Relocation Incentives

By on Dec 20, 2018 in Coworking, News

Locales across the United States are using relocation packages to siphon talent from larger cities. The deals include everything from free rent to cash allowances and home appliances. The trend can mean notable government contracts for co-working spaces, multifamily and single-family housing providers.states that offer relocation incentives for renters, homebuyers and telecommuters

Each program is different, but many share common threads. Their marketing messages often aim to attract newcomers from cities where significant portions of income are directed towards housing. Several locales appeal to professionals in technology and science-based fields.

One program has gained significant attention in recent weeks.

Your New Home: Tulsa, Oklahoma

The George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is currently accepting applications for its remote employee relocation program, Tulsa Remote. The Foundation is offering $10,000 cash, a rent-free furnished apartment, and a desk at 36 Degrees North, a local coworking space.

In exchange, recipients must live in Tulsa full-time for at least one year. Recipients are also encouraged to participate in community events. Many of these social opportunities are created especially for program participants. Tulsa Remote recipients are invited to exclusive wine tastings, group outings, and neighborhood panel discussions.

The hope, says GKFF’s executive director Ken Levitt, is that the transplants will establish a local community and decide to stay beyond the required year.

In theory, the remote employees will not only bring cash into Tulsa. They will show local young professionals that they don’t have to leave their small-town home to be successful, suggests Sara Sutton, the CEO of FlexJobs, a remote job search engine. Tulsa Remote and similar programs remove the stigma from telecommuting, which some believe is not a “legitimate thing.”

But telecommuting is quite a legitimate thing. A 2017 Gallup poll revealed that 43 percent of employed Americans have worked remotely in some capacity. The figure is up 4 percent from 2012. The flexibility to work remotely is a major factor in a prospect’s decision to accept or decline a position. Telecommuting carries benefits for employers, too, who can save thousands of dollars through teleworking options.

Tulsa is the latest location to offer a relocation incentive.

A National Effort

Similar relocation programs have been implemented throughout the nation.

In Vermont, a publicly-funded program strives for similar results as Oklahoma. Recent legislation offers $10,000 in tax breaks to telecommuters who relocate to the state for two years. Applicants’ employers must be located outside of the state. Applicants must also agree to do the bulk of their work in a home office or local co-working space. So far, the program is limited to 100 people on a first come, first served basis. There are plans to expand the program by an additional 20 remote employees in coming years.

In terms of cash value, Connecticut is the program to beat. The Re: New Haven program offers up to $80,000 in relocation incentives. The program is linked to homeownership, not employment. First-time homebuyers can receive $10,000 in interest-free cash. After five years in the same residence, the loan is forgiven. Those interested in renovating can get $30,000, which is forgiven after 10 years. Children who have relocated with their families may receive free college tuition if they establish residency before graduating high school.

The grandfather of all such programs is in Iowa. Since 2014, the city of Newton has offered new home builders and homebuyers $10,000 to call the area home. Participants also receive a welcome package that includes $3,000 in home merchandise.

Relocation programs may be valuable partners for coworking spaces, multifamily and single-family organizations. The benefits will become clearer once programs publicize data from their first few years of participation.