Yes, the rumors are true. Bend, Oregon leads the nation with 12.1% of its workforce telecommuting. That’s according to the latest census estimates and it gives Bend another accolade along with being one of the fastest growing cities in Oregon.
So what drives (pun intended) people to become a remote worker and live in Bend? Is it the bustling growth of the city? Is our traffic so bad that everyone stays home to work? Is it the presence of the tech industry? The answer to each of those questions is “no”. Believe it or not, this phenomenon of remote working in Bend is driven by quality of life. And there’s plenty of attributes of the Central Oregon area that contribute to a high quality of life. From a mild climate to a myriad of outdoor activities close to home to a vibrant town with great food and local beer, wine and spirits, it’s not shocking that people gravitate to Bend from all over.
Proximity to the Redmond Airport about 20 miles north of Bend makes it easy for remote workers to connect with clients or home offices. With six airlines (United, Delta, Alaska, American, Sun Country and Allegiant) providing services out of Redmond, direct flights to Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Denver are readily available.
There’s a certain level of disconnect, though, that comes naturally with being a remote worker. The lack of in-person human interaction can become a grind over time. But there is hope. Bend has several options for renting coworking space. BendTECH was one of the first in town and has a mission to create and sustain a culture of collaboration, networking and entrepreneurship in a thriving and diverse business community. The Haven was created by women for everyone. The Wilds is Bend’s first hybrid coworking and art studio space and they cater to creative people (think of photographers, designers, writers, etc.), located on Bend’s West Side. If you love dogs, check out Embark, a coworking community that in true Bend fashion, allows dogs! Over on the east part of Bend, you will find 9th Street Village, a coworking environment that blends tech and fine arts. Located in North West Crossing, The Collective NWX is Bend’s newest coworking space.
If you don’t need coworking space, but you need space for your products, Collective Pallet offers shared wareshouse space and services for your business.
Each of these options for working space requires a membership, but the cost can be worth it to maintain a sense of connectivity and a source for inspiration and innovation.
Beyond the connectivity afforded by coworking spaces, Meetup provides a great channel for remote workers to engage with other people based on shared interests in work, play and life.