Emily Weddington put some distance between herself and her West Midtown office in Atlanta during the pandemic.
It's now, give or take, 240 miles door to door.
She and her husband have the same Atlanta-based jobs they did before COVID-19. She's in marketing for a company that produces corporate reports and he's in finance for a commercial real estate firm.
The two just no longer live in a house with a small yard in Brookhaven, Ga. Instead, they are in another time zone. They bought a bigger house on five acres outside Nashville. They each have an office in their Middle Tennessee home. They're closer to his parents. And their two English Setters have room to run.
When she looks out her backdoor, all Weddington sees is green space. "It's a sense of relief: We are not crazy," she said. "We can do this."
For many Americans, the pandemic redefined jobs and workplaces. Shuttered offices and relaxed work-from-home policies meant not having to make daily commutes.
For some, the new flexibility cleared the way for really remote, remote work. They kept their jobs but moved to another part of the United States or stayed put after landing a new job that traditionally was based elsewhere. Many expect it to last long after the pandemic.
While long-distance working existed before the coronavirus, companies have become increasingly open to more employees living far from where their jobs would traditionally be based. The shift poses new benefits — and challenges — for job seekers, employers and, potentially, communities such as metro Atlanta where office-based work is a big part of the economy.
People looking for jobs could dramatically increase the number of positions they pursue without having to factor in cost-of-living changes, pulling kids out of school or being farther away from family and friends. But they also could be competing with more people from virtually anywhere.
Work-from-home job postings increased 199% nationally for the 12 months ending in March compared with the same period a year earlier at CareerBuilder, a job listings and recruitment company.