Remote Work Allowing Many Americans to Move

( A recent survey conducted by Upwork concluded that nearly 19 million Americans plan to relocate because they can work remotely.

The pandemic response initially forced many companies to permit employees to work from home. But even with the pandemic waning, many employees have continued to work remotely.

Upwork found 9.3 percent of 23,000 people surveyed planned to pick up stakes and move somewhere else. When translated to the wider population, that would be 18.9 million people. In October 2020, only 6.1 percent of respondents had designs on relocating.

According to Upwork, 2.4 percent, or 4.9 million people, have already relocated since 2020 because of remote work.

The change has resulted in higher home prices as many professionals are leaving expensive cities for more affordable areas. Cities with a high cost of living and more remote jobs, like New York and San Francisco, are more likely to experience this kind of out-migration.

Of the 9.3 percent of respondents planning to relocate, Upwork found 28 percent are moving more than four hours away while 13 percent plan to relocate between two and four hours away.

According to Dr. Adam Ozimek, Upwork chief economist, the survey results suggest either many more long-distance moves as a result of remote work or the moves will primarily consist of relocations out of city centers to nearby suburbs.

The key assumption of the latter theory is that a hybrid work model will predominate. A hybrid work model requires employees to spend part of their time in the office and the rest of the time working remotely. In this situation, employees would not be relocating too far away since they still have to spend part of their week in the office.

Ozimek said it is likely the number of people who have already relocated is “just the start of a larger reshuffle.” But what people say they plan to do isn’t necessarily what they will do, Ozimek explained. And that needs to be taken into account as well.

However, Ozimek said, the data continues to suggest workers are planning to move because of the flexibility of working remotely.