Have you noticed your friends, family members, and colleagues increasingly talk about their remote work opportunities? That’s because working from home and freelancing are becoming more popular in Arizona—in fact, it’s becoming more popular across the United States (though some areas are more friendly to the idea than others).
But why is remote work getting more popular? And is this ultimately a good thing for the economy?
Motivations for the Rise in Popularity
Let’s take a look at some of the factors lending themselves to higher remote working rates in Arizona:
1. Productivity benefits. Multiple studies suggest that remote workers tend to outperform their office-bound counterparts. The exact motivation for this discrepancy is still not understood; some suggest that having more autonomy is responsible for the boost, while others insist it’s the boost in morale from not having to deal with a daily commute. Still others suggest that remote workers are intentionally working harder, in an effort to demonstrate their efficiency so they can keep the privilege. In any case, businesses in Arizona are noticing these benefits, and are increasingly likely to capitalize on them by engaging a remote workforce.
2. Coworking opportunities. There are also more coworking spaces and other public spaces where remote workers can get the benefits of a conventional office without necessitating a traditional office setting. For example, in Phoenix, there’s Novel Coworking Midtown, where entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other remote working professionals can work side-by-side, sharing resources and possibly networking with one another. There’s a kind of symbiosis happening here; more remote workers are increasing demand for new coworking spaces, and the rise of better coworking spaces is setting the stage for more remote workers.
3. Traffic woes. Dealing with the traffic of a daily commute is a problem for many conventional full-time workers, especially in some of Arizona’s biggest cities. In fact, the average driver in Phoenix spends about 34 hours a year on the road trapped in traffic during rush hour. Phoenix is the 25th most congested city in the country. As more workers get fed up with this daily cycle of getting stuck in traffic, remote work keeps looking like a better alternative.
4. Increasing office costs. Office costs are steadily increasing, and have always been expensive. Buying or leasing a building, and dealing with upkeep and maintenance costs can quickly eat into a business’s budget—especially if it’s a small business with a new entrepreneur. Starting a business that exists exclusively online could save a business owner thousands of dollars a month or more, so why wouldn’t they give it a shot.
5. The allure of tech startups. Arizona has, for the most part, made a push to embrace new technologies and new startups. It’s one of the most welcoming states in the nation for allowing the testing of self-driving vehicles and is home to many big cities with thriving entrepreneurial hubs. This environment increases the allure and improves the possibilities for tech entrepreneurs, and tech entrepreneurs have more freedom to employ remote workers, since much of the work can be done virtually.
6. Pressure from other remote workers. Of course, the trend toward remote working is self-sustaining as well. As more people begin to work from home, the concept seems both more realistic and more valuable to employers and employees alike. Companies that see the benefits of having a remote workforce pose a bigger economic threat to comparable companies with a purely traditional office, prompting those business owners to reconsider a remote working model, and so on.
Is This Trend a Good Thing for Arizona?
So is it a good thing that more people in Arizona are working remotely?
It’s hard to say for sure, but it seems like a good thing overall. Remote workers tend to have higher morale and higher productivity, which means companies will get a massive efficiency boost, and because they don’t have to pay for as much office space, it could lead to more measurable benefits for consumers. It’s also creating new industries, including coworking spaces and other services designed to help remote workers.
Regardless of how you personally feel about working from home, millions of people in Arizona are starting to appreciate it—either because it gives them more flexibility, because it saves them money, or because it’s bringing them new business opportunities. And thanks to the snowball effect that remote workers are having on the possibilities of remote work, it’s likely to grow even further from here.