The 5 best U.S. towns for working from home

These towns have the things you need while telecommuting amid coronavirus: low costs of living, nice tax climates, and quality Wi-Fi. If you don’t already live in one, you may even want to move.

Beach houses on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Not as many Americans are working remotely as you may think: Just 24% of employed workers were working from home every day in August, while 18% did so some days, according to the Real-Time Population Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

That number is still up three times since before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, however, and many companies are offering employees more flexibility with their schedules.

If you're part of the group that's able to telecommute, you may already know the size of your living space can affect your productivity. But you don't have to live in a big house or big city to enjoy working remotely. The place where you live can play a role in your satisfaction, too.

Researchers at the moving website HireAHelper looked at places where the population was more than 1,000 and less than 50,000, and developed an algorithm that ranks a town's attractiveness in four key categories: financials, including cost of living and tax burden; amenities like internet and co-working spaces; options for dining; and overall aesthetic.

To rank each town, the researchers gathered population and tax data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Tax Foundation. They used the Environmental Protection Agency to collect stats on conditions like weather and sites like Yelp to find reviews for local places to go. 

The top pick: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. While its $287,219 median home value is a bit higher than the national median of $256,663, it offers beautiful scenery just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to complement its reliable Wi-Fi and laid-back vibe.

Here are the five top places to work from home, according to their calculations, and how each scores in each category. The maximum overall score for any given city is 100 points, representing the sum of scores for four main categories, each weighted differently. Financials were assigned a maximum of 20 points; work amenities were assigned 30 points; comforts were assigned 30 points; and conditions were assigned 20 points.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Overall score: 73.3
Financials: 12.6
Work amenities: 16.8
Comforts: 24.7
Conditions: 19

Little log wedding chapel in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

New Castle, Delaware

Overall score: 71.8
Financials: 10.9
Work amenities: 18.9
Comforts: 29
Conditions: 12.8

Clouds over the bay in Delaware.

Lewes, Delaware

Overall score: 66.2
Financials: 6.5
Work amenities: 17.3
Comforts: 24.9
Conditions: 17.3

View across the sand dunes toward the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Henlopen, Lewes, Delaware.

Collingswood, New Jersey

Overall score: 63.8
Financials: 7.2
Work amenities: 18.8
Comforts: 24.8
Conditions: 12.8

Beach houses on Long Beach Island, New Jersey.

Leland Grove, Illinois

Overall score: 63.8
Financials: 9.3
Work amenities: 15.1
Comforts: 24.7
Conditions: 14.6

It's worth noting that not everybody can work remotely. Many of the jobs with the lowest share of telecommuters were in industries like construction, transportation, warehousing, and hotel and food services. Finance and professional services are the industries that had the most people working from home last month.

If you can work from home, it's still important to look at the whole picture before settling down anywhere new. Experts suggest renting in a neighborhood before you commit to buying there. That way, you can get a sense of whether you actually like the area, its amenities, and its lifestyle.

When working remotely, it's also important to "create a separation in your household that includes a space that's dedicated to work, and then when you're off the clock and you're not thinking about work," Angelina Darrisaw, CEO and founder of C-Suite Coach, told Grow earlier this year. And you can do that no matter where you are.

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