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Front Page - Friday, July 10, 2020

Career Corner: Work remotely? How about $15K to do it in Topeka?

It’s becoming more common for workers, stuck at home, to look for alternative work locations. For some fortunate individuals, it’s been their vacation home. Others have fled cities to live with family members in less-populated areas.

But, a third option is emerging.

Some employees are moving to a new city or state altogether. Just last week, I heard from a friend who is packing up and moving to a new, cheaper state.

The pandemic is forcing employers to rethink their policies regarding where people must work. And, given the lower cost of living in smaller cities, employees can’t help but consider a move.

Cities are taking notice of this trend. There are a number of places in the middle of the country that are offering relocation bonuses to remote workers. These cities know that workers will bring tax dollars and spending into their economies.

In order to attract remote workers, they’re offering incentive programs that range anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000.

In my home state of Oklahoma, Tulsa is offering people $10,000 to move there. They’ll also throw in free desk space at Tulsa’s top coworking community, along with other perks. To be considered, you must be a remote worker who is able to relocate within six months, and be at least 18 years old.

Alabama has a similar incentive program to remote workers, offering remote workers in the tech industry as much as $10,000 to live in and work from The Shoals.

In Kansas, the Choose Topeka initiative is offering up to $15,000 to relocate to Topeka and the Shawnee County community. To qualify, you must purchase or rent a home within a year of your move.

The Choose Topeka website highlights that the average cost of a single-family home in Topeka is $125,000 and the average monthly rent is $762. This is a huge difference from a place like San Francisco, where the average price of a home is over $1 million, according to Zillow.com.

If moving to a cheaper city has ever crossed your mind, the next year may be the time to try it. Start by searching online for remote jobs. You can do this on every major job site (LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor) by using the word “remote” in the spot where you normally specify city.

If you’ve been at your current job for a long time and have a good relationship with your boss, you may also want to consider asking if this is an option with your current role. Or, you may want to see what your company decides to do about going back. Some companies little Twitter have decided to allow employees to be remote forever.

As you can imagine, working from anywhere (especially when there’s a bonus involved) is a great new option. If you’ve ever thought of relocating, do research to find out if your favorite city is offering money for moving.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.