NE Tenn. counties Work From Home analysis scores

Work from home is a bonified workplace culture disruptor that can work hand-in-hand with attracting new residents (human capital) as an economic development component. Northeast Tennessee has some pluses and minuses in its marketing tool kit to get a bigger piece of the action. But the only area counties to get positive scores for that tool kit in a nation-wide, county-by-county Work from Home analysis were Washington and Sullivan. And both were near to the bottom of the state’s positive score list.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has unveiled a national county-by-county Work from Home Score focused on factors that reflect the current fraction of those already working from home, and factors expected to support the trend. The premise is an analytical tool civic leaders and businesses can use to assess their community’s marketing pluses and minuses based on current conditions and infrastructure.

Tennessee was ranked 7th in the nation according to Tennessee Realtors, and Williamson Co. had the highest state score.

Scores for NE Tenn. counties do not mean the work from home trend isn’t at play here. It is, but like a lot of other trends, what the region is getting is trickle-down gains and not the power-house movement many national media reports are about.

“The full impact of working from home on worker productivity, creativity, mentoring, and building a cohesive and collaborative office culture is still unknown, according to the NAR executive summary of its analysis, according to NAR’s executive summary.

“However, there is evidence that indicates that working from home has not had a negative impact on worker productivity.  Sixty-two percent of Americans worked from home, and three in five U.S. workers who worked from home during the pandemic prefer to continue to do so.

“To capture this change over time, NAR developed a Work from Home Score that encapsulates factors that reflect the current fraction of workers already working from home and factors that are expected to support the trend to work from home or work remotely―internet connectivity, the fraction of workers that work in industries that have normally been heavy occupiers of office space, home affordability, and a county’s population growth.

“Based on these underlying factors, NAR estimated a Work from Home Score for 3,142 counties. A positive score (above 0) means that a county’s score

“How might the Work from Home Score be used?

“For one, the score is a good measure of the competitiveness of a county in attracting residents and businesses, given the importance of the factors that are used in creating the score: for example, counties with more affordable housing and with good internet connectivity will be more attractive compared to another county which fares not as well in terms of these factors. County governments may use the score as a competitiveness indicator, attracting companies in technology, finance, or management. Companies can also use the measure to assess their work from home or remote work policy. Companies can use the score for planning an optimal geographic office configuration (e.g., a small headquarters office in the central business district and satellite offices in the suburbs). Real estate developers can use the score for evaluating where there may be a demand for housing with small home offices or flexible office spaces. Finally, a prospective homebuyer can use the score as a first-step indicator to identifying counties that offer supportive conditions for working from home.”

NAR will update this score at least once a year as underlying data sources are updated (U.S. Census Bureau and FCC data).

More about and the county-by-county list can be found at https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/work-from-home-counties.

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