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Navigating the New Normal: America’s Premier Cities for Telecommuters

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Sometimes, all you really need is a laptop and a decent Wi-Fi connection to get the day’s work done. However, truly effective remote work that’s sustainable in the long run requires a little more than that — and a bit more still if you also want to enjoy the benefits of remote work to the max.

In the end, the quality and availability of the perks can make a world of difference, and that’s exactly what the latest CoworkingCafe study analyzed in an effort to find the best city in the U.S. for remote workers.

A graphic showing the best cities for remote workers in the U.S.

To compare and rank the cities, the study’s authors considered 11 factors that influence remote work’s success and its influence on people’s personal lives. For an easier overview, these metrics were grouped into four categories depending on which aspect of the telecommuter lifestyle they influenced the most — remote work culture; economy and finances; internet connectivity; and urban infrastructure.

Let’s explore the top 10 cities that offer the best overall environment for remote work to flourish:

A graphic showing the best cities for remote workers in the U.S.

  1. Atlanta, GA
    Atlanta emerged as the best city for remote work by scoring 72.3 points out of the maximum of 100. One of its highest-scoring metrics was its share of remote workers: just less than 30% of the city’s workforce were telecommuters, which demonstrates a well-developed remote work culture. And, with 22 Atlanta coworking spaces for every 100,000 residents, the Big Peach also had the highest density of flex offices in the nation, as well as an abundance of public Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city.
  2. Seattle, WA
    Seattle secured the second spot, largely due to a thriving remote work culture with 36% of its working population telecommuting. The city also offers competitive salaries, and its proximity to multiple airports is another key advantage for hybrid employees who want to enjoy the perks of the Seattle job market without living in the city 24/7.
  3. Arlington, VA
    Arlington stood out in the ranking thanks to its $87,000 median income (the highest recorded in the nation), a substantial 35.8% share of remote workers and a record-low unemployment rate of just 2%. Furthermore, high-speed internet availability was also one of the city’s strong points with broadband connections available at 99.2% of Arlington addresses.
  4. Washington, D.C.Although Washington, D.C. missed the podium, it ranked second for coworking space availability with 14 flex offices per 100,000 residents. In fact, it even surpassed Atlanta with its nearly 34% share of remote workers. Moreover, by boasting a prominent Walk Score, the nation’s capital also offers a highly livable environment, which is ideal for minimizing commute time. Similarly, the $74,436 median income was another strong argument for D.C.
  5. San Francisco, CA
    San Francisco emerged as the best West Coast city for remote workers by earning important points for the metrics evaluating after-hours benefits, such as its famously walkable streets, vibrant culture and accessibility to four airports within a 70-mile radius.
  6. Scottsdale, AZ
    Scottsdale excelled in the economic metrics with its prominent $61,500 median income, as well as its 2.6% unemployment rate, which suggests excellent job security. The Phoenix-area city also boasted a mature remote work culture with 34% of the workforce telecommuting, in addition to a solid network with internet speeds averaging 495 Mbps.
  7. Denver, CO
    Although Denver didn’t earn the pole position for any of the individual metrics, it nevertheless scored consistently high across the board and landed in 7th place overall. Specifically, the city offers 99.1% broadband Internet coverage and the third-highest density of flex offices on the nation with 11 coworking spaces per 100,000 residents.
  8. Austin, TX
    Austin shined in the economy subcategory, mostly due to its 3% unemployment rate. That said, it also received high scores across all subgroups, making it one of the safest bets for telecommuters looking for a balanced lifestyle.
  9. Minneapolis, MN
    As the nation’s leader in a previous CoworkingCafe study ranking the best cities for work/life balance, it wasn’t too surprising to see Minneapolis in the top 10 best remote work havens. That’s because the city offers an affordable cost of living, great connectivity and numerous entertainment options. Minneapolis also ranked third for broadband Internet coverage.
  10. Pittsburgh, PA
    Finally, Pittsburgh rounded out the top 10. It was aided by its strong coworking infrastructure (on par with Denver’s 11 flex offices for every 100,000 residents), prices hovering just below the national average (outdone by only Minneapolis within the top 10), and an inviting entertainment scene. 
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Final Thoughts

In the world of remote work, flexibility is key, but not all places provide an ideal mix of work/life balance. In truth, location can significantly influence the remote work experience (depending on the available infrastructure, as well as the stability and prosperity of economic factors).

Therefore, an enriching environment remains just as crucial in the era of remote work as before — or perhaps even more so if we want to reap all of the benefits of the telecommuter lifestyle.

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Coworking Insights is the go-to source for trends, data, advice and insights for coworking industry professionals.

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