July 14, 2020 - 7:32 am

Tech workers and entrepreneurs trade in the big city hustle for small towns and coworking communities

By 20Fathoms

Tech workers and entrepreneurs are on the move, fleeing the close quarters of large cities and embracing a different sort of lifestyle in picturesque small towns across America. This reverse migration is fueled by a significant growth in remote working and the opening of incubators and coworking spaces – like 20Fathoms in Traverse City, Mich. – in small towns across the country.

Moving Back to the Heartland

For years, ambitious young professionals crowded into America’s large coastal cities for opportunities at major tech companies and hip startups. Along with the lucrative jobs came high housing prices, traffic, and concrete congestion. But over the past several years, the tide has begun to turn as remote working has gained broader acceptance.

If highspeed internet is available in your dream town, why not take that high paying coastal tech job and move with your family to small-town America? The housing prices outside of major metro areas will provide a warm welcome where you can purchase your own place for significantly less than the cost of rent in the close quarters of a major metro area.

West Bay at Clinch Park
Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City, Mich.

The COVID-19 Effect

The pandemic led to a national experiment in remote working and allowed many of us to rethink how we work, commute, and spend our free time. As the country shut down in March and April of 2020, the west coast giants – Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Twitter – were some of the first to go remote. They set a precedent for the rest of the country and they will likely be the last to return team members to the office. And some of their employees may never go back.

After several months of “stay home” orders, states have begun to reopen and employers and employees are both weighing the newly realized benefits of remote work with the large costs of returning to the office. These considerations include:

  • Teams have reported higher levels of productivity working from home.
  • Company culture has changed. Long-gone are the days of massive open space cube mazes that so many tech companies previously embraced as key for engagement.
  • Working from home is not without challenges as workers miss in-person human interaction and desire a break from life at home.

Coworking Spaces Fill the Gaps

America’s great experiment with remote working demonstrated the value of incubators and coworking spaces like 20Fathoms. There are definite benefits to working remotely, but people still need a place where like-minded people can come together, share ideas, and fuel productivity. As remote working continues to gain a foothold, the popularity of shared spaces will surge.

At 20Fathoms, we work to provide an environment where entrepreneurs and remote workers can thrive. There is no substitute for the in-person brainstorming, networking, and mentorship that happens every day in a space like ours. In addition, we offer educational programming, professional development, and startup support opportunities to help our members and their businesses grow.

Coworking spaces provide remote workers flexibility and greater control over when and where they work. As the nation looks toward recovery from the pandemic, a sense of community and a healthy balance in life are both key. If you love the idea of a slower pace within reach of nature, why not move to your dream destination outside of the city, away from the concrete and congestion?