Companies Might Start Paying You to Live Closer to Work

In a just world, getting a well-paying job would be the end of your financial worries, not the start of them. That's just the issue facing workers in some cities around the country, though. The local cost of living can actually price out even high-earning employees.

FastCompany's Eillie Anzilotti has just published a long feature in a series on how work has failed us; the piece examines housing costs that actively interfere with both personal life and career. On the other side of some pretty alarming statistics, we meet Alex Day (not her real name), who cannot afford to live in the Bay Area despite a $90,000 annual salary, but who may not be able to continue in her job while working remotely from Las Vegas, where she'd be closer to family. Day has a two-hour trip each way, making her one of the 4 million Americans who commute more than 90 minutes to work. The national average commute, by the way, is 26 minutes.

This is a huge problem in general for a certain subset of cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. While rent is falling for luxury apartments, minimum wage workers can't afford housing anywhere in the country. Some companies in the hardest-hit metro areas are starting to offer financial incentives or even employer-assisted housing programs to keep workers from becoming super-commuters. There's an even bigger force hobbling American workers, though: As Anzilotti writes, "Most Americans have not had a meaningful increase in income or wages in 40 years."