For This Work Style, Montana Ranks Terribly Low, But Is That Bad?
It was around this time three years ago that an event severely divided Montanans. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Bullock issued a stay-at-home order, as did many other states, to slow the spread of COVID-19, and many Montanas didn't appreciate the edict. Among other implications, this meant that many Montanans, for the first time, were working from home. And as we know, the trend to work remotely has continued, though many companies are insisting that their employees work on location. This has resulted in many hybrid work situations.
The State of Working from Home in 2023
On the one hand, having the opportunity to work remotely and live anywhere is appealing for many people (and certainly contributed to the influx of people to Montana in the last several years) but there are those who also prefer an office environment, or frankly don't work in a job that can be done from home. Still, according to a study cited by WalletHub, 12.7% of people who work full-time do so remotely and another 28% split their time between the office and home.
If we can assume that a significant amount of the American workforce is still working remotely, then the latest study from WalletHub puts this reality into stark relief. They've determined the best states for remote work and Montana ranks third from the bottom, or 49 out of 51 states.
Why Montana Is Ranked So Poorly for Remote Work
You almost don't even have to look at the study to discern why Montana would rank so low. There aren't that many jobs in Montana that make remote work feasible and much of the state still has issues with connectivity (though this is getting better). Sure enough, the WalletHub Study has Montana ranked 50th for "Share of Potential Telecommuters" meaning "Potential telecommuters are considered to be those in occupations classified as conducive to telecommuting: executive, administrative, managerial; professional specialty; technicians and related; sales; and administrative support," and ranked 47th for "Households' Internet Access."
What It Means for Montana
Is it so bad that Montana isn't conducive to working from home? That it might mean we are still the Last Best Place? That we're not chained to our computers but instead enjoying the mountains (that may be impacting your internet access) or we have jobs outdoors, which don't need the internet. With a historically low unemployment rate, just maybe that's the case.