moves away from their current city.

Certainly, the era of COVID-19 has rocked traditional working methods. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many employees have experienced a workplace change. This has included an extension of remote work.

Remote work means working from any location other than the central office. This could be another workplace, or it may mean at home. To facilitate remote working, workers have replaced fac-to-face interactions with digital tools to video conferencing, plus other tools to handle tasks, complete projects, and communicate with their team.

To assess how the pandemic has altered work location patterns, the company CapRelo surveyed over 1,100 U.S. citizens in relation to their post-pandemic moving desires and motivations.

Although emote working is not for everyone, the inquiry found that 3 out of 4 people said they would consider moving if given the opportunity to work remotely post-pandemic. This is a figure higher than that prior to the pandemic, suggesting that people are starting to value remote working opportunities very highly.

In terms of what is the key motivation for seeking greater remote working opportunities, the survey found that for 64.3 percent of respondents, a more affordable cost of living was the top motivating factor for moving. This includes aspects like lower house prices and a reduction in travel costs, mostly through the ending of the daily commute.

Google’s London HQ. Image by Tim Sandle.

Many businesses have seen the advantage that remote work presents, and as well as productivity (albeit a nebulous concept), there are other benefits that can be realized, such as employee retention and engagement, and reduced staff turnover.

Other employers are less sold on the practical value of remote work and are of the view they get less out of employees. While many employees are working longer hours, for example, the output levels are not necessarily greater from those stopped over a laptop at home.

While people are expressing a willingness to move, this is not a move too far. With this sentiment, 41 percent of respondents said they would like to live in a different city that is only three hours or less, in terms of driving, away from their current home.

There are downsides with remote work as well. Many employees have experienced mental health problems (as Digital Journal has reported). Plus, there are risks that as remote working becomes easier, many companies will simply direct services overseas to cheaper labor markets.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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