Wyoming Communities Should Create a Strategy to Attract Remote Workers
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Could remote workers help Wyoming to recover faster? It’s certainly possible. Remote workers would bring with them the spending power associated with good paying jobs, since most remote positions are mid to senior level. They would purchase homes, pay property taxes, shop at local establishments and eat at local restaurants. Attracting them to Wyoming could have a significant impact on our economy as we work to recover from COVID-19.
Workforce attraction efforts are not new to Wyoming. So what makes today different from before? In short - COVID-19.
Throughout the country major population centers, both cities and suburbs, have spent the past six months in some level of lockdown. Whether this has meant being forced to stay home like they were in New York, California, Maryland and Washington D.C., or Ohio and Illinois where it was common to see businesses shuttered due to local restrictions. Beyond restrictions, people have had to face the fear caused by large numbers of cases in the west and east coasts. Now states like Florida and Arizona who have seen a significant spike in cases. This is the reality of living in densely populated areas during a global pandemic, and this reality is causing people to reconsider where they want to live.
As the second least populated state in the U.S., with only 6 people per square mile, those living in Wyoming are at a lower risk for the spread of disease due to the sheer ability to social distance. By comparison, Florida has 375 people per square mile (and 266,119 cases of COVID-19) and California has 251 people per square mile (and 320,804 cases of COVID-19). In Wyoming, where there are just 6 people per square mile, there were only 1,545 confirmed cases as of July 14, 2020. The demographics make for a compelling story. If you want your family to live in a less populated area where the risk is lower for being exposed to the virus, moving to Wyoming makes a lot of sense.
Those who have the freedom to work from home, or who are retired, can have peace of mind by moving their family to Wyoming. By creating a strategy for remote workforce attraction, Wyoming communities may be able to attract some of the people who are ready to move and looking for their new home.
Wyoming is an attractive option for virtual workers
By presenting a move to Wyoming as a way to address the very legitimate needs and concerns of people living in populated areas, our communities have the opportunity to shine.
Still, it would be a mistake to create a strategy based on this alone. Communities must also consider the other assets that they have to offer that make quality of life high. Things like access to outdoor recreation and activities are a top selling point that should be highlighted using images and video whenever possible. Real estate prices can also be a benefit. Though Wyoming real estate is higher than many midwest states, it is still considerably lower than cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, New York, Washington D.C. and Miami - all areas heavily hit by COVID-19.
Each community should create a comprehensive list of their assets and determine how to best present them.
Reach people in multiple ways.
Don’t wait for remote workers to find your community. Create an outbound strategy to reach them where they live. This could include low-cost digital ads on social media and Google. Other ideas include radio or television ads in specific markets. How you advertise should be based on the availability of budget, but virtually all communities can afford some level of digital advertising.
Writing blogs, articles and press releases are another way to promote your community's assets and try to reach people organically.
In addition, economic developers should consider meeting with local executives to discuss the possibility of promoting Wyoming to employees they have living outside of the area. For companies with multiple locations, this may be the best time to move more of their employees to a state with so few cases, as compared with other areas.
Let’s make the most of the opportunities we have.
COVID-19 has created real challenges for the state of Wyoming, including budget cuts that will impact us all. Still, opportunities do exist in this situation and it is up to us to make the most of them.