best states for remote work

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With 20% of all professional jobs remote as of the beginning of 2022 and more than a third of households teleworking more frequently than before the pandemic, assessing where one should work has become an interesting choice. CNBC and WalletHub have both done a “10 Best States for Remote Work” that couldn’t be more different. The criteria you prioritize will and should make a list completely different as well. Here are two ways to assess your best states for remote work.

CNBC 10 Best States for Remote Work

CNBC used 15 metrics to determine the most desirable states for remote work including broadband connectivity, electrical grid reliability, health and health care, sustainability in the face of climate change, environmental quality, inclusiveness, housing market, cost of living and the tax burden. Clearly this list was heavily impacted by low taxes and low cost as only two high cost of living states made their top ten list. At 9 and 10 were Washington and Illinois.

The rest were all low cost of living states and low tax states with low rankings in inclusiveness and sustainability. One through seven were North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa and Tennessee.

WalletHub 10 Best States for Remote Work

WalletHub’s list placed far more emphasis on the home work environment as well as keeping a strong living environment. Internet access and cybersecurity were important but they also heavily weighted the fact that certain states had the largest percentage of teleworkers. If telework was already widely practiced didn’t that indicate that the state was one of the best states for remote work by default?

New Jersey and Utah have the largest percentage of teleworkers and are month the states with the best work from home environments and ranked #1 and #6 respectively. The District of Columbia has the largest portion of households with one or more members moving some remote work during the pandemic at 61.8% according to the Census Bureau and ranked #2 on WalletHub’s list. Connecticut and Massachusetts had the highest household internet access and ranked #4 and #5 as a result. Delaware was #3, Texas #7 and Washington, Maryland and New York were #8, #9 and #10 respectively.

Washington was the only state that appeared on both top 10 best states for remote work.

Forbes Best Cities for Remote Work

Forbes took an entirely different track than the CNBC or WalletHub focusing on the natural beauty and incentive programs offered by cities. Portland, Maine topped their list because it has both. Portland is a beautiful coastal city with charming architecture and proximity to spectacular nature wile offering the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit. This credit is a student loan reimbursement for anyone who lives and works in Main and graduated with a degree from any school in the U.S. after 2015.

Boulder, Colorado was high on Forbes list partly because U.S. News listed it as the number one best place to live in America for 2020-2021. Tulsa, Oklahoma has one of the best incentive programs for remote workers. Tulsa Remote tries to entice young professionals with an incentive grant up to $10,000 and a willingness to cover relocation expenses as well as monthly stipends to help cover housing and living expenses. They have events and programming as well to foster a sense of community for young professionals.

Burlington, Vermont was in their top five for the same two reasons: natural beauty of the area and the town and aggressive incentive programs to entice workers to relocate. Number 5 Tucson, Arizona made the list due to a very reasonable cost of living which is 8% below the national average and an average home cost of under $200,000. Of course a thriving arts scene and majestic natural beauty were also important to Forbes.

You may choose to include proximity to family as one of your criteria for the best states for remote work.

Interested in discussing your workplace options? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Actuarial Science Executive Recruiter, Rory Hauser at rhauser@smithhanley.com.


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