Remote workers are living increasingly further from their main offices, study finds

Albertson, N.Y.: Andrew Jacobson of Albertson, New York, is seen at his computer, working from home on June 9, 2021. (Photo by John Conrad Williams, Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Employees are living increasingly further from their offices, a new study found, as the average distance between an employees' home and their company offices has increased compared to before the COVID pandemic. 

A study by economists at Stanford and Gusto looked at the home addresses of workers vs. the addresses of their offices and found that the average distance between their homes and office increased to 27 miles in 2023. 

The New York Times reported Monday it was part of a larger "zip code shift," as the number of people who live over 50 miles away from their company offices increased by more than five times, from 0.8% to 5.5%. 

Millennial workers, employees ages 30-39, are living the furthest away from their employers, the study found. The distance between their homes and company offices rose the most in 2023. 


The study also found that employees with the highest earnings were the ones driving the increased distances between offices and employee homes. 

"In 2018, workers earning $10,000 to $50,000 lived on average 11 miles from work, compared to 12 miles for workers earning more than $250,000 per year. By December 2023, the distance for those making $10,000-$50,000 rose to 18 miles, while the highest earners increased to 42 miles," the study's key findings said. 

The study said that remote and hybrid workers are one of the most "long-lasting" legacies of the pandemic, and despite some major companies requiring their employees to return to the office, the trend of living further from company offices remains consistent for smaller and medium sized businesses as well. 

Another February study from found that over half of employees that have been told to return to the office for work were currently looking for or planning to look for new jobs. 


"Eighteen percent of workers forced to [return to the office] say they are currently looking for a new job" and "36% plan to look this year," found in a February survey conducted via SurveyMonkey.

"Many of those who are currently seeking out a new job are doing so actively," the report explained. "In fact, 11% are applying to more than 10 positions per week, while 28% are applying to six to 10 positions, and 60% are applying to one to five jobs."

The New York Times reported that just 12% of the workforce is able to work fully remote. Others who were required to return to the office and work on a hybrid schedule have accepted longer commutes as they still chose to leave expensive housing markets like New York City. 

One, Verna Coleman, purchased a house in Cincinatti in 2020 after she began working remotely. She previously lived in Brooklyn and commuted into New York five days a week for her job.

The Times reported Coleman now commutes to New York City for three days every other week and rents an apartment in Harlem for when she's in town.

"It’s only an hour-and-a-half flight, so I frequently cite to people it’s a shorter flight than driving across the George Washington Bridge and sitting in traffic for two and a half hours," she said. "I take a 6 a.m. flight from Cincinnati, and I’m normally at my desk before 9."

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