The most popular US and UK cities for remote workers

‘Home working’ is the new normal. Or at least for many people in the US and the UK.

Two years after COVID-19 lockdowns closed offices and schools, nearly half (45%) of all US employees still work remotely or partly remotely.

There's a similar story in the UK. In a recent survey by the UK government, 38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point within the past seven days.

But how does the new army of remote workers feel about remote work? Are they loving working from home? Or are they desperate to get back into the office, if only for a quick gossip around the coffee machine?

To understand how people feel about working from home in 2022, researchers from CV-building expert decided to see what they're saying about it on Twitter.

The research team ran over 500,000 geotagged homeworking tweets through a sentiment-tracking software called Hugging Face. And it used that data to create some maps of the UK and US highlighting where people love remote work and where they seem to hate it.

Here's a summary of the results.

But first, let's take a brief look at the homeworking revolution.

Will people be going back to the office full-time soon?

Probably not. Remote work looks like it’s here to stay.

The adoption of remote working increased in the UK and the US during 2022, with the trend expected to continue into 2023 and beyond.

Many employment experts predict that over 80% of companies will adopt a remote or hybrid working model by 2030.

Are remote workers more productive?

The data is clear: remote working is good for business.

A study by Stanford University researchers found that working from home increased productivity by 13%. In the same study, employee retention rates rose by an impressive 50%. And the number of sick days taken fell dramatically, with more workers prepared to put in a shift at home when feeling a little under the weather.

ConnectSolutions conducted a similar study. It showed that 77% of people who work from home just a few days a month increase productivity and efficiency. Those working remotely for a few days every week reported even greater results. Some reported doing up to 30% more work in less time. Another 24% said they were doing more work in the same amount of time.

The best things about working from home

50% of participants in the Stanford study said they felt happier and more satisfied since the switch to remote/hybrid working. This was primarily due to an improved work/life balance, including the opportunity to spend more time with family or pursue hobbies and creative pursuits.

Other commonly reported benefits include:
  • Saving time and money on the daily commute
  • Less interference from micromanagers
  • A quieter and more calming working environment
  • Escaping the office politics and gossip
  • Feeling more in control of your time and day

Why homeworking can sometimes suck

But everything has its drawbacks.

The autonomy (and responsibility) of working from home doesn't suit everyone.

Some employers struggle to motivate themselves, leading to frequent breaks and a drop in productivity.

Others live in households that aren’t conducive to home working. House-sharing can be a major issue for remote workers, especially when other tenants are of the less than considerate type. Living in a house or apartment with poor digital connectivity can also make home working a frustrating experience.

Then there are the extroverts who miss the buzz of being in the office and around other people every day.

Home working created a new phenomenon called Zoom fatigue. And it's real. According to neuroscientists, human eyes are not designed to stare directly at other people's faces on a screen for hour after hour. It creates a data overload in the brain, leading to that all-to-familiar burn-out feeling.

Virtual meetings make it harder for us to pick up on the unspoken (but very important) elements of human interaction, like body language, micro-expressions, and non-verbal cues. It’s why home workers can find Zoom meetings frustrating and unproductive, especially when having difficult conversations.

Home working sentiment in the US States

We've looked at WHY people love and hate home working. Now let's look at WHERE people love and hate home working.

Delaware is the US state where you'll find the highest proportion of happy home workers; 46% of all related tweets coming out of 'The First State' say nice things about the laptop lifestyle.

Utah comes next (42.7%), followed by South Carolina (42.1%) and Idaho (41.8).

The home working sentiment is relatively positive across all 50 US states, with scores averaging between 35%-40%.

South Dakota scored lowest of all (29.%.) It was the only state to come in under the 30% range.

The US cities that love home working

Workers living in El Paso, Texas, are grateful for the chance to spend a few days working from home. 45.4% of their tweets mentioning home working were positive.

The folk in Wichita, Kansas, are almost as happy. Just under 45% of their tweets (44.8%) suggest that they think homeworking beats the 9-5, Monday to Friday, office routine.

Many workers in San Diego, Arlington, Indianapolis, and Omaha also prefer the hybrid work model. All of these cities scored above 40%.

Baltimore is the least friendly home-working US city. Still, only around 26% of its home working tweets were analyzed as negative by Hugging Face’s AI software.

Home working in London, UK

In the UK, Londoners are loving home working. Many of the capital city's boroughs scored above or close to 50%. Brent scored 58.3% - the highest proportion of positive home working tweets out of anywhere included in the study.

Other high-scoring boroughs include Haringey, Hammersmith, and Southwark.

The City of Westminster is London's big outlier. Just 14.8% of its remote working tweets were positive. The City of Westminster is home to the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament and much of the British government, but it's unclear why the country's MPs hate remote work. Maybe you can't claim as many expenses when working from home? Just saying.

Which UK cities enjoy home working the most

You don't have to travel too far from London to find the UK city with the highest percentage of pro-home working tweets. Warford is around 20 miles from the capital and scored 54.9% in this study by Resume.IO.

And travel pains (or the lack of them) are probably why so many Watford residents appreciate hybrid working. Watford is right on the London commuter belt; it can take up to 90minutes to get into the capital during the morning rush hours.

Watford also has the most dangerous drivers in the UK, with 1 in 10 road users having points on their license. No wonder the city's residents are glad to be off those roads on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon.

In the North of England, two more commuter towns scored highly. They are Warrington, which sits between Manchester and Liverpool, and Huddersfield town, which is a popular location for office professionals who work (but don't want to live) in Leeds.

The tables below show a full breakdown of the remote-work Twitter sentiment in all UK and USA's major cities.
WFH Happiness: The US and UK cities that most enjoy working from home (study)
Read next: The 6 types of annoying co-workers. And how you can deal with them (infographic)
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