With mobile broadband and Wi-Fi hot spots becoming increasingly ubiquitous, it is possible for people to work from home in almost every city in the world. So why is it that solo entrepreneurs and telecommuting employees often opt to live in some of the most expensive cities in the nation? Perhaps it is because inexpensive mortgages are not the only thing drawing mobile employees to live in specific areas.
Cost of living is just one factor in the big picture of how people choose where to live. Other factors include job opportunities, entertainment options, access to cultural activities and the quality of life in the city. Work-at-home techies may be drawn to cities where rents are cheap but they may also weigh their decision against the availability of tech expos in the city, the number of Internet cafes in the area and the general community support for telecommuting individuals.
With those factors in mind, the mobile employee may want to look at the following cities which are ranked as the best cities in which to be an at-home, tech-using employee. Some are better for the freelancer, others for the telecommuter and still others for the solo entrepreneur who runs a virtual start-up. All of them are good spots for the person who wants his work environment to be limited only by his wireless connection and not by the flimsy walls of a cubicle.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco: It's one of the most expensive cities in the nation but that doesn't deter people from wanting to live here and work from home. It's an all-around terrific city for people at any level of telecommuting.
Individuals running their own virtual start-ups will find it easy to get connected and maintain that low overhead. People who want to work for established businesses but telecommute from home need look no further than big businesses like Second Life or temp services that place people in virtual assistant jobs. The attitude here is completely open to people who work from home, the public transit is developing to allow wireless connections during commutes and the city is home to numerous expos including Web 2.0 and MacWorld Expo. The only drawback is the price that you'll pay to live here but many say it's worth it.
Austin: People who are seeking to live in a techie hot spot that isn't too expensive will find that the developing tech industry in Austin, Texas is a great place to find a job. A large number of tech start-ups have been successful in this area. It's also a leading area for business, making it particularly good for the work-at-home techie entrepreneur who wants to run a business without setting up a physical office space.
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Raleigh-Durham: This part of the United States has grown considerably in the areas of information technology and software development. The at-home employee who wants to work as a freelancer in software development will find that this is a good place to make some connections while still working from home. The climate is moderate, home prices are fair and the low crime rate makes it a place that's safe for families.
Vancouver, Canada: If you want to make a move to Canada, you might want to think about heading to the West Coast city of Vancouver. One of the largest cities in the state, it also happens to be one of the most progressive. It's involved in eco-friendly efforts to "green" its urban area and it's highly supportive of telecommuting as part of that effort. It's also just a beautiful city with a lot of opportunities to enjoy yourself when you're not hard at work.
Seattle: This Northwestern United States city is a terrific happy medium for the work-at-home employee who can't move all the way north to Vancouver and doesn't want to head south towards San Francisco. It's an expensive city but not as pricey as California cities and it offers all of the tech opportunities that you need to really enjoy life as a tech fiend. It's also one of the healthiest cities in the United States.
Copenhagen: This was recently named one of the happiest cities in the entire world. For the work-at-home employee who seeks to be happy, that's a big benefit. It isn't easy for residents of other countries to find work-at-home jobs here but the individual who has an online job elsewhere can complete that job from Copenhagen and enjoy a great daily life. It's also one of the cheapest international cities to live in so you won't even pay much to be happy here.
Phoenix: This city has been growing in popularity over the past several years. A lot of money has been invested to grow business in this area, and it's the home of a number of huge tech conferences each year. It's also got a great leisure side with a strong resort and golf community so you can earn good money while working and then go play hard after you're done at work. The best work-at-home situation here is to find a business which needs tech help that you can do from your home office.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul: If you're looking to really go international with a work-at-home job move then you might want to look at Seoul. This city has the best >broadband penetration in the world. There are also numerous companies here that you can try to get a job with, primarily in the wireless industry. There are also tons of Internet cafes so you can easily get to know other people in the community after you make your move.
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse: People who want to live in an inexpensive place and yet be close to a major city will find that upstate New York offers the right balance of opportunities. In Syracuse, you can easily purchase a single-family home for under $100,000. Despite this, you'll be just hours from all of the employment and entertainment opportunities of New York City. It's a win-win situation.
Anchorage: If you really want to get away from the world and enjoy a terrific home in a beautiful part of the world then Anchorage is a great spot. It's an urban city that will have what you need in terms of a tech connection. However, it's a remote area compared to the rest of the world and will give you lots of peace and quiet. You can live cheaply here so you don't even have to work full-time. The computer can rest while you go adventuring in the snow.
Atlanta: This city is considered the most wired city in the United States. That makes it a great place for the individual who needs to be wired all day in order to work. It's also a great city because it's fairly inexpensive to live there but it offers a lot of jobs in the tech industry. What that means is that you can earn a good income here and yet not pay a lot in terms of cost of living.
Taipei: This city was one of the first to start dealing with its traffic congestion by encouraging employees to telecommute. With a goal of becoming the world's first cyber-city, Taipei has gone a long way towards making it really easy to get a wireless connection here. You'll be able to enjoy a great global experience and keep your online job.
Cordoba: If you're looking to make a move to South America then this is the city that you'll want to keep your eye on. It's a terrific city that seamlessly blends a culturally rich history with a modern technological approach to industry. It's the centre of the country's technology and home to extensive research in both satellite technology and various sciences. It's a safe city and one where it's fairly easy to stay wired so you can work.
Barcelona: If you happen to be a single person who is in need of both a partner and a work-at-home job, your best international bet is to head to Barcelona. Once named one of the best cities for singles, it's a place that offers a lot of romance. Even if you don't end up finding a significant other, all of that romance is sure to inspire your creative side. At least that'll be good for your online work!
Bangalore: It's a beautiful city that is very inexpensive and yet it's easy to find a wireless connection. Whether you want to work from your mobile phone or lug a laptop to an Internet cafe, this city is going to be a place that will keep you busy.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe: One of the areas of the tech industry that is going to grow considerably in the upcoming years is green technology. Santa Fe is a city that's already looking towards making developments in this area which is going to make it a great place for green telecommuting techies before too much more time passes. It's a fairly inexpensive place to buy a home so you might want to invest in a move now.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City: As the most populated city in the entire world, Mexico City is definitely a big urban place. That means there are a lot of opportunities to meet people and have a good time here. It's also an up-and-coming city in terms of wireless technology which means you can do some great business here. If Mexico is a place that appeals to you, this is the best city to choose.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City: This United States city was voted one of the best places to find a job last year and it remains number one on the list again this year. Because the jobs here are primarily in the tech industry, it shouldn't be too difficult to find an employer who would be more than happy to let you work from home at least part-time.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs: One of the biggest problems plaguing work-at-home employees is that they get lazy. Because of that, it's a good idea to move to a city that cares about fitness. Colorado City is ranked highest in the United States for fit cities. This can be a great benefit to the at-home employee who needs an extra push to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Stockholm: This is the home of the headquarters of The Pirate Bay, the world's largest BitTorrent tracker. For those who don't know, that means that there's been a big push here to fight lawsuits against illegal filesharing. With that kind of precedent, it's a great place for the techie who is interested in open source development of products and web services.