Perhaps you've been thinking that 2019 is the year that you'll finally do it: You'll take control of your destiny and do what's required so that you can work from home.
It makes sense. We know from research that people who work from home at least part of the time report better health, more efficiency, and higher life satisfaction.
Of course, it's not as if most people who work for someone else can just flick a switch and suddenly have the right to work from home. They have to negotiate with their employers, make their case, and act.
But, if you've been on the fence about doing it, one U.S. state might have just the impetus you need to make the jump: $10,000 for up to 1,000 people who can show that they work from home for an out-of-state company.
There's a catch, of course. The state that's putting up the money is Vermont, and you have to move there in order to qualify.
Oh, and it's being offered on a first-come, first-served basis (with a few restrictions) until the money runs out.
I wrote about this when the Vermont government first approved the program, but now it's finally here: One of the requirements is that you have to move to Vermont after January 1, 2019, since the government didn't want to pay people who were already going to live there and work from home anyway.
But that day is finally here today (assuming you're reading this on the day it was published): New Year's Day, 2019).
Beyond that, the restrictions seem pretty easy to comply with, assuming you truly and legitimately are working remotely from an out of state company. You have to:
- be a full-time employee of a business "with its domicile or primary place of business" outside Vermont
- perform "the majority of...employment duties remotely from a home office or a co-working space located in the state"
- demonstrate qualifying expenses
In theory, the payment is supposed to reimburse you for the cost of moving to the Green Mountain State (you'll have to learn that nickname if you're going to live there). And note that you can actually work from a co-working space, not only out of your house.
That last point seems like a good idea if you're going to move to a new state; many of us meet people through work, but you'd otherwise literally be working alone and from home. It turns out there are at least 19 co-working spaces in Vermont, spread around a state of only 625,000 people.
That last number -- the population of only 625,000 -- mostly explains why the state is doing this to begin with.
That, combined with the fact that the population is aging, and that the tax base is dwindling. (There's a similar program now for people who want to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, by the way).
So what can you expect if you move to Vermont? In short: a relatively exercise-conscious, healthy living state with a high intelligence and a quaint New England standoffishness, apparently. Over the past year we've seen that it's:
- Ranked the 39th most polite state in the country (an eight-way tie actually, with South Dakota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Montana, Indiana, Louisiana, and Idaho)
- The fourth-highest average IQ
- The ninth-fittest population out of 50
- The second-best ranked in terms of how much exercise their people get
- The 12th best drivers in the country.
- The 12th best life expectancy
- But only number 38 out of 50 in terms of how happy their people are.
Oh, and it's cold in the winter--but beautiful almost all year round.
If you're thinking about it, I'd recommend visiting now or in February, so you'll see if you're really the kind of person who can thrive in that climate.
Then check out the fine print -- including being aware of just how many people wind up qualifying -- and get ready to apply.