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Silicon Valley Company Offering Workers Money to Leave Bay Area


FILE - In this Monday, May 12, 2008 file photo, the "Painted Ladies," a row of historical Victorian homes, underscore the San Francisco skyline in a view from Alamo Square. San Francisco enjoys the benefits of tech fortunes, but its homes are largely unaffordable for most people. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A technology company based in California’s Silicon Valley is offering its workers money to leave the area.

The startup company, Zapier, describes itself as “100 percent remote.” That means that employees have the choice to work from any location.

The CEO and founder of Zapier announced last week the company is offering workers $10,000 to move away from the so-called Bay Area. That is the name for the area around San Francisco Bay. It is known for its good weather, beaches, nearby mountains and, of course, high-paying technology jobs.

It is also one of the most costly places to live in the United States. A one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco costs, on average, $3,400 per month in rent. In nearby San Jose, California, a one-bedroom costs about $2,200 per month. That is according to ApartmentList.com’s March 2017 rent report.

Even senior-level tech workers at Silicon Valley companies like AirBnb, Twitter and Uber use about half of their monthly earnings to pay rent, Quartz Media reported.

The Bay Area is also facing an increasingly severe housing shortage.

Zapier CEO Wade Foster describes the company’s offer as a “de-location package.” That is a play on words for “relocation package.” Some companies provide financial help to those who must move from a different city to begin a new job.

Foster wrote that, “The recruiting industry has long offered relocation assistance to convince you to move somewhere you may not prefer. We think it's time to get assistance to take a new role you'll love and move to the exact place you want to be.”

Zapier employees

Zapier employees

More workers are telecommuting

Working remotely -- or telecommuting -- is becoming increasingly common in the United States.

A recent Gallup study found that the number of Americans who telecommute at least four days a week rose from 24 percent to 31 percent between 2012 and 2016.

More than half of all employees in computer, information systems and mathematics industries work remotely at least some of the time, the New York Times reported last month.

Supporters of remote working say it decreases workers’ stress and saves both companies and workers money. Employees who work remotely say they are more productive, or get more done in a day.

Foster says his company hopes to help workers and their families improve their “standard of living,” something that can be difficult to do in the costly Bay Area.

“The housing crunch and high cost of living simply price out many families,” Foster wrote. “Despite loving the area, the realities are many of us need to look elsewhere to create the life we want for our families.”


I’m Anne Ball.

Ashley Thompson wrote this article based on materials from Quartz, the New York Times, and Zapier.com. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

remote – adj. connected to a computer system from another place

bay – n. a large area of water that is part of an ocean or lake and partly surrounded by land

recruit – v. to find suitable people and get them to join a company, an organization, the armed forces, etc.

telecommute – v. to work at home by using a computer connection to a company's main office

productive – adj. doing or achieving a lot : working hard and getting good results

standard of living – n. the amount of wealth, comfort, and possessions that a person or group has

crunch – n. a situation in which there is not enough of something

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