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Two Central Fla. Cities Best for Hybrid Workers

A study that looked at the number of hybrid jobs, broadband, housing, and more listed Tampa (No. 3) and Orlando (No. 15) as top cities for worker flexibility.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A study of 70 U.S. cities by CommercialSearch – part of the Yardi suite of commercial listing platforms – found Central Florida cities in the top 20: Tampa at No. 3 and Orlando at No. 15.

According to the study, a number of flexible work arrangements exist, including gig work and fulltime work from home, and hybrid work arrangements appear to have staying power after the complete shutdowns during the pandemic. It benefits employees who gain a better work/life balance and lower commuting costs, and it benefits employers who can save on office expenses.

Top 20 study highlights

  • Most were mid-sized cities with populations of less of 500,000 or less
  • More than half (12) are located in the Southern U.S.
  • Midwestern U.S. cities had the second-biggest amount (5)
  • Only two Western U.S. cities and one Northeastern U.S. entry made the list.

To determine the best cities for hybrid work, study authors awarded points for the variables studied, and cities with the highest points landed higher on the list. Top city on the list, Atlanta, had a score of 77.55. At the bottom of the top 20 list, Louisville, Kentucky, had a score of 54.91. Those variables included:

  • Hybrid job listings per every 100,000 residents
  • Housing costs as a percentage of household incomes
  • Travel time to work
  • Coworking space per every 100,000 residents
  • Custom life quality index
  • High-speed internet coverage

Tampa scored 66.68 points, and its top variables were hybrid job listings and coworking space density.

“Businesses in Tampa seem to have also embraced the hybrid work model: Tampa had the third-most hybrid job listings per 100,000 residents, behind Pittsburgh and Atlanta,” the study reported. “In fact, employment agency company Kforce (which is headquartered in Tampa) ran several surveys last year that showed a significant majority of the workforce that was interviewed preferred an ‘office-optional’ model of hybrid work.”

It notes that office space in Tampa “has become a destination of choice for some of the biggest names in town,” including Nestle.

It also notes that Tampa’s central business district doesn’t have “large blocks of empty space due to flexible work models. … A city like Tampa – which harbors a highly diverse economy – is well-positioned to take on the new work/life balance standard. To that end, one advantage that the city already has is its local coworking scene: Tampa had the fourth-most coworking spaces per 100,000 residents among the top 20 cities in our ranking, thus offering both workers and businesses plenty of options to meet the need for an occasional third space.”

Orlando scored 56.88 points. It’s top-scoring variables were coworking space density and quality of life.

Study authors said Orlando had a lot of high and low scores, and the quality-of-life index was No. 2 nationally. It also had “some of the highest urban densities of recreational, health care, and educational establishments of the cities we compared.”

Orlando also scored big for flexible workspace – about 15 coworking spaces per 100,000 residents – that was also relatively affordable.

“However, the central Florida city earned some of its lowest scores for commute time and housing costs,” the study said. “Specifically, the estimated 26 minutes spent getting to work here represented the longest average commute time among the top 20 cities in this ranking. And, with housing costs in the city accounting for an average of about 31% of the median household income, Orlando also ranked most financially challenging for housing out of all of the top 20 cities on the list.”

Top 20 U.S. hybrid-work cities

  1. Atlanta
  2. St. Louis
  3. Tampa
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Minneapolis
  7. Irving, Texas
  8. Madison, Wisconsin
  9. Raleigh, North Carolina
  10. Scottsdale, Arizona
  11. Plano, Texas
  12. Austin, Texas
  13. Arlington, Virginia
  14. Charlotte, North Carolina
  15. Orlando
  16. Irvine, Calif.
  17. Durham, North Carolina
  18. Richmond, Virginia
  19. Kansas City, Missouri
  20. Louisville, Kentucky

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