Best Places for Remote Workers in Florida

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Updated on Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Remote work can open doors when location isn’t a concern. Moving closer to family, pursuing a lower cost of living or visiting loved ones for an extended period are all possible when you can work wherever you please.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, working remotely may very well continue to be the new normal for many workers. To learn more about what it would be like to work remotely in Florida, MagnifyMoney researchers created six weighted categories — from home size to internet availability to safety — to rank the places in the Sunshine State that are best for remote workers.

MagnifyMoney analysts ranked every municipality and U.S. Census-designated place in Florida with a population of at least 5,000 people. This is what our analysts found.

Key findings

  • Belle Isle in Orange County tops our list of best places for remote workers in Florida, with a score of 82.4.
  • Rio Pinar in Orange County ranks second, with a score of 81.4. The rest of our top five is as follows:
    • No. 3: Wedgefield in Orange County, with a score of 81.3
    • No. 4: Conway in Orange County, with a score of 80.5
    • No. 5: Lake Butler in Orange County and Oviedo in Seminole County, with scores of 80.4
  • 12 of the top 25 places for remote working in Florida are in Orange County, followed by:
    • 6 in Seminole County
    • 3 each in Sarasota and Brevard counties

Top 5 places for remote workers in Florida

No. 1: Belle Isle

Ranking as the best place for remote workers in Florida is Belle Isle, the “beautiful island.” Among the top five, Belle Isle — in Orange County — shines when it comes to its home cost score.

The median home value (owner-estimated) and median rent in Belle Isle is $312,900 and $867, respectively, compared with:

  • Conway: $232,200 and $1,228
  • Wedgefield: $242,200 and $1,419
  • Oviedo: $273,300 and $1,521
  • Rio Pinar: $266,800 and $1,752
  • Lake Butler: $616,100 and $1,817

Belle Isle’s median home value is second-highest among this group, but its median rent is far lower than the rest (and nearly half than that of Lake Butler). And homes in Belle Isle have a median of 6.5 rooms, so that’s plenty of room to set up a home office and earn money to put in your savings account.

No. 2: Rio Pinar

If you like to relax and unwind by hitting the golf course on weekends, Rio Pinar and its country club could be right for you. There are other options in Orange County, too, as 94% of residents have access to exercise opportunities.

When it comes to finding the right place to live, 100% of homes in this census-designated place are single family and detached. That could provide more opportunities to be outdoors and be socially distant amid a global pandemic.

No. 3: Wedgefield

Calling all golf fans: If Rio Pinar isn’t right for you, Wedgefield could be another option about 20 miles to the east, still within Orange County.

Similar to Rio Pinar, 97.4% of the homes within this unincorporated area are single family and detached, so there’s opportunity to spread out with a median of 6.6 rooms. Did we mention that Wedgefield has an average of 236 sunny days a year?

No. 4: Conway

Orange County, with Conway at No. 4, continues to clean up in our top five best places for remote workers in Florida. While the safety score is county-based — and would be the same for the previous places mentioned since they’re all in Orange County — here are some highlights.

In Orange County, there are:

  • 648 violent crime incidents per 100,000 people (versus an average of 420 across Florida)
  • 11 motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people (versus an average of 14 across Florida)

This means that despite higher-than-average violent crime incidents, Conway made up ground in other categories, including climate change impact.

No. 5 (tie): Lake Butler

Lake Butler and Oviedo tie for fifth place on our list of best places for remote workers in Florida with an overall score of 80.4.

It may be difficult to choose which city has more to offer, but if you’re a workaholic at heart, you’ll appreciate that Lake Butler sails past Oviedo when it comes to internet availability. In Lake Butler, 90.8% of people have either cable, fiber or DSL, the highest among the top five.

No. 5 (tie): Oviedo

Oviedo is in Seminole County, making it the only place among the top five not in Orange County. Compared to the Orange County locations, Oviedo and Seminole County stand out in the safety category:

  • 357 violent crime incidents per 100,000 people
  • 10 motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people

Oviedo, with nearly 39,600 residents, has the highest population among the top five places.

Tips for finding a work-life balance when working remotely

While remote working is all the rage these days, some workers may be eagerly awaiting the return to their workplace. Working remotely isn’t for everybody, but it does have some undeniable benefits. Not having to commute saves both time and money, you can enjoy casual Friday every day and working from home can make it easier to balance a personal and professional life. On the flip side, setting boundaries that lead to a better work-life balance can be tricky if your bedroom and office are one in the same.

