West Virginia is opening up its arms — and importantly its wallet — to lure in those likely to be working from home for some time after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state announced on Monday it would give people $12,000 cash with no strings attached to move to its confines. Also included is one year of free recreation at the state's various public lands, which it values at $2,500. Once all the particulars of the plan are added up, West Virginia says the total value to a person is $20,000.
The initiative is being made possible after a $25 million donation from Intuit's executive chairman (and former long-time CEO) Brad D. Smith and his wife Alys.
"I have the opportunity to spend a lot of time speaking with my peers in the industry in Silicon Valley as well as across the world. Most are looking at a hybrid model, but many of them — if not all of them — have expanded the percentage of their workforce that can work full-time remotely," Smith told Yahoo Finance Live about the plan.
Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Marshall University in West Virginia.
Added Smith, "I think we have seen the pendulum swing all the way to the right when everyone had to come to the office and then all the way to left when everyone was forced to shelter in place. And somewhere in the middle, we'll all be experimenting in the next year or so to see where is that sweet-spot. But I do know employees now have gotten a taste for what it's like to be able to live in a new area with less commute time, less access to outdoor amenities like West Virginia has to offer. I think that's absolutely going to become part of the consideration set in this war for talent."
That war for talent post-pandemic could be about to heat up within corporate America, and perhaps spur states to follow West Virginia's lead.
The likes of Facebook, Twitter and Apple are among those big companies poised to have hybrid workforces for years after the pandemic. That has some employees considering moves to lower cost states and those that offer better overall qualities of life.
A recent study out of Gartner found that 82% of respondents intend to permit remote working some of the time as employees return to the workplace. Meanwhile, 47% plan to let employees work remotely permanently.
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