Living in California and Working Remotely in 2024

Working Remotely in California 2024

For the first time in history, large chunks of the population work remotely. 

You might be thinking 10% of employees get offered the option, but it’s far higher, and growing. 

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) claimed that 27% of workers were remote in August and September 2022 (at least part time). 
  • Forbes found that 31% of full time workers have completely transitioned to remote work.

Simple remote work setup

A fairly simple remote work setup - via Free Images

But then, a paper found that policymakers using that data “might be underestimating WFH levels by up to 25 percentage points”. The researchers put the number at 53.5%, basically twice as much.

By 2024, the world has shifted perspective on health issues, but also the way we work. 

Much of the workforce won’t be tied to specific cities, or will spend far less time in the office. What does that mean for California home buyers? For the younger generations, the first-time homebuyers who have been eyeing the market for a while, have a different set of priorities now. 

In some regards, this is a massive opportunity for remote workers to reshape their lifestyles. Instead of accepting their cities high cost of living or lack of amenities, California can be their oyster. 

Still, there’s some evaluating to do.

San Clemente CA

San Clemente in California - via Flickr

Think About Your Schedule and Employer Expectations

71% of remote workers said working remotely was helping balance their work, as well as their personal lives.

It’s fantastic that you’ve got the chance to work remotely, but if you want a more balanced personal life, you must clearly understand what is expected of you. 

  • Is your role part time office work, mixed with remote work? 

Some remote roles are purely remote, while some businesses offer hybrid work schedules, mixing office time and home time. This can give us the team spirit of the office job, with the freedom of remote work. 

Of course, hybrid roles mean the office can’t be unreasonable far away, even if you only visit once or twice a week. Becoming a fully-remote employee doesn’t have the same constraints.

  • Do you need to be online and available during specific hours?

Being online at certain times could limit you to living within certain time zones. If your client or employer needs you online during normal hours of operation, you’ll have to factor that in.

Employers are usually upfront about their expectations, especially with remote workers. If you are unclear on any details, have the discussion with them.

What Do You Need to Work Successfully?

Upwork and Wikistrat state that “the nature of employment is becoming much more fluid and complex”

High speed internet is one of the first things to consider. Remote workers should be able to communicate with colleagues, download files, and not face connectivity problems. 100+Mbps download with 20 Mbps upload can cost $50 to $100 per month, and AT says speeds above 20Mpbs are recommended for the best Zoom experience.

Perhaps more important than your internet speed is a healthy working environment. This includes naturally lit spaces, good airflow, and nature nearby, but also, the noise. 

Remote workers must think about volume levels. Noises that once seemed like a normal part of daily life might actually inconvenience your work. For example, perhaps the local school raises the noise for a few hours around lunchtime. Sounds from the local sports field might interrupt calls or your home is on the test drive route of the local mechanic. What will your clients or employers think about it when you hop on a Zoom call with them?

All of that noise can drive down the quality of your work and become stressful. A traditional employee isn’t home for most of the day, so most of this isn’t their concern. And, when it gets a little loud, it won't cost a traditional employee any income.   

The good news is that the best Bay Area, CA neighborhoods are peaceful, low traffic, and already well-developed. 

Find Out About the Cost of Living

California’s cost of living can be loftly in some places, and reasonable in plenty of others. Overall, the cost of living in California is over 40% higher than the national average. Buyers find ways to justify that, like looking at the standard of living, job opportunities, and the landscape

Managing the cost of living requires trade-offs. When monthly expenses are high, we tend to purchase less expensive homes and balance the costs that way. 

Expenses in California:

  • Housing (Buyin and Renting) = 101% higher
  • Utilities (Monthly) = 22% higher
  • Food = 17% higher
  • Healthcare = 9% higher
  • Transportation = 27% higher
  • Goods & Services =10% higher

Some areas of California like Fresno, Bakersfield, Modesto, and Sacramento are significantly lower than state averages, but still above national averages.

