Between 14 million and 23 million U.S. workers are planning to relocate to a new city or region as a result of the growing acceptance to work remotely, a new study published by Upwork found.
Upwork’s “Remote Workers on the Move” report surveyed 20,490 U.S. workers over age 18 from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, 2020. The company claims it is the world’s largest work marketplace, which connects millions of businesses with independent talent around the globe and serves a range of clients including startups to 30 percent of Fortune 100 companies.
Upwork found that the shift to remote work will increase near-term migration in the U.S. by three to four times the standard rate. Anywhere from 6.9 percent to 11.5 percent of households are planning to move, Upwork found.
“This emerging trend indicates a rise in geographic mobility and points to an expected increase in economic efficiency,” it states.
“Companies were thrown feet first into a massive experiment with remote work due to the pandemic,” Adam Ozimek, Upwork’s chief economist, said. “The experiment has gone well; and it’s changing the future of the workforce. Remote work is the fastest game changer for the U.S. economy since World War II when almost overnight there was a mobilization of production to provide arms for war.”
Key findings include the impacts of outmigration from major cities, people moving to less expensive housing, and potentially increased taxes and rent as a result.
Major cities will see the biggest out-migration patterns, the report found. Roughly 20.6 percent of workers planning to move are currently living in a major city.
More than half of those surveyed, 52.5 percent, said they plan to move to a less expensive home than where they are currently living.
Respondents also plan to move beyond their regular commute distances. Approximately 54.7 percent of residents said they are moving more than two hours away from their current location, well beyond their daily or weekly commuting distances.
Upwork notes that rental data from Apartments.com indicates that the top 10 percent most expensive markets saw a 13 percent larger decrease in rent prices than rental markets in the bottom 10 percent did.
As a result of these changes, “Big expensive cities may see financial crunches,” Ozimek adds. “There could be tax hikes and a big impact on house prices.”
“As our survey shows, many people see remote work as an opportunity to relocate to where they want and where they can afford to live,” Ozimek adds. “This is an early indicator of the much larger impacts that remote work could have in increasing economic efficiency and spreading opportunity.”
Another recent survey, published by Intermedia, found that 57 percent of small and medium-size businesses plan to offer remote work plans to employees for the long term.
Small business owners said employee availability has increased by 19 percent by shifting from an in-person office environment to remote work. Key advantages to remote working include lower operating costs, increased employee availability and job satisfaction.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top ten remote types of work are in the fields of computer and mathematical; business and financial; life, physical and social science; legal; architecture and engineering; community and social services; education, training and library; arts, design, entertainment, sports and media; management; and office and administrative support.