Sep 25, 2023 - Business

Boston's still a remote work hub, for now

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

One-fifth of Boston metro area residents worked from home in 2022, down from a peak of nearly 27% a year earlier, new census figures show.

What's happening: Boston remains a remote work hub, like many other major U.S. cities, but remote tech workers joined the exodus of people leaving Massachusetts in 2022, Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao told state lawmakers earlier this year.

  • Hao and others have cited cost of living as a major driver for outmigration.

Zoom out: Boston's share of remote workers fell above last year's national average of 15%, but the numbers were even higher across the East and West coasts and in other major cities.

  • Boulder, Colorado, had the highest share of remote workers of any metro area last year, at 32%. Denver wasn't far behind.
  • Austin, Texas, San Francisco and San Jose also reported higher shares than Boston.

The big picture: Workers in America's biggest, most competitive cities aren't giving up the flexibility and savings — in both time and gas money — of working from home, Axios' Sam Baker and Simran Parwani report.

What we're watching: The work-from-home revolution is front and center in big cities with large concentrations of office buildings, and downtown economies that once relied on those office buildings being full.

  • A range of industries have tried to get their employees back to the office, with varying levels of success.
  • State Street bank sent a memo to employees this month requiring managers back in the office four days a week in early October and calling other employees back in November.
  • The law firm Ropes & Gray ordered its workers to return to the office four days a week starting on Nov. 6.
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