Is remote work hurting or helping local communities?

The effects remote workers have on communities.
two women remote working by the beach

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Remote work has been applauded for its benefits to employees, providing better work-life balance and more flexibility, among other things. On an individual basis, it seems wonderful, but on a macro level, its effect on communities can vary and it’s left some wondering whether it’s helping or hurting communities. 

Companies like Airbnb are firm in their belief that destinations can greatly benefit from having more remote workers. In a new blog post, the company outlined how big of a socio-economic opportunity remote workers present. For example, Tulsa’s remote worker program generated an additional $20 million in local gross domestic product and $1.6 million in taxes in 2021. 

“Where policy-makers once had to fight to attract entire companies (or even industries), today governments and destination marketing organizations must consider how to recruit individuals and families who can work remotely and how to ensure that the benefits of remote work are felt by the wider community,” Airbnb’s Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer explained. 

Though remote workers have proven beneficial to some communities, the opposite effect can be seen in communities like those in Florida. The state has long been known for attracting retirees, for both its climate and low cost of living, but the tides might be changing. 

As remote workers flock to Florida in droves, the influx of people has increased competitiveness in finding housing, causing prices to soar. Home values in Florida are up 33% from last year in comparison to the 18% nationwide increase. 

Perhaps we won’t know for years just how the pandemic or remote work has affected the workforce or housing market, but it’s clear that the work-from-anywhere lifestyle is here to stay for a while.

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