Long beach CA

Long Beach in California - via Ken Lund

The Remote Work Lifestyle

Remote workers score points for flexible schedules, but they lose points in the health category. They take about 16 steps on average to reach their workstation, and should probably have exercise routines to combat a sedentary lifestyle.

Around California, it’s quite easy to get immersed in nature for an hour (or a whole day). The state is known for its iconic parks, nature preserves, and stunning landscapes. If you walk enough through the mountain ranges, especially around the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll see some of the most gorgeous views in America. All of this is great motivation to leave the home office and get active.

Some cities and neighborhoods offer more than others. You’ll want to make sure that the area you choose has enough exercise space to suit you for years to come. 

Pony Express National Historic Trail

 Pony Express National Historic Trail through California - via Bureau Land Mgmt

It doesn’t always need to be sweat-inducing either! Just getting out of the house for a stroll to the local shops or down to the coastline could increase your overall health. It helps to have an interesting community with plenty of restaurants, green spaces, and attractions.

Have you seen these ultra-livable places to live in Santa Clara County?

Family and Friends are Still Important to Remote Workers

Working remotely doesn’t mean separation from family and friends - at least not for almost a third of the people who moved in 2021.

For many, a key reason to earn income is to spend more quality time with loved ones. That doesn’t always change for remote workers. 

And so, anyone remotely, whether full or part-time, usually thinks the distances. How far away will the family be? How far away will friends be? 

This can reduce ‌neighborhood options for remote workers, but a hardworking realtor will find homes within your ideal driving distance. You may be able to negotiate a better sale price during some times of the year.

Tax Laws Might Change if You Move

Certain states allow remote workers to pay less in taxes, which should always be researched before you move. Even if your salary is slightly less, ‌taxes might increase ‌the money you keep each month.

Local and state taxes vary, so when you move from one place to another, you should speak with a professional. Some states in America (Delaware and New York) may apply state income tax twice to remote workers, which obviously, isn’t ideal.  

The top 5 highest income tax rates in 2023 were found in:

  1. California 13.3%

  2. Hawaii 11%

  3. New York 10.9%

  4. New Jersey 10.75%

  5. District of Columbia 10.75%

These states have no personal income taxes:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wyoming

New Hampshire and Washington don’t tax wage income, but do tax other things like dividends or capital gains.

On top of tax laws, employment laws can also change for remote workers.

Learn About Nearby Healthcare Options

To people with remote work from home jobs, healthcare can sometimes be an afterthought. 

But, if someone in your home needs it, it’s vital to have nearby healthcare options. And, while the cost of living in California is high, the cost of healthcare hasn’t risen at the same rate. 

Based on its health care access, health care quality and public health outcomes, U.S. News ranked the state in 6th place out of all states. You’ll want to find the driving times to nearby facilities and also pinpoint non-urgent care centers.

Just so you know, the healthiest cities in Calfornia are:

  1. San Francisco
  2. San Diego
  3. Irvine
  4. Huntington Beach
  5. Fremont
  6. San Jose
  7. Oakland
  8. Glendale
  9. Long Beach
  10. Sacramento

This data is from the California City News.

Maximize Remote Working Advantages by Choosing the Right Home

The house is always a big contributor to our happiness, but remote workers must take a different perspective. Home and workspace become one, but that doesn’t have to be a drawback for you.

Consider the design of the home. Visualize the layout.

Imagine you’re in your new home office, working with a coffee or tea in hand. What kind of dimensions is the room and is their a view? If you live with your family, perhaps a floor of separation would create a serene work environment. There’s much to think about. 

When you want to move from visualizing to seeing real homes, allow us to help out. We’ve been buying an selling properties in California since 2008, though most of our team began in real estate long before. We’ve got satisfied clients you can hear from and we are here to chat about your remote working situation. 

We also guarantee that you’ll love the home, and if something puts you off within the first 18 months, The Jamison Team will step in to take care of you. At that point, we’ll either get the property sold or buy it from you ourselves. That’s basically insurance on your happiness.

More Questions? Follow-up With Us!

If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

Contact Us To Learn More

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Post a Comment