The best states for remote working
There was a time not too long ago when remote working was reserved for the few. Maybe you had a friend who freelanced, maybe you’d heard a rumour that someone in accounts had discovered a loophole in their contract, maybe you’d done it once when you’d had a bit too much fun the night before. Naming no names.
But since the pandemic struck, remote working has gone global. Millions of us have left our desks behind and turned our living spaces into working spaces, making working from home the status quo.
We wanted to see which state did it best. By looking at the cost of living, internet speed, household income and more, we can reveal where in the country is best for the digital nomad lifestyle.
Give that desk plant its final water - it might be a while before you see it again.
Massachusetts has the country’s highest household income
If you’re working from home in Massachusetts, there’s a good chance you can afford some nice home office furniture. The average household income in the so-called ‘Spirit of America’ is $127,460.73, making it the highest earning state in the country.
The state’s capital is Boston, a city that attracts lots of creative and financial businesses, both of which pay well and offer great flexibility outside of the office.
The second biggest earners are workers in Maryland. The state benefits from a huge amount of water, and has made its money as a major national seaport. You want fish? Maryland will get you fish. You want deliveries from the rest of the world? There’s a good chance Maryland is where they’ll arrive. The state pays an average of $125,053.40 per household - more than enough to convert your spare room into the office of dreams.
New Jersey is the state with the third highest salaries, bringing in $119,305.58 on average. The state sits between Philadelphia and New York, attracting a huge amount of tourism (when such things are allowed) and huge employers such as Johnson and Johnson, United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Why does a higher household income make remote working easier?
Earning more money often means you’re in a high enough position to demand location flexibility. You might be a manager, a member of the board, or even run your own business, making it easier for you to set your own rules and say when you will, and won’t, be in the office.
These states offer higher paying jobs, meaning you’re more likely to find work that pays you to stay at home.
The top 20 states for household income
Maryland will give you the fastest broadband
There are a few key things to successfully working from home - a good supply of coffee, a good desk and a reliable internet connection. While we can’t vouch for Maryland’s coffee or chair situation, their internet is second to none. The state achieves speeds of 196.2 mbps on average, giving its home workers all the connectivity they need to work, Slack, share and stay connected.
Not far behind is Virginia. The ‘birthplace of a nation’ is well placed to give birth to countless home-working business ventures, offering average speeds of 193.1 for its remote employees.
New York’s speeds are also fast. Despite its heavily built-up environment, it kicks out broadband speeds of 190.5, giving its 8.4 million residents all the speed they need to take their own bite out of the Big Apple.
Dipping out of the 190s, but only just, is Massachusetts. The highest paying state offers average broadband speeds of 188.2, making it easy for people to log in and earn their dollar.
The top five wraps up with New Jersey. Their speeds take a slight dip to 174.3, but still offer plenty of power for everyone looking to get online and get busy.
Why do you need good internet before you work from home?
This question pretty much answers itself. The majority of jobs these days require some kind of internet usage, whether that’s spending all day online or just dipping in and out of emails occasionally.
While most states will be able to offer fast internet connections on an individual basis, ones that have high average speeds will have good connections that you can depend on.
The top 20 states for internet speeds
Connecticut will give you 98.3% internet coverage
It’s no good having fast internet if you can’t get it everywhere. Internet coverage is essential to remote working - it means you can set up shop in your home office, your living room, in bed or in the bath, for a more indulgent Monday morning meeting.
In Connecticut, you’ll have no problem. The home of Yale University covers 98.3% of its landmass with an average speed of 172 mbps, almost guaranteeing you won’t be left with a spinning wheel or a blank page.
You’re also pretty certain to be connected in New Jersey. The state provides coverage of 98.1%, meaning you’ll have to be quite unlucky to miss out. Just up the coast, New York gives its residents 96.8% coverage, helping all its skyscrapers achieve sky high results.
Rhode Island is only slightly lower at 96.2%, while Massachusetts continues its excellent run with coverage of 95.9%.
Internet coverage is key to remote working
Whether you’re on a Zoom call, sending a vital email or just trying to get some work done, there’s little more annoying than losing your internet connection when you’re in the middle of something important.
States with good coverage mean you can work remotely from wherever you like. Stay at home, head out to the garden, or go to your favourite coffee shop and connect with work and caffeine.
The top 20 states for internet coverage
West Virginia is the most affordable state to rent in
Working from home can save you a fortune on commuting and work drinks, but the costs can definitely add up elsewhere. Heating bills, extra electricity usage and, in our personal opinion, snacks, can soon start setting you back.
Affordable rent is a big consideration before you commit to full time remote working, helping you keep those savings coming in. West Virginia is the most affordable state for renters, only costing an average of $888 a month. For that you’ll get to enjoy incredible mountain views and, according to the people who live, the friendliest folks in the USA.
Costing only a little more is Oklahoma, with rent there being only $950 a month. The state is filled with development possibilities, meaning new homes are often being built, giving you plenty of choice if you decide to make the move.
Arkansas will only cost you $3 more a month. The state’s rent is $953 on average, so once you’re home from one of the many local hiking trails, you’ll be able to afford a good quality of life while you work.
Low rent v high earnings - which one’s best?
While some of these states might offer very affordable housing, they often come hand in hand with low earning potential. The higher paying jobs are nearly always found in more expensive areas, which means your take-home pay - after rent has gone out - won’t be as much.
It’s worth doing the maths to see what your earnings will actually look like once all your bills have come out, just to make sure it makes financial sense.
The top 20 states for affordable housing
California has the most parks in the country
Working from home doesn’t have to mean feeling stuck at home, especially in California. The state has an abundance of parks - 270 in fact - offering a huge amount of green space to get out in an explore. With all the sun the state offers, these parks will offer a great escape from the daily grind, putting your mind at ease while stretching out your body.
