For many office workers, remote work is here to stay. While some companies are trying to bring employees back to the office, at least two or three days a week, the career site Ladders estimates that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022; and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023. They also expect remote jobs to continue to grow through 2023.
Remote work may have started as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is now a desirable job perk for many. According to McKinsey’s most recent American Opportunity Survey, “When people have the chance to work flexibly, 87 percent of them take it … this represents a tectonic shift in where, when, and how Americans want to work and are working.”
In response to this trend, some states and cities have created incentive programs with relocation assistance for remote workers. Among these is “Ascend West Virginia,” which offers up to $12,000 in cash and other free perks for remote workers who move to the Mountain State. Keep reading to learn more about Ascend and whether it may be right for you.
Benefits of Remote Work
Are you currently working remotely, but still live near your company’s headquarters? Were you working from home during the pandemic but are now back in the office? Are you currently looking for 100% remote jobs? Let’s explore the benefits of fully committing to the remote work lifestyle.
- No Commute - The average one-way commute time reached a new high of 27.6 minutes in 2019, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Round trip, that’s nearly an hour of driving or riding public transit. Working remotely gives you that hour back to sleep, exercise, read, hang out with your kids, or however else you want to spend it.
- No Dress Code - While you may not want to work in your pajamas (though, no judgement if you do!), you don’t have to dress up if you don’t want to. Work in leggings, jeans, sweatpants, or whatever you’re comfortable with. You only need to throw on a dressier top, aka the “Zoom Shirt,” for video meetings. Say goodbye to uncomfortable shoes, too.
- Flexibility - Depending on the type of remote job you have, you may be able to work a flexible schedule based on your preferences and needs. For example, early risers could start at seven and be done by three. Night owls don’t have to start at nine. You could take a walk after lunch or go to the gym. And everyone could flex their hours around doctor’s appointments, car maintenance, and family responsibilities.
- Healthier Habits - Working remotely can also help you adopt the healthier habits you’ve been meaning to start. With no commute and a more flexible schedule, you can fit in time to move your body, meditate, or cook from scratch. The temptation to eat out for lunch is easier to resist when you already have a kitchen full of good food to choose from.
- Savings - If you’re looking for ways to reduce spending and improve your budget, working remotely offers plenty of opportunities. No commute means less spending on gas, oil changes and repairs, parking fees, tolls, car insurance premiums, and/or public transit tickets and passes. Maybe you don’t need a car at all now or your family can go to one car instead of maintaining and insuring two.
You can also reduce your spending on clothing, makeup, manicures, hair color–whatever went into creating a professional image. Making coffee and eating lunch at home instead of buying it out will also add up to meaningful savings.
- Lower Cost of Living - Finally, remote work means you can live anywhere. If you’re currently strained by the costs of living in an expensive metro area such as D.C., New York, San Francisco, etc., you can relocate somewhere with a lower cost of living–and perhaps a more relaxed, slower-paced lifestyle, too. Your salary will go further in West Virginia, plus with Ascend WV you’ll receive:
- $10,000 paid out in monthly installments over your first year as a Mountain State resident
- $2,000 for completing your second consecutive year
- A year of free outdoor recreation valued at over $2,500
- Free access to a co-working space
- Free social events and tours to help you acclimate and make friends
- Free professional development
Are you convinced yet that the remote work lifestyle is for you? Let’s take a closer look at all the benefits you can enjoy as a remote worker in West Virginia.
Why Relocate to West Virginia?
You’ve probably heard the iconic John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” with lyrics “Almost heaven, West Virginia / Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River / Life is old there, older than the trees / Younger than the mountains, growin' like a breeze.”
Not only is West Virginia beautiful, with a friendly and relaxed lifestyle, but it’s also among the best low cost of living areas in the country. The average home value in the Eastern Panhandle (Martinsburg, Charles Town, Shepherdstown, Inwood) is currently (as of December 2022) around $338,000 according to Zillow. That is significantly lower than the national average home price of $428,700.
In overall cost of living, West Virginia is the fifth lowest in the country, about 12 percent below the national average.
The Eastern Panhandle
In West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, where we are located, you’re far enough from the hustle and bustle to enjoy some peace and quiet, but still close enough (about an hour) to get to D.C. and Dulles when needed. Learn more about the cities and small towns in the Eastern Panhandle of WV:
- Shepherdstown: This historic small town overlooks the Potomac River and is only 90 minutes from both Baltimore and D.C.
- Martinsburg: This city is the seat of Berkeley County and features a historic downtown area with shopping and dining options.
- Charles Town: The seat of Jefferson County, featuring an active downtown and quality education options.
Things To Do In West Virginia
It’s no secret that West Virginia is one of the best states for outdoor recreation. Wherever you reside in the Mountain State, you can count on having world-class outdoor activities nearby:
- 200 mountain bike trails
- Seven different ski areas
- Miles of
- Berkeley and Jefferson Counties are home to parts of the well-known Appalachian Trail, Camp Hill and Appalachian Trail
- Lots of other outdoor activities
Don’t forget that the Ascend WV offer includes free equipment rentals!
Great Food and Drinks in the Eastern Panhandle
When you’re ready to come in from outside, grab some great food and drinks at:
- Maria’s Taqueria (Shepherdstown, WV)
- Just in Time Seafood (Martinsburg, WV)
- Alfredo’s Mediterranean Grille & Steakhouse (Charles Town, WV)
- Black Draft Distillery (Martinsburg, WV)
- Bavarian Brother’s Brewing (Shepherdstown, WV)
- Abolitionist Ale Works (Charles Town, WV)
JSB can help!
Relocating to a new state isn’t easy, no matter how excited you are to make a change. So, let us help. We’ve been in the Eastern Panhandle for a LONG time and we know you’ll love it here. If you’re ready to take advantage of the Ascend WV offer and settle down, we can help you open a new bank account and get a mortgage for your home purchase.