Full-remote work, where employees never or rarely visit the office, fundamentally changes the relationship between work and where someone lives. According to a recent study published by the Economic Innovation Group, this model allows workers to sever ties with their local labor markets, contributing to the emergence of “Zoomtowns.”
Zoomtowns are areas attracting remote workers with appealing amenities and lower living costs, despite fewer local job opportunities. In comparison, hybrid work, blending office and remote work, still requires living within a commutable distance to the company office — though it slightly extends what is considered an acceptable commuting range.
The study, which utilizes Bureau of Labor Statistics data, reveals several key findings:
- Remote work significantly improves employment opportunities for disabled individuals, with full-remote work having a notably higher positive impact than hybrid models. This is due to remote work offering greater employment opportunities previously limited by commuting and office environment challenges.
- Full-remote work increases long-distance migration rates, influencing housing market dynamics and urban planning, while hybrid work mainly affects shorter-distance moves.
- Full-remote work is also linked to stronger house price growth, contrasting with the weaker impact of hybrid work on housing markets.
As of September 2023, full-remote workers made up 10% of all workers participating in the workforce — slightly surpassing the 9.8% in hybrid roles.
The Economic Innovation Group’s analysis suggests that the distinction between full and hybrid remote work is more than just operational; it has profound implications for the housing markets and equity in the workforce.