MUNCIE — MUNCIE — Working from home has become the new normal for many employees as companies allowed the transition to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The flexibility has led some families to move from bigger, more expensive cities to smaller towns.
"The last 18 months have allowed you to look at things in a different way," said Laura Hill, whose family moved from Chicago to Muncie.
Hill said working from home during the pandemic made her family realize just how important extra time together is, so they left the Windy City for a calmer and more intimate setting in Muncie.
"The chance to be here when jobs are more flexible and you could actually work remote in my industry, which is finance, is sort of a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be near my parents and give my kids a chance to have the upbringing that was so good to us," Hill said. "My husband and I both grew up in a small town."
Hill said companies allowing employees to work remote allows people to balance work and home life.
"It kind of unlinks where you work and where you live and lets people focus more on what they want in each," she said.
Hill isn't the only one moving her home office out of a big city.
"The longer I'm here, the more people I meet that have moved from other cities," Hill said. "We do know another family that moved here from the Chicago area around the same time that we did. One of our neighbors moved from Manhattan. What is surprising is how much there is to do here."
Muncie's nature, historic homes, more affordable living, education and entertainment made their decision easier.
"Muncie has so much momentum right now," Hill said. "We wanted to be driving distance to Chicago, but have all of the amenities of a college town and all the great people and slower pace of life."
It's a decision the kiddos approve, too.
"Everybody knows each other," Thomas Hill said. "Everybody's nice. Everybody will always play with you. I also like going to all of Ball State games."
"I like how everything is really close. I just like being outside climbing the trees rollerblading," Maddie Hill said.
The Hill family says to take the risk or you'll never know what joy it can bring you.