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Making Remote Jobs Work in Vermont


“Remote work” is the updated term for “telecommute.” Either way, it’s how an increasing number of Americans are making their living full time. And Vermont can benefit from this trend.

According to Gallup, 37 percent of U.S. workers say they have worked remote, up slightly from 30% last decade but four times greater than the 9% found in 1995.

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Companies are hiring an increasing number of well-paid remote workers.

Technology enables this trend, but companies are driving it. For every IBM and Yahoo calling workers back to the office, dozens of other companies add remote divisions or go entirely remote.

They’re saving money by not paying for offices, parking, and other site-based overhead for workers.

According to Global Workplace Analytics:

  • Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103% since 2005.
  • 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.
  • The employee population as a whole grew by 1.9% from 2013 to 2014, while employees who work remote grew 5.6%.

According to Gallup, people who work remote tend to be more highly educated, white-collar employees.

  • Global Workplace Analytics reports 75% of employees who work from home earn over $65,000 per year, putting them in the upper 80th percentile of all employees, home or office-based.

They include software engineers, consultants of all kinds, customer support agents, media professionals, designers, and salespeople and sales agents (who might also travel considerably.)

I couldn’t find statistics about Vermont’s full-time remote workforce from the Census, Bureau of Labor, or the State of Vermont. It’s circumstantial, but I personally know at least a dozen people in Vermont who work remote. They’re software developers, designers, writers, and consultants.

They could live anywhere, but they chose Vermont.

Vermont can benefit by attracting more of these workers with our excellent quality of life rating and close proximity to Boston, Montreal, and New York.

In comments about remote work in a recent VPR piece, several people highlighted tax policy and especially broadband speed as important considerations for remote workers.

Vermont has excellent broadband access in some parts of the state and slow or non-existent access in others. By one recent ranking, we’re 35th in the US for broadband coverage, with 82% of the state having at least 25mbps broadband access.

The same things that attract and retain remote workers are good for everyone in Vermont:

  • Excellent broadband access
  • Access to co-working and other flex workspaces
  • Excellent,  competitive school system
  • Modern and fair taxation system
  • Clean environment and access to outdoor recreation
  • Great airport and well-maintained travel infrastructure

By thinking about how to grow our Vermont-based remote workforce, we all win.

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