The new normal: remote work

Published 12:22 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

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When the COVID-19 pandemic caused billions of people to work at home, few realized they were part of a paradigm shift in who holds the power of the workplace.

Communities across the U.S. have caught on, though, and they are scrambling to attract remote workers, their families and the economic value their residency brings.

Chattanooga, Tennessee is one of a handful of locations on the cutting edge of a new, national trend that has local governments and states targeting workers, not just companies, for economic development.

Email newsletter signup (MMM) is the country’s first marketplace created to help workers use their power with the communities that want them. It’s powered by TMap, a talent recruitment startup co-founded by Bill Oesterle, creator of Angie’s List.

“Remote workers are already exercising their new mobility, migrating away from unlivable cities on the coasts. What they’ve yet to fully realize is the economic power that comes with that mobility,” said Oesterle. “For decades, cities large and small have offered companies relocation incentives because they bring investment and people with them as they move or grow.

“Decoupled from the traditional office, American workers are in control of their own geographies in a way they never have been before. Their educations and incomes make them highly-desirable residents for any community that understands the importance of talent attraction as the engine for economic growth. The places that get it are offering incentives directly to the workers. The companies aren’t in control anymore. The workers are.”

Evan Hock, Oesterle’s TMap and MMM co-founder, said the shift is as consequential as the Industrial Revolution, which saw millions of workers leave rural areas to take jobs in factories in big cities.

“For the first time ever, millions of workers are free to choose the place that is right for them,” said Hock. “People who can take their jobs with them are taking serious looks at a move. Whether they are trying to get closer to mom, or the mountains, we’re helping them find incentive packages to sweeten that life change.”

Communities offering cash, free land, free travel – even sandwiches and bicycles – have attracted attention for their quirky offers, but Hock says remote workers shouldn’t just be amused by the fun offers. They should take advantage.

“New residents are worth tens of thousands of dollars to local economies. We built this marketplace so communities could compete for new residents, and we expect that competition to drive value to the worker. These relocation packages for remote workers aren’t a tough sell to the communities that understand talent attraction is the engine for economic growth. It’s just math.”

The PEW Research Center estimates 71 percent of Americans are currently working from home, up from only 20 percent prior to the coronavirus outbreak. More than 50 percent of those people want to remain remote when the pandemic is behind. Dozens of major companies have already agreed to that and/or more flexible work arrangements. Nearly 30 percent of remote workers say they don’t ever want to go back to the office.

Soe 23 million Americans who are currently working in major cities in tech careers say they’re ready to leave big city expenses behind them.

“Workers have proven they can be productive remotely. They’re not going to want to return to the 9-to-5 grind in congested cities where even massive salaries don’t let them afford the life or family situation they want,” said Hock.

For more information about this cutting-edge service, log onto: to see the array of incentives. The service is free to workers.