You’ve heard the word “boomtown.” San Francisco was a boomtown in the mid 1800s during the gold rush. Now there’s a different term to describe what’s happening across the U.S.: the “Zoom Town.” In a play on words involving the web conferencing platform, Zoom Towns are places that are booming as remote work takes off.
According to research by the Harvard Business School, it is estimated that 16 percent or more of American workers will switch from professional offices to home offices as a direct result of COVID-19. Gartner says 74% of organizations plan to transition some of their employees to permanent remote work. Major tech companies like Facebook and Google are also projecting that their work-from-home numbers will increase dramatically.
So what are the cities between the coasts doing to take advantage of the opportunities that are becoming available with the rise of remote work?
Some cities, such as Indianapolis, Columbus, and St. Louis, are working with Pittsburgh-based One America Works, a non-profit that helps fast-growing companies connect with talent and resources across the country.
Earlier this year, One America Works received a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to help companies find the right cities for expansion.
One America Works is currently in the beta testing phase of a new tool designed to help folks determine which cities best meet their needs, whether it is employment, housing, or other factors. Managing Partner Patrick McKenna told Forbes, “The tech industry has never been one to shy away from the impossible, and remote work gives us the opportunity to tackle some of the most pressing, intractable business and social problems facing our country today.”