Consider these tips for finding work-life balance when working remotely, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

  • Get outside. It’s no secret that Florida can be home to great weather year-round. A lack of snow in the winter means you can take your lunch break on your patio if you wish. You can swap your commute time for a nice jog after work and play fetch with Fido in the backyard during breaks. Working from home makes it easy to stay slumped in front of your computer all day, so make sure you get up, get some fresh air and stretch a little.
  • Set communication boundaries. When you can’t see each other face to face, it can be hard to know when colleagues are working. If your coworkers “need” you when you’re working from home, chances are they’ll reach out via email, text or Slack whenever is best for them. That’s why it’s important to set clear communication boundaries regarding when you’ll be online, how quickly you tend to respond and how they can reach you. Just because they like to work late doesn’t mean you need to.
  • Step away from the technology. Now that you’ve told your coworkers when they can reach you, enforce those boundaries by stepping away from your technology. Turn off alerts on your phone and don’t check email outside of work hours. Even if you don’t respond right away, constant pings from your colleagues can disrupt the time you need to recharge.
  • Designate a work space. As tempting as it can be to work from the comfort of your bed, you’ll feel better returning to it after being away from it during the workday. Set a clear area in your home to work. You don’t need a full room dedicated to an office. A consistent spot at the kitchen table will do. It can be helpful to create physical boundaries between where you work and relax to keep your home a respite from the daily stressors that are part of your job.

Best places for remote workers in Florida: Full rankings

Understanding the rankings

To rank which places in Florida are best for remote workers, we created six categories:

  • Internet availability
  • Home size
  • Home cost
  • Health and lifestyle
  • Safety
  • Climate change impact

Each data point among the categories was individually scored on a rank of 1 to 100, with one representing the worst and 100 representing the best. These scores were then averaged to create the category score. Lastly, the category scores were combined (using the weights described below) to create the overall score. All scores were rounded to the tenth.

The categories and their components are:

Internet availability score (20% weight)

  • The percentage of people who have either cable, fiber or DSL. This shows whether these high-speed and more reliable internet services are widely available.

Home size score (20%)

  • The percentage of single-family, detached homes. The outdoor opportunities these homes can provide are more important as people seek to socially distance in comfort.
  • The median number of rooms within homes.

Home cost score (20%)

  • The median home value (owner estimate). This is how much owners (in 2018) thought their homes would sell for if they were for sale.
  • The median rent.

Health and lifestyle (20%)

  • The highest-ranked hospital in the county. The federal government rates hospitals across a variety of outcome metrics. In counties with multiple hospitals, we took the score of the highest-ranked hospital (on a scale of one through five).
  • The number of people per primary care physician in the county.
  • The average number of mentally unhealthy days in the county. This is the average number of days that residents reported being mentally unwell in a given month.
  • The percentage of county residents who have limited access to healthy foods.
  • The percentage of county residents who have access to exercise opportunities.

Safety score (10%)

  • The number of motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people in the county.
  • The number of violent crime incidents per 100,000 people in the county.
  • The average daily density of fine particulate matter in the county’s air (micrograms per cubic meter). Breathable air has never been more important amid a pandemic.

Climate change impact score (10%)

  • Predicted climate change impact on the county (from 2040 to 2060). This is the sum of impact scores across six categories, each with a worst possible score of 10 for a total worst possible score of 60. These categories are:
    • Heat
    • Wet bulb, or extreme humidity that makes activity excessively dangerous relative to actual temperature
    • Farm crop yields
    • Sea level rise
    • Very large fires
    • Economic damages

MagnifyMoney researchers considered ranking other categories, too, such as the local businesses available for shopping, dining and recreation, as well as school quality features. However, we were concerned that past performance in these areas can’t be taken as a predictor of future performance. Local businesses have been shuttered for periods in many parts of the U.S. and schools have struggled with teacher retirements and online learning challenges amid the pandemic.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney analysts ranked every municipality and Census-designated place in Florida with a population of at least 5,000 people and for which all data was available.

Sources

  • U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey, five-year estimates
  • 2020 County Health Rankings
  • Medicare
  • ProPublica