RALEIGH – North Carolina ranks as the ninth best place in the country for capabilities of employees to work from home with average home size and the availability of cybersecurity tools topping of its advantages over other states.

Overall NC scored fifth best for “work environment” including such factors as internet access. However its “living environment” based on internet and electricity costs as well as others came in at 34th, pulling down the state’s ranking.

So says consumer finance site WalletHub in its “Best States for Working from Home.”

Shelter-in-place and stay home orders are the rule across much of the US as the COVID-19 pandemic continues so having to work from home for many companies and their employees is about their only option. And many firms have responded in order to keep doors open.

“Not only does that help to minimize virus transmission, but it also preserves jobs that might have otherwise been lost,” says Jill Gonzales, a WalletHub analyst, in the study. “Companies that can conduct their business online also have a better chance of staying afloat during the pandemic. In addition, while keeping employees on the payroll working from home may be hard on the company’s finances during the pandemic, the government is offering loans through the Paycheck Protection Program to help with that problem.”

A recent survey from the North Carolina Technology Association found that many tech firms have moved almost exclusively to work-from-home for their teams, But NC firms still have a long way to go in developing reomote access with the state ranking only 28th in workforce share of potential telecommuters.

WalletHub graphic

The state also ranked 17th in the percentage of workforce already telecommuting before the COVID-19 crisis.

North Carolina, which ranks ninth in terms of population, scored fifth in average home square footage and ninth for cybersecurity.

(In a January study, WalletHub gave high markets to Raleigh (No. 8) and Durham (No. 15) in a study of metro areas and telecommuting.)

Study: Raleigh No. 8, Durham No. 15 among best metros for telecommuters

However, its ranking in the six other categories studied fellow beloow No. 9, including No. 19 in household internet access, 17th in average retail price for electricity and the potential telecommuter share as pre-pandemic remote worker share.

WalletHub’s study tracked data across 12 categories to generate the study.

“To identify which states are most conducive to working from home, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 12 key metrics,” WalletHub says. “The data set ranges from the share of workers working from home before COVID-19 to internet cost and cybersecurity. We also considered factors like how large and how crowded homes are in the state. Together, these metrics show how feasible working from home is in terms of cost, comfort and safety.”

U.S. Census Bureau, Global Workplace Analytics, HighSpeedInternet.com, Internet Crime Complaint Center, Wakefield Research, U.S. Energy Information Administration, BroadbandNow, Homes.com and Zillow data were used in the study.

You can read the full report online.