While working in a traditional office definitely has its perks - like easy access to printers and copiers, conference rooms for team meetings, and free coffee in the office kitchen - many 9-to-5ers fantasize about a career shift that would allow them to work anywhere they like, whether a co-working space, a coffee shop, or the comfort of their own beds. In today’s increasingly digital world, remote work is more popular than ever, allowing a larger percentage of workers to choose their own locale. Whether you’re a freelancer or a salaried off-site employee, these 10 US cities feature amenities, communities, and WiFi speeds that cater to those who work remotely.
1. Portland, OR
With its creative energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and thriving cafe culture, Portland features a work culture for every type of employee. Remote workers find this laid-back town especially appealing for its plethora of public-WiFi locations - 650 and counting! - at coffee shops like Heart Coffee Roasting, co-working spaces like CNTRL Office, and taxpayer-funded buildings like the Multnomah County Library. Statewide, Oregon boasts one of the highest percentages of remote workers in the country, so they’re definitely doing something right.
2. San Francisco, CA
Once a bohemian beacon and now a tech-industry hotspot, San Francisco includes numerous amenities for those who work out-of-office. “Digital nomads” congregate in this coastal city for its networking opportunities; aspiring Silicon Valley tech superstars feed off of each others’ energy, making San Francisco a great place to meet new collaborators and co-workers, even without the built-in community of a home office. Cost of living can be stratospheric here; San Francisco currently tops national lists of the most expensive American cities. But if you have some cash to burn and place value on great WiFi and a strong remote-work culture, the City by the Bay could be perfect for you.
3. Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, like San Francisco, benefits from a thriving tech-startup scene, opening up plenty of positions (both remote and on-site) for workers in that field. Because skilled tech employees are in high-demand these days, they have an easier time negotiating remote-work situations, and Phoenix’s fast internet speeds, warm temperatures, and relatively-low cost of living in comparison to West Coast destinations like San Francisco and Los Angeles adds to the Arizona capital’s appeal among work-from-homers.
4. Denver, CO
Denver features one of the nation’s highest percentages of remote workers, and for good reason. With a generally high quality-of-life quotient, a sizable number of WiFi-equipped coffeeshops and co-working spaces, and major companies like Chipotle and Molson Coors headquartered in Denver, the city makes an excellent home base for digital nomads.
5. Dallas, TX
With a lower cost of living than other high-profile telecommuting hubs like San Francisco and New York City, Dallas takes some financial pressure off of its remote workers, upping its desirability factor. Throw in a diverse population of over 7 million, rapid download speeds, and a strong business community, and you’ve got an ideal situation for working outside the office.
6. Austin, TX
Dallas isn’t the only Lone Star city with solid remote-working potential. In recent years, Texas’ capital witnessed record-breaking population growth, nearly doubling its remote-worker percentage in the process. Large companies headquartered in Austin (such as Dell) offer generous telecommuting policies, and the city’s been investing in its high-speed internet access, providing those setting up shop in Austin coffeeshops and co-working spaces with seamless browsing and web-conference capabilities.
7. Milwaukee, WI
Like Dallas, Milwaukee offers accessible rent pricing (one-bedroom apartments typically go for under $1000 a month), making it an easy sell for budget-conscious freelancers. Milwaukee is home to over a dozen colleges and universities, so you’re never far from a cafe with speedy WiFi. If you’re looking for an office or coworking rental, Milwaukee has plenty of reasonably-priced options, including local favorites like Ward4 and HUDSON.
8. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta’s relatively-low costs and plentiful centers of higher education bear similarities to Milwaukee’s remote-working benefits, and off-site employees in Atlanta also see enormous savings in terms of commute times and gas (more than in any other US city, in fact). When it comes to cities full of aspiring telecommuters, Atlanta currently leads the pack, so if you want to work remotely in this Southern metropolis, you’ll be in good company.
9. Tampa, FL
Another affordable town with strong infrastructure for remote workers, Tampa telecommuters enjoy a financial break based on Florida’s absence of state income tax. The city’s growing economy and efforts to encourage a business-friendly community make it very welcoming to remote workers, and the balmy temperatures don’t hurt either.
10. New York, NY
Yes, NYC is expensive. Yes, it’s a competitive town where it can be really tough to “make it”. But it also features one of the most extensive and diverse job markets in the nation, and if you’re a freelancer working remotely, you’ll benefit from the city’s newly-instated “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, which establishes clear protections for contractors ensuring prompt payment and the right to written contracts.