For many workers, setting up camp in a café with a laptop and sending Slack messages in pyjamas every day are now unremarkable realities. Which is why some places are targeting these office-eschewing professionals with cash incentives to relocate, in an effort to beef up local economies and bump up populations.
The US state of Vermont is one such locale. This year, Vermont started offering remote workers up to $10,000 (£8,020) to move there (provided they can prove they have a full-time remote job), covering expenses such as relocation and internet – “work anywhere, live in Vermont” is the programme’s motto. Officials say the state’s residents are ageing, and it’s already the 49th least populous of the 50 states. So capitalising on the inescapable pervasiveness of remote work could be a remedy. The states of Oklahoma and Maine also rolled out similar programmes this year.
A more fully remote workforce has pros – fewer commutes with emissions-spewing vehicles on the road and the flexibility that more easily leads to work-life balance. But there are cons, too. There’s less delineation between professional space and personal space (think of the “BBC dad”) and, worse, if none of us work face-to-face with each other again, it could erode our communication skills and emotional intelligence – even leading to loneliness, depression and burnout.