The state’s Office of Economic Analysis put out some interesting research this morning that concludes that Bend is the “Work from Home Capital of America.” According to economist Josh Lehner, 12.1% of people living in Bend report that they work from home. Medford comes in at number 4 and Portland ranks 21st.
These workers are working across a wide range of industries, and tend to earn more than the median wage.
“The second major item I found was that when looking at Bend, Eugene, and Medford specifically, these individuals who work from home are diversifying their regional economies. I feel like I’m burying the lede here because this is, in my mind, the most important finding from an economic perspective. That is, the occupations that have high local concentrations in those working from home, are also underrepresented occupations when looking at the regional economy.
In Bend we can see this among Architecture and Engineering, Business, Finance, Legal, and Arts, Design, and Entertainment occupations. These are individuals who most likely want to live in a place like Bend and either brought their job with them or set out on their own to make it work, which we have discussed before with Bend.”
This is research definitely confirms what probably most of us have already noticed — a lot of people work from home here. It also highlights the creativity that many people employ to make moving here work for them from a career perspective. I can say: In the BendTECH coworking space, where I have an office, there’s people working for companies in Seattle, California and all over the country. There’s also a significant number of people (myself included) who are self-employed, and tap into a market of clients in larger, metro areas.
The result, Josh notes, is good for Bend and good for the people who have made this remote work thing work. Of course, these jobs may be more at risk in a downturn …
“However this is just a risk and not a foregone conclusion. Some businesses do not even have physical space any more, for instance. These trends will be interesting to watch in general and over the next business cycle. Now if we could just get more start-ups and better productivity growth,” Josh writes.
Lastly, a shameless pitch for the nonprofit coworking space of which I’m chair of the board. Sometimes working from home is lonely, uninspiring and distracting (that was my experience). If you’re looking for some awesome coworkers, community, and a reason to get out of your house, BendTECH is a great option.