One of the most attractive benefits of remote or hybrid work is the ability to work anywhere—and it’s something many of us are taking advantage of. According to a recent Pew Research Poll, 17% of American workers who can work remotely have relocated since 2020.
These white-collar workers are moving from big cities like New York and Chicago to mid-size and smaller cities like Denver and Hoboken (Daybase's first location) to live in larger apartments and homes closer to nature where there’s a slower pace of life. At the same time, the expectation of convenience, good restaurants, and a connection with neighbors hasn’t changed. It’s a lot to ask for from one town or city, but it is possible, especially if you fully embrace your new community.
Here are 5 ways to make the most out of this next adventure.
Consider How You’ll Get Around
Before going remote, did your daily commute involve buses or trains? Do you own a car, or are you a city kid who’s never had a driver's license? One of the most important things to consider before relocating is transportation—especially if you’ll still be required to go into an office every once in a while.
“With hybrid work, the key is access (being along transit lines, bike paths, highways) so you can work from home, but also get into work pretty easily,” says Carrie Denning Jackson, the Vice President of Innovative Operations at Jamestown LP, a real estate investment firm focused on retail expansions in mid to large cities.
For 15 years, Denning Jackson has found opportunities for innovation in mostly urban areas, with the goal of supporting small businesses, entrepreneurship, cultural community groups, and overall renewal. “I think a lot of people really appreciate not having long commutes and enjoying that time to exercise or spend time with their family, but also appreciate getting out of the house and going to a dedicated space to collaborate with colleagues.”
Support Local Businesses
The ability to work remotely and relocate to a new city has huge financial implications: 67% of workers who can work from home are high-income earners. As these remote workers move to smaller cities and towns, they’re bringing extra cash to spend in their new communities. And because they’re working from home or at on-demand coworking spaces like Daybase, they need places to go during the day—restaurants, daycare centers, gyms, coffee shops, etc, which is drastically affecting local business.
“For small businesses, the influx of remote workers is a good thing as it’s a totally new foot traffic source,” says Denning Jackson. “On the other hand, new customers might mean more staffing during the day, so there could be some growing pains and frictions in adjusting. But ultimately, remote work opens up tremendous opportunities and additional revenue, which is wonderful for these communities.”
It’s still important to note that the financial disparities between the white-collar remote workers and those in the service industry can be detrimental to the community as a whole. For people moving to smaller towns and cities, it is essential to make sure the money they’re bringing in isn’t driving other people out.
Make Sure You Can Stay for a While
Packing up your life and moving to a new town or city is never easy. In fact, a 2020 survey of 1,000 Americans found that moving is the most stressful event in a person’s life—ahead of having kids and getting a divorce. So it goes without saying that it’s worth it to find a place you love and where you can stay for a long time.
How do you know if a place has long-term potential? “I think it really depends on who you are and where you are in your life stage,” says Denning Jackson. “I have a small child, so my big factor would be childcare in the vicinity.” Is there a great daycare center, for example? You might be young and single, but before you move, it’s worth thinking about what it would be like to raise children in your new city if you think you might want to be a parent in the future.
You also want to factor in your lifestyle and what you enjoy doing while not working. “What's downtown like?” posits Denning Jackson. “Is it a neighborhood that you think is charming or exciting, in terms of what you're looking for? I think restaurants would be something that I would personally be interested in.”
For other people, access to nature might be a priority, or the space to go for a run or have a nice park to picnic in. Many of us grow out of the bar and club scene eventually, so don’t let “hip” and “cool” be your only deciding factors.
Work Outside Your Home if Possible
Hopefully, we all know by now that working remotely doesn’t (always) mean working from bed. Working remotely can mean working from the park, a coffee shop, or an on-demand coworking space like Daybase. The value of getting out of the house to work is about getting a new perspective, separating your personal from your professional, meeting new people, and making connections in your neighborhood. If you moved to a new city or town but never left your house, what was the point of moving at all?
Make Friends IRL
One of the biggest parts of being happy with your choice to relocate is making friends in your new town or city. This means getting off of Instagram and out into the real world. You can meet people out at night, at your coworking space during the day, or at the local dog park. But you have to get out there, one way or another. Denning Jackson’s favorite place to meet people is old school, but reliable. “Social media on its own is powerful in building community; however, local institutions do a lot of the heavy lifting, too. The public library, for example, has been a mainstay in building communities in places across the U.S. for decades, and they have tremendous assets, from children’s literacy programs to adult education to professional development that do a lot for the neighborhood."
Not a library person? Try joining a local soccer league or starting a networking happy hour based out of your coworking space. We here at Daybase would certainly support that. Get creative, and stay busy. You may have relocated to work remotely, but work can’t be all there is.