In the age of the Great Resignation, remote working is no longer a novel idea. Now, it seems that working from home is the norm with companies. As examples, Adobe has gone fully remote and State Farm and Pinterest offer hybrid options with “remote first” option. An unforeseen benefit of this paradigm shift is employees not being tied to the physical locations of their workplace anymore. Currently, more than 4.7 million Americans work at least half of the time remotely, and 16% of companies globally are entirely remote. While these numbers represent the workforce on a macro scale, looking at life here in Greater Peoria, things are not so different.
Kelsey and Joey Klaus, natives of Greater Peoria via their hometown of Washington are a testimony to the changing landscape that is happening before our very eyes. Joey is an account manager for Fremont, California-based Tesla. Kelsey brought her remote job with Minneapolis-based Process Display to Greater Peoria but has since left and launched her own online business from the comfort of her home.
Both Kelsey and Joey’s journey began with national retailer Target immediately after college. Eventually, the couple moved to Florida where they had their first child. Kelsey said the couple made some realizations about their future shortly after, “We just realized that we didn’t want to work every weekend and every holiday. So we decided to look at other opportunities.” Soon after, the couple moved to California for Kelsey to begin her career with Process Display. After about a year, Joey also started his new journey with Tesla. The option to work remotely for Tesla coupled with California’s high cost of living, allowed the couple to move to Minneapolis for about three years. Enter the pandemic and all the shifts it brought and the Klaus family started rethinking where they wanted to build and raise their family. Their choice? Right back where it all started in Washington, Illinois!
Some of the couple’s critical factors when they were thinking about relocating back to Greater Peoria were schools, neighborhoods, and the proximity to restaurants and other amenities. Speaking about some of the motivating factors that made the Klaus’ move back home, Kelsey said;
“The schools are fantastic. They’re better than what we had in Minneapolis, which had good schools. Another critical factor was the housing situation. We considered things like home prices and the square footage for what you are paying, not to mention how nice the houses and neighborhoods are. The people have always been so great, safe neighborhoods for the kids and nice neighbors. When we thought about it, it all came together well, not to mention it’s easy to get around and you have everything close to you.”
Besides discovering what they already knew they wanted, they also found other great things about Washington and the region. “I do love just antiques, kind of store hop, and going to all the little places like the square in Washington is adorable. It has the best little shops,” said Kelsey. Besides noting the Midwest’s niche specialization in thrift and antique stores, Klaus also mentioned a perfect day in Greater Peoria;
“Waking up early and getting a delicious breakfast sandwich at Ardor, coffee at Four30 Scones. Maybe a walk? Spending more quality time with my family because I don’t have to deal with traffic and congestion. Going to the park. And when things start opening up again, getting a babysitter is easy and we get to enjoy the nice restaurants here and explore the new brewpubs.”
Not only were the couples’ expectations met, but they were exceeded with every passing moment of learning what the area has to offer since they last were here. “We have not regretted our decision at all” was Kelsey’s final verdict!
Whether you are a boomerang or looking to be a transplant to our region, the Klaus’ story could be yours too. Come and be a part of the region with the city ranked 22nd Best Cities for Remote Workers in America by Ownerly.