More and more people are working from home, and that’s having a serious impact on suburban searches.
Working from home is an increasing reality. The number of employers offering a work-from-home option has grown 40% in the last five years and, now, nearly 4 million people work from home at least part-time.
While that’s a definite win for any employees, it’s particularly beneficial for working parents in the suburbs. Think about it: not having to commute in and out of the city daily will boost your work time AND family time—and that’s a win.
That said, working from home comes with lots of unique considerations. From space to work in and out of the home to ensuring you’ve got a direct route into the city when you need to, here’s what to consider when you’re considering working from home…in the suburbs.
#1. You can live further out—and get more house
Since you aren’t commuting to the city daily, moving further out may be in the cards—and that could mean greater affordability, bigger properties and, overall, more options to explore.
On Long Island, for example, homes in Nassau County—the county closest to the city—average 18% higher sale prices than in neighboring Suffolk County. Same on the other side of New York—Westchester homes average 35% more than in Rockland County. If you’re not commuting daily, you can swap a few extra minutes on the train when you do head in for tens or even hundreds of thousands in savings on your home.
“Many families want to look in towns with a sub-30-minute train ride into the city,” says Suburban Jungle Strategist Erika Ades. “Those towns are great, but you’ll also find amazing schools, beautiful downtowns, tons of family activities and, often, larger properties for 20% to 50% less if you’re willing to look in Suffolk. These are incredible communities, with usually an hour-plus train ride into the city.”
Many of these towns, she adds, are “destination” communities for Long Island families — towns like Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington, Northport and others are packed with amazing restaurants, beaches and more, making them ideal for families craving a laid back but, still, super-active lifestyle.
#2. You will, though, need a solid train…
That said, you’ll likely need to head into the city from time to time. While many people are fine with an hour-plus commute if they aren’t going to the city daily, it’s important to have a reliable train line. When you do need to go in, you definitely don’t want to be stuck or find yourself with limited options when it comes to getting home.
#3. Make sure you can GET OUT when you need to
Many work-from-homers find that, at some point, they need to get OUT to get work done—make sure your town has spots to support that. Whether it’s a local Starbucks, a WeWork or other community spot, look for space you can work from as needed—a space that has comfortable seating, wifi and a positive, not-too-loud vibe that will ensure you can be 100% productive on your work-from-home (but not home) days.
“Don’t be afraid to think outside the box,” Strategist Maya Konig notes. “You don’t need an ‘official’ workspace to get work done. Many of my clients work from libraries, cafes, coffee shops.” Apps like WorkFrom are, she notes, making it easier than ever to find spaces. “You can check out apps and other sites like WorkForm and find a table at a cool cafe or restaurant that’s happy to have you grab a table and work, especially when they’re slow. That really makes working from anywhere a possibility.”
#4. But be sure you have dedicated workspace
At the same time, you’ll no doubt be working from home a lot, too. Be sure your new home has enough space for you to carve out a dedicated workspace. While a kitchen island or corner of the den may seem like a great spot to work, soon enough you’ll want something that’s more focused and more organized around your workday. And, besides, when the kids come home, you won’t want after school snacks tossed all over your presentation…
#5. Find places to network
In the city it’s easy to pop out and get in the mix—that’s a bit tougher in the city. Ideally, look for opportunities to engage with fellow professionals, entrepreneurs and work-from-home parents. Local business organizations, sites like MeetUp, Facebook and, even, your kids’ schools are great places to look for these networking opportunities.
There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.