In 2018, 8 million workers 16 years old or over, or 5.3% of workers1, worked from home. Working from home has pros (no travel time) and cons (emotional stress), but this coronavirus pandemic period has shown that workers can work at home productively given the state of technology that enables workers to access their work files from anywhere, collaborate, and stay connected. This means that working from home or remotely is likely to become part of the workforce culture.2 Sixty-two percent of Americans worked from home and three in five U.S. workers who worked from home during the pandemic prefer to continue to do so.3
To capture this change over time, NAR developed a Work from Home Score that encapsulates factors that reflect the current fraction of workers already working from home and factors that are expected to support the trend to work from home or work remotely―internet connectivity, the fraction of workers that work in industries that have normally been heavy occupiers of office space, home affordability, and a county's population growth4. Based on these underlying factors, NAR estimated a Work from Home Score for 3,142 counties. A positive score (above 0) means that a county’s score is in the top half of the distribution.
Using the NAR Work from Home Score
The Work from Home Score can be used by consumers, businesses, and local governments.
County governments may use the score as a competitiveness indicator, attracting companies in technology, finance, or management. for example, counties with more affordable housing and with good internet connectivity will be more attractive compared to another county where home prices are less affordable and internet connectivity is not as accessible. County governments can use the score to identify counties where resources need to be allocated to make working from home more effective for workers.
Companies can use the score for planning an optimal geographic office configuration (e.g., a small headquarter office in the central business district and satellite offices in the suburbs).
Real estate developers can use the score for evaluating where there may be a demand for housing with small home offices or flexible office spaces.
Finally, a prospective homebuyer can use the score as a first-step indicator to identifying counties that offer supportive conditions for working from home.
Use the visualization tool below to view the factors that make working from home conducive in your county.
1 US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2018, 5-year estimates, Table B08141
2 Already, high-profile technology companies such as Twitter and Facebook are anticipating that a larger fraction of their workers will be working from home. Here are the Companies Leading the Work-from-Home Revolution, Forbes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/05/24/the-work-from-home-revolution-is-quickly-gaining-momentum/#7856d5aa1848
4 The score is based on data from the U.S Census Bureau American Community Survey,2018 5-year Tables B08141, S2404, DP04, B19013, S2801, 2010 Decennial Census Summary File 1, US Census Bureau resident population estimates, and the Federal Communications Commission Fixed Broad Deployment June 2019 data release.