More Americans have moved from the big cities to live in a more rural and remote parts of the country in the past year. For some, it is a way to take advantage of the freedom of working from anywhere, while others chose to relocate to save money, as pandemic-related job losses left them no choice. Moving to rural America has been a great career move for folks who quit their corporate jobs to chase their entrepreneurial dream.
As the idea of decoupling where a person lives from where he works continues to run free, you too might find yourself gravitating towards a lifestyle that favors remote working.
…But should you?
We now consider the cons and pros of remote working.
- Freedom and Flexibility: Remote workers enjoy freedom. Because they set their work hours, they fit family time and socialization into their daily routine. This has contributed to increased motivation and productivity in their workflow.
- Cost-saving: Going to work incurs costs on transportation, lunch, snacks, Starbucks coffee, work clothes, and contributions for a colleague's birthday presents. Honestly, the list is endless. Remote working also saves money on childcare costs as parents get to spend more time with their kids. Thus, there is no longer a need to pay babysitters or nannies as they often would when going to work or meetings. Money saved on these expenses could easily add up to a substantial amount. This creates more disposable income for other commitments.
- Peace: A traditional office can be noisy and distracting. Phones ringing, office gossip, and the sound of walking. From a social standpoint, this is great. But it can be distracting and annoying when trying to get some work done. And for people who need to work in total silence. Working remotely, particularly from home, offers peace. The silence allows creativity and productivity.
Personalize workspace: You get what everyone gets—a cubicle in traditional offices. But if you are lucky or high ranking, you get a shared space or your own private office. But even at that, you don’t have the freedom to make the space as bright as possible. At best, you get to hang a few awards or pictures. No way they let you paint the space or change wallpapers.
Remote workers can personalize their home offices to give them character and reflect their personality. You can put up pictures and choose wallpapers and countless plants. It's about creating a personalized space that motivates you to work.
- Location: Remote working is not limited to working from home. Remote workers don’t have to live in a city they are not in love with because of their jobs. As long as you have a good internet connection, you can work from any location in the world. Remote working can be very helpful for people with spouses who work in different cities. If a spouse has a work project in a particular location, remote working allows partners to keep their jobs or ease the transition.
- Communication gaps and Trust: There can be miscommunication between colleagues or clients working remotely. And relying on messaging and video calls to communicate may not be as effective as talking to someone sitting next to you. This communication gap can easily become a roadblock to team collaboration. Also, clients might be reluctant to trust your services with the communication gap. It's not easy to build trust remotely.
- Isolation and loneliness: Quite different from the traditional office where colleagues socialize in the hallway, elevator, parking lot, and office parties. On their way to and back from work, they interact with people at gas stations, coffee shops, and restaurants. People who work from home miss out on these conversations.
- Difficult to stay motivated: There is no active supervision in remote work. Therefore, it can be difficult to meet targets. Without someone looking over your shoulder, you could develop procrastination.
Cybersecurity concerns: When you work online, security is always the priority. And if you have access to important company information, getting hacked becomes a big complication. When remote workers work from co-working spaces, coffee shops, or other locations with public Wi-Fi, there is an increased risk of getting hacked. Before considering remote working, anticipate security disasters and consider improving your cybersecurity.
- Unstable/inconsistent internet: Power outages and slow internet are a downside to remote working. People in crowded locations or buildings with many people working from home may experience slow speeds, buffering, poor audio, and poor video connections. When you work from anywhere, you might find yourself in a remote location without power or internet is very high.
After examining the cons and pros of working remotely, should you decide on chasing your work-from-anywhere dream, where do you go?
We began this article by talking about the rural migration trend among Americans. We highlight why rural America is a popular location for remote workers. And why it could make a perfect home for you too.
Why You Should Consider Moving To Rural America
The space: Unlike the big cities, apartment buildings are not popular in rural areas. And it's hard to stay inspired or motivated when you live in a small apartment and work from a couch. Accommodation options in rural communities are majorly farmhouses and bungalows. There is more land space for your kids and pets to run or a place to raise animals or grow crops. The space provides an option for a personalized home office.
Rural communities also offer a better connection to nature. Because there are fewer properties and houses, there are typically more intact natural elements in these regions. You might have access to lakes, rivers, and hiking trails.
More affordable accommodation: Whether you are staying in a hotel or house, accommodation per square feet in rural America is cheaper than what you’d find in the city. Home prices have skyrocketed in recent years. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the median home price in the U.S. jumped 17.5% between December 2020 and December 2021. While rural homes were no exception to this increase, their prices are still relatively affordable compared to some popular cities. In January 2022, Redfin data shows the average price for a rural home as $290,592. 16% over the previous year, but still a long haul from prices in the suburbs at just over $330,000–$400,000 or more.
By moving to a rural community, you spend less on accommodation. This frees up some cash for you to invest in a home office and upgrade your work equipment. Better tech would improve your workflow.
More privacy and quiet: With apartment buildings in the big city, you typically share ceilings, walls, and floors with neighbors. And with that, it's hard not to hear the conversations in your neighbor’s apartment. And even when you buy a house in the suburbs, you’d still deal with Noisy dogs, car alarms going off, the endless weekend parties, fireworks on the 4th of July, and kids screaming ‘trick or treats on Halloween. All these can be distracting for someone who works from home.
Rural living is for you if you love a quieter life. The little to zero noise in rural areas helps remote workers work better. You could buy farmland far from other residents or find affordable accommodation in the less dense communities. A good couple of acres between you and your neighbor is guaranteed.
Healthy living: Rural areas aren’t plagued by smoke and smog or car horns blaring and alarms going off. The air is clear, crisp, and exhaust-free. And you breathe clean air — a benefit to both your health and your mind.
Because rural residents grow their food, you are always sure of eating fresh organic produce. Also, with fewer restaurants and fast food in rural communities, you tend to cook your meals, which is honestly a healthier option.
Because rural residents live a healthier life, they fall sick less. Remote workers living in rural places can concentrate on work without taking sick days.
Whether moving to rural America is an elaborate plan or a result of circumstances, one thing is sure. The sense of community found in rural areas, low cost of living, and serenity have ensured that the rural migration trend stays. And for remote workers, it is an absolute first pick.