3 of 4 of People Would Move If They Could Work From Home Permanently, According to One Survey

published May 22, 2021
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Whether it’s your kitchen counter or a quiet spot in the basement, you’ve likely created a spot to work at home during the pandemic. Just as you’ve gotten used to Zooming in pajama pants, companies are exploring their returns to the traditional office space. The team at CapRelo surveyed Americans on how COVID-19 has affected their work lives, and the findings proved to be quite interesting. 

It’s obvious that the pandemic has changed the workplace and how we exist within it. 82 percent of the 1,100 people surveyed said their primary workspace changed for an extended period during the pandemic. But for some people, the ability to work remotely has proven to be something they’d like to continue. Almost 66 percent of respondents said they would agree to lose some pay if they could work remotely in any place of their choosing. Clearly, if respondents felt so strongly about remote work that they’d be willing to part with a portion of their income, flexibility is incredibly desirable. 

When we think of remote work, we often think of someone nestled in a cozy home office. But for many people, the idea of remote work goes far beyond staying close to home. 3 in 4 respondents said they would consider moving if given the opportunity to work remotely post-pandemic. When asked for their reasoning behind that, 64.3 percent said a more affordable cost of living would be the most attractive aspect. 51.2 percent said they’d go where the weather is, seeking a better climate for their personal taste. 47.2 percent said remote work would allow them to be closer to family, and 38.3 percent said they’d head somewhere that allows them better access to their hobbies and interests. Other reasons people cited for moving post-pandemic included tax benefits, increased health and safety standards, and a general change in scenery.

If you could pick up and move anywhere, where would you go? When asked what kind of move best describes where they would most like to live and work if allowed to do so, 40.7 percent of respondents said they’d choose a different city that is three hours or less away from their current home. 28.3 percent said they’d choose somewhere further away than just those 3 hours, while 16.3 percent said they’d chose a different city that’s still a part of their geographic region. Of course, some respondents said they’d take the opportunity to head to an entirely new country. 28.7 percent of respondents said they would choose to head to Europe. Asia proved to be a popular pick, with 23.2 percent of respondents saying they’d choose to move there to work remotely. 18.4 percent said they’d choose the United States, and 14.2 percent said they’d stay on the same continent they currently live on.

Moving to an entirely different country may seem like a major endeavor, but it’s an option that many remote workers would go for. If given the opportunity to work remotely full-time and relocate, 59 percent of respondents said they would choose to move to a different country. Of course, there are certain concerns that would prevent people from doing so. 47.5 percent of people said the distance from family and friends would be their biggest concern, followed by 43.9 percent who cited language barriers. 33.5 percent mentioned the time difference between themselves and coworkers as a problem, followed by 33.5 percent who cited cultural barriers. Other reasons people gave included tax and other documentation and citizenship paperwork or issues. 

There’s plenty of pluses for heading to a new country, of course. 58.6 percent of respondents said the tremendous life experience it would provide would be their greatest motivation for moving. 55.9 percent said a better financial situation would be their main objective, while 50.8 percent said exposure to a new culture would be one of their greatest motivations. Other bonuses of heading to a new country included 37.3 percent who wanted to enjoy the local food and exotic cuisine, and 28.7 percent who would like to be closer to friends and family.

One of the most common concerns for employers when it comes to having their staff work remotely is the issue of productivity. But some people have learned throughout the pandemic that, in fact, working from home hasn’t hindered their ability to work successfully. In fact, 58 percent of respondents said their productivity has increased while working remotely vs. in person. 22.4 percent of respondents said their productivity levels were the same, while 19.8 percent said they’re less productive when working remotely. When asked their feelings about remote work, 57.7 percent said they prefer it to in-person work. On the other side, 28.4 percent said they prefer in-person work to remote. But when it comes to planning for the future, many employees say the ability to work remotely is something they’d consider when making future employment decisions. 48.4 percent said that it was “very important,” while 24.4 percent went with “somewhat important.” Just 2.8 percent said the idea was not important at all.