The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way a lot of things in society operate, some of which will never return to the way they were pre-pandemic. One of these was the option to work at home. Many people around the world had to suddenly switch gears and go from working in an office setting with coworkers to working remotely in the comfort of their home. And get comfortable they did, with many remote workers saying they enjoyed the benefits of working from home and would like to work remotely from home all or most of the time once the pandemic is over.
The team at Certinia wanted to find the areas of the U.S. where the most people worked at home during the pandemic as well as the areas of the country that saw the biggest increase in people working remotely during the first year of the pandemic compared to the prior year of “normalcy.” To do this, the team analyzed data from the 2016-2020 American Community Survey, an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. They found the metropolitan and the micropolitan areas that had the highest rate of remote work-from-home jobs throughout the entirety of 2020 and compared the 2020 rates against 2019’s to find where remote work had increased the most during the first year of the pandemic. To be considered a metropolitan statistical area, it must have at least one urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000, and a micropolitan statistical area must have one urban area with a population of more than 10,000 but less than 50,000 people. Read on to see where the most Americans worked at home during the pandemic.
The major city where the most people worked at home during the pandemic was in Boulder, Colorado, with 16.1% of the metro area’s population having worked from home in 2020. Of the 20 metropolitan areas we identified as having the highest populations of people that worked at home online, many of these areas were along the eastern and western coasts, as well as throughout the state of Colorado. The state’s high percentages come as no surprise, as one study found that Colorado has the best environment for working from home.
Of the micropolitan areas, Vineyard Haven, MA, came out on top, with 17.7% of the population having worked from home in 2020. This was also the highest percentage of remote working in any metropolitan or micropolitan area in the country. Once again, Colorado was found to have the most micropolitan areas in the top 20. In fact, the entire Rocky Mountain region had the majority of the highest rates of people who work remotely. Could the driving dangers that come with commuting to work through such a mountainous region be the reason for this trend?
A major effect the pandemic had on the work force was the need to adapt quickly to working from home, as many companies began sending people home and states began to enforce mandatory lockdowns to slow the spread of COVID-19. Which parts of the U.S. saw the biggest increase in people working from home after the start of the pandemic? For the metro and micro areas in the country, we compared the percentages of people who worked from home in 2019 to the percentages who worked online from home in 2020 to find the largest increases between the two. Some of the biggest tech hubs in the U.S., such as San Francisco, Seattle, and around New York City, were found to have the largest increase in remote workers during the first year of the pandemic. And Vineyard Haven, MA, was at the top of the micropolitan area list yet again with the largest increase in remote workers, as their rate increased 5.2% from 12.5% in 2019 to 17.7% of the population that worked remotely throughout 2020.
Need help figuring out how to work from home and stay productive? WFH may not be the ideal situation for everyone; some may struggle with concentrating or staying on task without a manager around to guide them. If this sounds like you, there are many tips for working from home that can be implemented into your work day to help you stay on task and remain a productive member of your team.
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