New York is a few parks behind. Perhaps surprisingly for a state most associated with high rises and glass buildings, New York has 215 parks, giving you a fantastic mix of urban areas and beautiful nature.
Washington is three parks further back with 212. The Evergreen State really lives up to its name, offering home workers countless opportunities to get out and explore Washington’s wild side.
Why does green space make remote working better?
Getting out into nature is great for our health, both mental and physical. It’s vital to take a break from screens, and getting out for a walk in the morning, at lunch or after work can really help the day pass happily.
The top 20 states for parks
The best state for remote working is… Massachusetts!
Based on all our rankings for every remote working requirement, we can officially crown Massachusetts as the digital nomad top dog. Well done, Massachusetts! The state came in our top 10 for parks, internet coverage, internet speed and average household income, making it a fantastic choice for anyone looking to live the digital nomad lifestyle.
Joint first is Pennsylvania. The state is another that scores really highly for parks, internet coverage and internet speed, and also offers plenty of job opportunities for people looking to up roots.
Finishing off the top three is Washington. The state is a great all rounder, and gives you all the ingredients you’ll need to make remote working a success.
Dallas is the best city to work from home
No, you didn’t just dream it, Dallas really is the best city for remote working. While their average household income of $55,332 isn’t the highest on our list, (that prize goes to San Francisco, who’ll pay you a generous $123,859,) Dallas will give you a good internet speed of 117.2 mbps, parks within walking distance for 70.9% of residents, and a good cost of living - 66.79 out of 100 in our report, with a lower score being better.
Dallas also offers a great mix of art, culture and history, giving you lots to get involved in and plenty to explore on your lunch. If working from home works for you, Dallas is the best place to do it.
Seattle could pay you $102,486 to work remotely
Second in our list is Seattle. The city in Washington state - the third best state for digital nomads - pays an average of $102,486 to its workers, provides internet speeds of 111 mbps, and has parks near 96.5% of residents. Seattle is famous for its coffee, meaning you’ll stay active and alert whatever job you’re doing, while the world-famous Space Needle is just one of the many features that make the city a bustling, tourist-friendly metropolis.
Philadelphia has the fastest internet of any city
If your job involves being online, Philly will make work faster than anywhere else. The city boasts download speeds of 127.4 mbps, making it a great option for anyone who needs constant internet access. There are also parks near 94.7% of residents and a good community safety value, third out of all the cities we looked into.
San Francisco pays in dollars and parks
If the idea of earning top dollar and having a park around every corner appeals to you, remote working in San Francisco should tick all your boxes. You can expect to earn an average of $123,859 in The Golden City, while soaking up some of Cali’s abundant sun in parks near 99.9% of residents.
Houston’s cost of living makes it a great remote working option
The second Texas city to make the top five, Houston scores well for cost of living, scoring 62.36 out of 100. It’s only beaten by San Antonio, who scored 61.79. Houston is also popular for its lack of income tax, letting you keep every cent of what you earn.
The best cities in America to work from home
Birmingham is the best city in the UK for remote working
If you want to work from home in the UK, Birmingham offers better facilities than any other city. While the internet speeds lag a long way behind compared to the USA, at an average of 28.9 mbps that’s the best you’re going to get, and it’ll still give you enough juice to get your work done. The average wage in the city is £27,352 ($37,335), and 15.58% of the city is green space. However, if you fancy spending more time in the city, Birmingham is one that offers everything. Art, entertainment, food, drink and more, is all right on your doorstep ready for you to finish work and enjoy.
Glasgow offers good internet speeds and a low cost of living
Head north and enjoy remote working in Glasgow. One of Scotland’s largest cities, Glasgow costs on average £11,136 ($15,200) a year to live in, compared to average salaries of £27,352 ($37,335), leaving you with plenty of disposable income.
The city is also a cultural hub, attracting millions of tourists every year to make the most of its legendary music scene. Throw in internet speeds of around 26.7 mbps, and you’re looking at a pretty good place to call your home office.
Manchester is a creative haven for digital nomads
If your work involves anything creative, head to Manchester and make the most of their thriving music, art, marketing and cultural scene. The city is buzzing with new ideas, and with internet speeds of 26.7 mbps, one of your own could soon be getting people talking.
The northern city is also made up of 13.13% green space, allowing you to stretch your legs after a long day of working your fingers.
The best British cities for remote working
Want to leave the physical office behind?
If you want to say goodbye to the morning commute, remote working could be a more affordable, easier, safer choice for you. Our virtual offices let you stay connected with your colleagues, no matter where you’re all working. Have that morning catch up over coffee, discuss that big project and think up the next big thing, all without leaving the house.
It’s an office you can take with you, wherever you go. If Massachusetts is calling, we’ll see you there.
To determine the best U.S. city to work remotely, we analyzed the following metrics: median household income, mean and median download internet speed (mbps), percentage of residents within a 10 minute walk from a park, and cost of living.
To determine the best U.K. city to work remotely, we analyzed the following metrics: average internet download speed (mbps), average weekly wage, percentage of green space, and cost of living.
To determine the best U.S. state to work remotely, we analyzed the following metrics: average household income, average internet speed, broadband coverage, average monthly rent, cost of living, number of parks and percentage of each state covered in parks .
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Reviewed by James O'Sullivan, Director of New Client Experience
Jamess O'Sullivan has over 20 years of experience building and scaling companies. With diverse experience under his belt spanning everything from CareerBuilder.com to Uber, James is a well-respected thought leader, eccentric, and boundary-pusher who regularly contributes to industry-leading publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine.