San Jose startup offers $10,000 to tech workers to leave Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Would a $10,000 bonus be enough to get you to leave the Bay Area? MainStreet, a San Jose startup, is offering that as they aim to help tech companies with hiring remote workers who would be based outside of the region.

"We'll set you up in a community that's with other like-minded remote workers, we'll give you support tools that will help you connect with your home company," said Douglas Ludlow, co-founder of MainStreet.

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Ludlow says the companies they work with are ready to pay them to help successfully recruit and retain remote talent. As part of the launch, MainStreet will pay a $10,000 dollar bonus to anyone who goes through their program and works a minimum of a year.

"Silicon Valley has become extraordinarily expensive for many families, right? You're competing with billionaires and millionaires," said Ludlow.

Research shows that in many cases, working remotely can boost productivity and performance, but it can be isolating from a social standpoint.

"This may propel loneliness for certain people, but again, some people are the kind of people that can create community wherever they go, and they may be the best candidates to do something like this," said Santa Clara University psychology professor Thomas Plante.

MainStreet envisions building out offices in suburban and rural areas, where dozens of people can work remotely for various companies, but in a physical space allowing for a communal environment.

"Down the line, these regions could be facing the same sorts of housing crunch that we're facing here in the Bay Area, where you're increasing jobs without building the housing needed to accommodate it," said Gordon Douglas, director of the Institute of Metropolitan Studies at San Jose State University.

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But concerns aside, MainStreet is driving the point that you shouldn't have to leave home, wherever it may be, in order to find a good job.

"We want to make sure the individual has a great career that lasts for years with a company, that a company is able to develop that talent," said Ludlow.

MainStreet hopes to open its first co-working community office in Sacramento sometime next year, and has plans to expand to more than 500 cities over the next decade.

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