FILE PHOTO: A man eats breakfast while on a video conference call working from home during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S., April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs//File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

An influx of tech workers relocating to smaller towns during the pandemic has brought a boon to local businesses and city coffers in smaller, more mountainous communities across the U.S. But the injection of wealth in those towns is also driving up housing prices and widening wage gaps. 

Compensation for tech-industry jobs is already $20,000 to $30,000 higher compared to average wages of local workers in places such as Park City, Utah and Boise, Idaho, where tech workers have arrived in droves. In Bozeman, Mont., one real estate agent estimated 95% of her clients come from the Bay Area. Some tech companies, however, may be indirectly helping with the issue, as some responded to employee relocation requests with pay cuts, citing a lower cost of living outside of expensive coastal cities.

Conversely, the sudden shift to remote work is lowering the cost of living in Silicon Valley – the birthplace of tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Intel. In San Francisco, apartment rental prices plunged by up to 31% in the largest year-over-year decline in the country. Some local officials in New York City are voicing support for plans that would rezone now-empty business districts to allow affordable housing development. Critics say that office space is still in high demand, while continued demand for housing could motivate landlords to convert their spaces into luxury condos instead of affordable apartments.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Companies are planning for remote work through 2021 due to Covid, says ServiceNow CEO – CNBC – 10/29/2020
No matter the approach firms are taking now, McDermott said he believes the long-term result will be an office landscape dramatically different from the one employees left in March. “We’re never going back to the way the world once was,” said the former longtime CEO of SAP. “This is the new reality we’re living with, and distributed workforces are a thing of not only the present but also the future.”

When You Can’t Work From Barcelona, Boulder Might Do – Bloomberg – 10/19/2020 But while digital nomads have for the most part been stuck in their own countries since then, there appear to be far more of them than ever before. After a survey of 3,457 U.S. adults conducted this July and August, MBO Partners, which provides services to independent professionals, estimated there were 10.9 million digital nomads in the U.S. this year versus 7.3 million in 2019, a 49% increase.

Cost of living: These 20 cheap American cities are seeing a boom in move-ins this year – USA TODAY – 11/1/2020
Many people moved away from virus hotspots or left cities because they lost their jobs amid the pandemic. Many Americans likely looked for somewhere they could stretch their savings, relocating to places where the cost of living is relatively low.

Nothing Is Remotely The Same: How Telework Could Bridge The Cybersecurity Talent Gap – Forbes – 11/2/2020.
In the past, companies were bound by geographic limitations, forced to find the best talent in their market to work in a physical office. With the move to remote work, however, this hurdle is removed, freeing up organizations to hire the best talent for the job regardless of where they are physically located.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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