The daily grind looks different to everyone. But for remote employees, the lack of a commute lends them a little more freedom. On some days, office is the coffee shop around the corner, the couch in their parent’s basement, the guest room they refurbished into an office when their boss decided to cut overhead expenses. For me, it’s the hotel room in St. Kitts I’m currently typing in, soft rain pattering against the window.
Regardless of where you’re working now, working from home is a trend that’s on the rise.
In 2016, 22% of employed Americans did some, or all of their work at home. And this 22% are doing pretty well.
According to a 2016 survey of remote workers, about 91% feel they’re more productive than when they’re in an office. They also said that they are more satisfied with their jobs and happier than when they worked in an office.
So where do you live when you can work anywhere? After all, the only thing you really need is great Wi-Fi. But since that can be found nearly anywhere on the planet these days, it doesn’t really help narrow it down. Sure, we’d all love to work from an air-conditioned treehouse in Bali on the cheap, but for many — especially those who travel occasionally, or need to maintain time zone work hours — that’s not feasible.
That’s why we’ve compiled the five best cities to live in the United States when you work from home.
Charlotte, North Carolina
The Queen City is an economic hotspot that’s known for its banking industry, which is ideal if you’re in the business of finance. But despite its banking prowess, the city is relatively affordable. Monthly rent for a 900 sq.ft. furnished accommodation is $1,058 — just a third of what it costs for the same in San Francisco. Not to mention the city is green and charming — the perfect place to walk while on your morning meeting calls. The temperature is moderate, ranging between 44-76 degrees. Not too hot, not too cold — all you need is a light jacket. Factor in the booming food scene, easy access to public transportation, and its array of cultural festivals and you’ve got yourselves a winner.
Kansas City, Missouri
The city straddles two states — Kansas and Missouri, but the Missouri side may be a better option for remote workers. It’s relatively affordable to live in, with revitalized neighborhoods offering cool lofts and condos at a fraction of what you’d pay in Brooklyn, NY. The vibe is urban despite its, well, midwest location. Google Fiber offers free high-speed internet to all, which will save remote workers money and the hassle of finding the best Wi-Fi. Plus the new (and free!) trolley system makes navigating the city streets convenient, potentially saving you from needing a car. And when you’re not working? Every first Friday, the Crossroads neighborhood showcases more than 100 independent art studios for an open house. There’s live music, theater, food trucks, and more. In case, you know, you need a break from all of the remote work you’re busy doing!
St. Petersburg, Florida
If you can work anywhere, why not work on a beach? St. Petersburg offers a much chiller vibe than other coastal cities (ahem, Miami), at a fraction of the price. Nicknamed “The Sunshine City,” in the Sunshine State, you guessed it — it’s sunny, with an average of 361 days of sunshine a year. Live in a historic home, or a high rise for an average of $927 a month (yes, you read that right). And since it takes just half an hour to get to the Tampa International Airport, you can get wherever you need to go quick. Not that you’ll ever want to leave.
The Lone Star state is a great place to live for remote employees, especially if you choose Austin. The city is booming with tech and business, but is still surprisingly affordable. The cost of living is 6% below the national average with low rental averages and high home value for owners. WalletHub ranked it #6 this year in the best US cities to live in, with high scores for affordability, quality of life, and safety. It’s laid-back, lush, and millennials, especially, love it (possibly for its job growth, since it is ranked the best city to start careers – but most likely for its live music and food scene). Imagine getting the world’s best BBQ delivered right to your door for lunch. That sure beats a cold sandwich in the arctic break room that smells like someone’s leftovers any day of the week.
Want west coast living at a fraction of the price? Enter, Tucson. Sure, it’s hot, but it’s still an average of 10 degrees cooler than its sister metropolis Phoenix. Plus, there are mountains in every direction, making it ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who like to bike, run, or hike before or after (or during?) their workday. The University of Arizona is located here, offering culture and sports. Just six hours away from Southern California, it gives remote workers a peaceful place to get stuff done, with a quick access to the beach, Disneyland, Las Vegas, and other getaways. Known by some as the “Astronomy capital of the world,” Tucson is a place where you can connect to Wi-Fi, and then disconnect, under a sea of the stars.
Do you work remotely? We want to know where you’re reading this from, and why you love it.