I’ve written a few times about the changes that remote work will bring to local economies and cities over the next few years. Whether not all the Silicon Valley bros head to Miami or not, it’s clear that the winds of change are in the air.
One of the things I am most excited about is not the possibility of talent and big names heading to places like Denver (Palantir), Austin (Oracle), and Miami, but rather what this could mean for smaller towns. Particularly, places that have historically been great places to live but have offered few economic opportunities. The places people grow up in, love, but eventually leave to find greener pastures and better jobs.
I think the next few years will represent a unique opportunity for cities and states to re-invent themselves or develop programs to make themselves more attractive to remote workers. Some places won’t have any issues with this — many classic mountain towns are already seeing huge influxes of new residents. Think Tahoe, Aspen, Jackson, among many others. Some less “classically” popular destinations (I say this as someone who puts outdoor access high on my list — some people don’t need mountains in their backyard) are likely to throw their hat in the ring for these workers as well. Some are offering incentives to move, investing in infrastructure, or even tax rebates. I’m excited to see how this develops, but in the meantime, here are a few!
A popular destination for east-coast road-trips in the fall, Vermont is trying to attract more full-time residents with their relocation program. If you value access to nature, skiing, and an inexpensive lifestyle, Vermont might be for you.
- Grants range from $400 to $5,000
- Currently application window is fully subscribed, but the legislature is evaluating budget for 2021 programs
- New residents were primarily motivated by access to outdoor recreation and nature (83%), a great place to raise a family (69%) and the remote worker grant program itself (58%)
- Read more in their 2020 recap report.
While Alaska doesn’t have an explicit program to attract remote workers, once you’ve been a resident for at least a year you’ll be eligible for the Alaska Permanent Fund. The fund distributes dividends to residents every year and can range from ~$900-$2000 a year. As far as access to adventure goes…it’s Alaska. I spent a week around Anchorage a few years ago and there are SO MANY awesome things to do within 1.5 hours of Anchorage. Like, a *stupid* amount of stuff. The state is a playground for folks who love the outdoors.
Tulsa has one of the most robust remote work incentive programs in the country. To be eligible, individuals must be 18 or older, live outside Oklahoma, be able to work remotely and be able to move to Tulsa within six months. They also must be legally able to work in the U.S.
- $10,000 cash
- Free desk space
- Apartment deals for remote workers
- They also tout a low cost of living, significant investments in urban green space and a welcoming and supportive community.
In an effort to attract more tech workers, the Savannah Economic Development Authority is offering $2,000 in moving expenses. Not only is the city beautiful, but there’s great access to cool spots nearby like Hilton Head and the Boneyard Beaches. The cost of living in Savannah is 10% less than the national average, according to PayScale.com, and the cost of housing is 33% less.
Maine offers a unique tax credit that encourages people with a college degree to live and work in Maine. There is some variability based on the level of degree and the year you graduated, but as an example, 2019 bachelors degree graduates are eligible for up to a $4,404 tax credit.