Each year, new studies come out proclaiming which cities are best for working at home or which places are the most telecommuter-friendly. Although the top spot usually changes (depending on who's doing the surveying and what criteria determines the final ranking), a few cities consistently rank as best for working from home.
Across all of these surveys, the cities selected as telecommuting havens are ones with excellent high-speed Internet access. Other criteria often cited include: access to business resources like overnight delivery, percent of companies that support telecommuting, and pleasant weather/environments. Cities with especially time-consuming commutes are also often included in these "best places to work from home" lists, because difficult commutes and high traffic congestion can often fuel greater telework advocacy (no pun intended).
Here are some of the top cities for telecommuters, based on multiple sources/studies, in no particular order.
- Washington, DC: ranked best for teleworking by Sperling's Best Places and Intel Corporation in 2006 due to its high percentage of white-collar workers, costly average daily commute, and broadband Internet access concentration. Since the Federal government is one of the most telework-friendly organizations (they even have laws mandating that agencies allow workers to telecommute as much as possible), it makes sense that Washington, DC is one of the best places to live if you want to telecommute.
- Boston: ranked second on Sperling's Best Places and, more recently, was the top city for telecommuting in a survey commissioned by Microsoft in March 2010 of 3,600 workers in 36 markets. The survey ranked cities according to the amount of support for telecommuting programs and percentage of workers who said they could work from home.
- San Francisco: came up first in Money and PC World's ranking of the best places to work from home in a study of 300 of the biggest US metropolitan areas in 1997, and still comes up in the top 10 places for telecommuters in other lists. San Francisco offers fast Internet connections, great business and technology support, and a vibrant city life.
- Raleigh-Durham: is one of the top mid-size places to work from home. With a strong university system, this area has the requisite fast Internet access as well as pleasant weather and a family-friendly environment.
- Seattle: is a tech mecca with wi-fi hotspots nearly everywhere and affordable Internet access. Seattle also has a lower cost of living than other high-tech cities, is one of the healthiest cities in the US, and, despite the rainy climate, offers nearby outdoor activities such as hiking and boating.
Outside of the US: Top cities around the world, as cited in an article by Creative Cloud on the Top 20 Cities in the World for Telecommuting in 2008, include:
- Vancouver, Canada: eco-friendly and fantastic climate
- Seoul, South Korea: the world's best broadband Internet penetration and tons of Internet cafes
- Taipei, Taiwan: a city that actively encourages employees to telecommute
- Cordoba, Argentina: the country's high-tech center
- Bangalore, India: wi-fi abounds and the cost of living is low
- Mexico City, Mexico: chosen here because of its high population but up-and-coming status as an wireless city
- Stockholm, Sweden: home to many techies