Major U.S. Cities Lose Appeal for Remote Workers

With many people working from home due to the pandemic, business spend is shifting.

July 24, 2020

NEW YORK—The pandemic has shifted more work away from cities to other locations because of companies adapting to COVID-19—and that has the potential to reshape work opportunities around the country, according to a new Upwork study, CNBC reports.

According to Upwork, “remote work will shift the 49% of business spend that is now going to those workers and spread productivity to other talent pools, thus essentially fueling the creation of the largest labor market in the world,” CNBC reports.

Currently, most companies are highly concentrated in the top 15 most expensive places to live, which only have 19% of the U.S. population. The recent move to remote work means the 49% of business spend now going to those workers will be spread out across the United States, according to Upwork’s chief economist Adam Ozimek.

The report, “When Work Goes Remote: How remote work can help bridge the geographic opportunity gap,” says that major tech companies like Facebook and Twitter moving to remote-first hiring policies will significantly impact a wider economy. Already “the shift to remote work caused by the pandemic is starting to flow business spend way beyond the top 15. This will likely not only help bridge the wage gap for the 72% of independent freelance professionals who live outside these places but provide lower costs for businesses than in their local markets,” according to Ozimek, who authored the study.

As noted by Mondelez CEO Van de Put in a recent Bloomberg interview, the shift in consumer behaviors brought about by COVID-19 will have a heavy impact on stores marketing products and services. “We had to adapt our communication because people are sitting at home, and some of the communication we have on our brands is all about getting together with your friends or being out. Well, that doesn’t play a role [now],” Van de Put stated. As a result, many marketers are searching outside of their traditional channels in order to meet the workforce on these new terms, as they are now working from home.