One in three Australian workers occasionally works from home. Some of those professionals have to stay in their current cities because they go into the office once in awhile. However, many of these professionals work completely from home, and they connect to their coworkers online.
That presents a beautiful opportunity for small towns that don't have a lot of jobs or industry but that want to attract high-earning professionals. When working on urban planning for your area, you may want to focus on amenities that will draw high-income earners with their own jobs to your area. Here are some ideas to consider.
1. Digital Infrastructure
First and foremost, you may want to focus on digital infrastructure. These workers need the ability to upload and download documents quickly, and they need a reliable connection so they can show up for teleconferences. To facilitate that, consider laying fibre optic cables in your community or working with a telecom provider to set that up.
2. Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces are areas for freelancers or remote workers to work together. These spaces may consist of tables, comfortable chairs, and a strong wifi connection, but they may also offer conference rooms, small kitchens or similar amenities that may appeal to freelancers.
Remote workers report that they are more productive in coworking spaces, and if you set up a free community funded space in your area, that may also help attract remote workers.
Libraries can double as coworking spaces, but they also create a focus for the intellectual members of your community. Consider integrating a library into your urban plan or improving your existing library. In particular, you may want to improve digital infrastructure and offer services such as printing or faxing that help remote workers.
You may also want to establish relationships with large city or university libraries. If you have an interlibrary loan with those types of libraries, your community has better access to research materials.
4. Parks and Outdoor Recreation
Most people don't want to work all the time, and in that vein, your community plan should include some provisions for outdoor recreation. Remember, you are trying to attract people to your community because it offers a slower pace of life. The hook should be something like "rely on our great internet to keep your big city job, but then, kick back and relax at the beach, park, riverbank, or other beautiful outdoor areas in our small community."
To get more ideas, contact an urban or community planner directly.