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Working from… where?

May 24, 2020

As our working from home period stretches on (and on), a number of technology companies are revisiting remote workers and looking at the possibility of more of their work force shifting to permanent work from home (or wherever) status.

I’m personally a little skeptical that Google will shift most (or even much) of its work force to permanent work from home status. Sure, we’ve been fairly productive so far. But we’ve largely been executing on previous plans to this point. I suspect where the lack of face-to-face conversations and meetings will really start to bite us is when we shift to making new plans and coming up with new ideas. I personally find it harder to be creative when I can’t easily exchange ideas in casual conversation or jam at a whiteboard when talking an idea through with someone.

But the possibility does raise the question: if you could work from anywhere, where would you want to work from? While the Bay Area does have lovely weather (and we’re appreciating it anew now that we’re spending so much time at home; being able to spend lots of time outdoors is wonderful), the housing prices and traffic are definite downsides.

I could probably spend a couple of happy years working from the San Juans, but the increased isolation would probably drive my wife crazy. Someplace near Tahoe would provide lots of lovely outdoor scenery and opportunities for exercise and fresh air. Some place near Yosemite would make it really easy to take advantage of the park.

Or we could move someplace that would pay us to relocate. Vermont still has a program that will pay you to relocate there for remote work. I’d love to work from Alaska in the summer, but I’m not sure I could take the winter (and the Permanent Fund is probably hurting right now).

Or we could aim for a mid-size city that has reliable internet service, solid cultural institutions (symphony, theater, museums), a variety of tasty restaurants, and affordable housing prices. Ideally one also close to outdoor recreation opportunities and an airport to enable easy travel to other locations.

I don’t expect we’ll leave the Bay Area anytime soon. Among other factors, we want to let our daughter finish school before we relocate. But once she’s off to college, we might find ourselves looking more seriously at where we’d want to live, particularly if work is no longer tied to a specific location.

From → Musings, Travel

  1. Charles permalink

    I’m pretty sure I’d stay in Atlanta.

    • Jeff permalink

      Pretty sure they wouldn’t let the dean work remotely anyway.

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