An Indianapolis-based talent recruitment firm has launched an online marketplace to connect remote workers to incentives for relocating to a new community. Evan Hock, co-founder and vice president of product for TMap LLC, says more and more communities are offering incentive packages in order to attract remote workers and MakeMyMove allows them to see where those incentives are and if they qualify. “American workers are in control of their own geographies in a way they never have been before,” said Hock.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hock said the pandemic suddenly left millions of people working from home with the ability to move wherever they want.

“For decades, communities have been trying to incentivize economic development in their region,” said Hock. “Normally, those incentives would go to companies to bring themselves and jobs with them, but for the first time, we’re seeing those incentives go directly to the workers.”

Hock says there have been a few communities over the past few years that have offered remote worker incentives, but the pandemic has brought the topic to the forefront.

“Remote work is on everyone’s mind, even though it was a trend that was growing for a long time,” he said. “The benefit of recruiting the worker is that it’s guaranteed that that’s a net add to the community. If I bring a company and they’re filling jobs, a lot of those jobs are going to people that are already here. But these remote worker programs are ensuring that net new people are coming into the communities.”

TMap cites the PEW Research Center, which estimates 71% of Americans are currently working from home and more than 50% of them want to remain in a remote work environment after the pandemic. The company says communities are offering everything from cash to free land and free travel to attract remote workers. 

“If anything, the pandemic has accelerated a trend that’s been happening for a long time,” said Hock. “If you look at the growth the remote work pre-pandemic, we saw steady increases. There were five million of these folks even before the pandemic; now there are tens of millions. I think what the pandemic has done has really shown a lot of workers the benefits of remote work and a lot of companies have adopted policies and procedures to enable remote work.”

In addition to helping workers find incentives, Hock says TMap has also worked with communities to understand the return on investment for offering such incentive packages. 

MakeMyMove was launched about a month ago and Hock says the early feedback from both communities and workers has been very positive. 

“Lots of times, these incentives are pretty hard to find. (Workers) have to really dig through local economic development websites to find them. So we make it really easy for them to shop, to learn about the communities and to begin the process of claiming those,” Hock said. “From the community side, many of them just lack a channel by which they can find and engage high-quality workers.”

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce listed increasing incentives for remote workers among its top five priorities for the 2021 legislative session.

“Our employer surveys tell us 34% of Hoosier businesses expect to continue remote work even after the pandemic is over,” Kevin Brinegar, chief executive officer of the Indiana Chamber, said in a recent interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick “Indiana is a lower-cost, better quality of life state and we think that we can attract both remote workers and ultimately, other people with skills to come and live in Indiana and we want to pursue some incentives to help facilitate that.

Hock says MakeMyMove plans to continue to grow the marketplace with new features and more incentives from communities.

Hock says the pandemic suddenly left millions of people working from home with the ability to move wherever they want.