Covid has reshuffled the geography of work and home. American cities will never be the same again.

But now the suburbs are hot again. As Frey told me, this apparent shift actually marks a “return to normal” – to the pattern of suburban growth and urban contraction that began in the post-war years. The late 2000s and early tens, when young and empty nests flocked to revitalized urban centers, was actually an anomaly. Now, these millennials are mostly in their 30s, ready to look for family-sized homes and yards and worry about schools.

“We know that Millennials move when they create households, looking for more space,” Kimbrough explains.

Remote working has added a new imperative (and another perk for the suburbs): home office space. And that gives techs and other white-collar fields an unsuspected choice of where to look. “Everyone is dreaming right now,” Andrew says in Seattle, “because you have this openness. ”

Employers backed off, fearing they would lose control and their businesses would lose their edge without the secret sauces of spontaneous collision and workplace culture. “We hear from CEOs that creativity and innovation is declining because they don’t work in groups, especially for millennials and GenZs, who enjoy socializing and miss the ‘creative collision’,” the consultant said. Jay Garner at ChiefExecutive.Net.

Tell Millennials and GenZ-ers. Poll after poll shows that the majority of workers – 68% in one study – would prefer remote work to work in the office. The same survey reveals that 70% of those who already work remotely would lose their benefits to continue, and 67% would accept pay cuts.

It has become a point of pride: “The people who want to go back are the ones who don’t do a lot of work,” one technician told me. “Who spend their days in meetings. ”

Therefore, telecommuting can give employers an advantage when it comes to recruiting. In July, only 11% of jobs posted on LinkedIn were remote, but they got 21% of views. They comprised about 26% of jobs in software and IT services and 23% in media, communications, and wellness (all of those Zoom Zumba classes).

A study by researchers at Stanford, the University of Chicago and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México concludes that “the mass social experience in which nearly half of all paid hours were provided at home between May and December 2020 ”proves that remote working works. They predict that 22% of working days will stay away once the danger passes, up from 5% before the pandemic and 1% in 2010.

“I think companies are losing qualified candidates, so they accept that as an option,” Anton tells Boulder; he sees a “much, much higher number of permanently advertised remote jobs in the environmental field” that he has researched than he did in the spring of 2020. “And they are saving money. office space. ” Or see the light: 52% of bosses polled by consulting firm PwC in December said productivity improved during the period of forced homework.

“Remote work is the biggest change in the nature of work in decades,” says the University of Toronto in Florida. “He gives some workers more flexibility. And in these cases, it shifts the balance of power from companies to workers. And, in varying degrees, from New York to upper New England and the Hudson Valley, from the Bay Area to Boise and Billings. This way the world becomes flatter; remote work levels the field of opportunities.

Many more workers in manufacturing, service, retail and some white-collar industries cannot participate in this change. But what Susan Wachter, co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania, calls “the new urban dispersion” will affect more than about a fifth of the workers who join it.

Kimbrough thinks it will be “really healthy, a spread of skills across the country” from places like New York. Will cities now compete less for job creators and more for job holders – spending money on schools, parks and the arts rather than tax subsidies on new factories and warehouses? ?

“Cities close to amenities are the new hot spots now and for some time to come,” Wachter said via email. “I think the cultural capital will be an ongoing attraction,” says Egan of San Francisco. “I told people to think of office workers as new tourists. Instead of traveling, they commute. Or not.

Egan’s slogan can be prophetic in an unintentional way. Well-paid remote workers, like wealthy tourists, retirees, and other transplant recipients, can drive up property prices, pushing down prices for those who depend on local labor markets. This introduces new class divisions, within rather than between regions. “The affordability gap is widening across the western part of the mountain,” says CBRE economist Mowell. “A city like Phoenix has never had an affordability problem. Now it is.

Dispersal can bring other changes, for better or for worse. As Florida notes, “Remote workers don’t just work from home. They work in cafes, cafes, restaurants, coworking spaces, libraries, each other’s homes. Communities need to focus on creating more effective remote working ecosystems.

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