The number of people moving to work remotely in 2021 is staggering

Work-from-home-mandates were among the earliest additions of our new normal.

Most US based corporations were initially ambivalent about how long they intended to commit to out-of-office operations. But as the pandemic progressed (and commercial markets regressed) the same ambivalence began to favor the long-term benefits of telework. This appreciation appears to be shared by employers and laborers in equal measure.

For the former, reductions in real estate, employee training, and recruitment costs are leading indicators of telework’s efficiency.

According to a recent study from the International Telework Association and Council, teleworking additionally yields a 20% decrease in employee turnover rates and a 60% decrease in employee absenteeism.

Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and Stripe, are currently allowing their employees to decide whether or not they want to work remotely permanently.

The incentives to seriously consider doing so are a title more varied among the working class. For some, anxiety surrounding coronavirus transmission is enough to discourage dense work commutes and indoor work stations. This factor has been amplified by recent reports of national case surges. A comparable majority values the freedom remote work affords their personal lives.

A new survey published by Upwork last Thursday revealed that 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to abandon busy urban life thanks to remote work opportunities.  More than 40% of these are moving more than four hours away.

In response, some companies have floated the idea of leveraging permanant remote work access with wage decreases.

In fairness, the primary reason we put up with smog, obscene living costs, and trust fund DJs is the volume of work and the quality of recreation metropolitan life can bring. The pandemic has severely wounded both.

So workers looking to reclaim their presence of mind in cheaper locales are having to decide how much this goal is worth to them.

Employees who decide to leave San Jose and San Francisco could potentially shoulder an average pay decrease between 21% and 24.6%. The exact figure may vary, but similar negotiation tactics are picking up momentum among the managerial class.

“Over the past several months, Covid-19 has shaken traditional notions of where employees can work. In Silicon Valley, which has a relatively high cost of living and an employee base with access to state-of-the-art remote-work tools, companies are devising plans for a future with decentralized staffs. In some cases, changes can include cutting salaries by 15% or more depending on where someone moves,” Katherine Bindley and Eliot Brown of the Washington Post reports.

The kind of exodus inspiring projected wage cuts around the country has been predicted by many before.

While serving as secretary of state (and record keeper of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793) Thomas Jefferson was confident that persisting communal outbreaks would bring an end to city life.

“Everybody who can is flying from the city, and the panic of the country people is likely to add famine to disease. Practical to prevent its [yellow fever] generation by building our cities on a more open plan,” Jefferson wrote of Philipehdia mass exodus.

A new study conducted by the Siena College Research Institute between July 13–August 3, 2020, determined that 44% of high-earning New York citizens have been actively considering re-locating in the last four months.

“Residents who earn $100,000 or more make up 80% of New York City’s income-tax revenue, making the city especially vulnerable to tax-base erosion,” the authors wrote. A substantial share of New York City residents earning more than $100,000 are working from home, have considered leaving the city, and show dissatisfaction with the city’s cost of living.

As previously covered by Ladders, the primary reasons concerned, cost of living (69% for general population-among blacks, this figure is closer to 77% and among Hispanics, the figure is roughly 79%), crime (47%), and a desire for a non-urban lifestyle (46%).

Early analysis from Glassdoor supports some concessions made on behalf of a teleworking world. Only time will tell. We can safely assume that remote work will at the very least reduce cluster spreading ahead of an ensuing winter surge, saying nothing of the rehabilitation it offers companies struggling to maintain payroll.

“People are drawing down on their capital stock of previous accumulated relationships,” Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain concluded.
“It’s very hard to rebuild new relationship capital in the work from home environment with people you’ve never met…It’s hard to create serendipity.”