Should I stay, or should I go? The question many businesses are asking regarding their city office locations post-COVID-19. With remote work becoming a prominent feature of the ‘new normal’ working day, businesses are questioning the need for large city-based offices.
Our recent webinar with Site Selection and Incentives professional, Tom Stringer, discussed the reasons why businesses are considering relocating their office post-COVID-19 and states they should consider.
If you are one of those businesses seeking to seize opportunities in the U.S. by considering different office locations during this time, make sure you follow this checklist before cementing your decision.
1. Know your business and what drives it
The most important factor is knowing your business, your industry, and what really drives it. Before you consider moving you need to understand what your business needs are, maybe it’s access to talent, access to a particular university program, or culture. You may find that the atmosphere in New York or Washington is too intense, but want to be in a place that has the cosmopolitan benefits of those regions, but less intense and costly.
Firstly, ask yourself what is the core of your business in terms of driving revenue? Then evaluate the importance of your business culture. It is also important to factor in your customers and their needs. For example, do you need to be located in close proximity to suppliers? Also, does the state/location you are considering have the talent factors you need?
2. Consider cultural issues and quality of life
If you are considering relocating your office post-COVID-19 after being confined to your city apartment for months, you should consider the quality of life and culture available in different states. Think about what your workers want and which locations provide them with access to a wide range of factors that may improve their quality of life. For example, for parents, you may consider locations that are in close proximity to universities and offer other family benefits.
You should consider cities that are starting to develop such as Las Vegas, Boise, and Jacksonville. Conduct your research on up and coming areas, for example, Houston is set to become one of the mega city’s of the United States for the next 50 to 100 years. All of these cities are very unique and differ in what they offer. So understanding what makes your business tick and more importantly, what makes the people in your business satisfied matters significantly when you are making decisions on office relocation.
3. Re-evaluate office locations
Keep your eyes peeled for significant opportunities set to arise in corporate real estate in terms of vacancies, office locations, and refinancing. As some businesses have fled or not renewed their office lease in cities, paired with the surge in remote work, the demand for new office space is decreasing. As a result, corporate real estate prices are set to drop significantly. Despite this being a significant issue for the economy, it presents itself as an opportunity for business owners willing to take risks and set up an office for the future.
We are also witnessing job vacancies with the option of remote work pop up constantly on job sites across the country, in fact, remote job offerings are up almost 29% from last year, and one in four jobs advertised in the U.S. have no location. These are huge indicators that remote work is becoming a permanent fixture within the workforce.
This shift in work style means it is highly unlikely all your workers are going to fully return to city offices this year, meaning now is the time to evaluate your office location if it is based in the city. This in itself creates a domino of problems; smaller footprints in cities mean fewer tax revenues and less reliance on public service which may result in price hikes for your business. Furthermore, it is worth considering the current political situations present in cities and safety issues.
4. Do your research on incentives states are offering businesses to relocate
There is a growing trend to shed commercial office space, especially in high-density areas as a result of COVID-19. If you are considering moving your office to a different state it is important to undertake your research to figure out what location best suits your business, industry, and workers’ needs. If you are considering relocating your office you must be aware of economic concerns. Some U.S. states have extremely aggressive economic development programs, meaning incentives, not just for the companies, but some are actually incentivising people. Certain states are actually writing businesses and employees checks as an incentive to relocate to their area.
For example, Savannah Georgia is offering 2,000 dollars to people who have the right tech background working remotely to relocate to their areas in the midwest. By doing this, they know if they secure a talented workforce that they will contribute towards their economy locally in terms of purchasing a house and sending their children to their schools. Find out the main states businesses are relocating to which we discussed in our webinar here.
Check out states with the best income tax rates
Another important factor to consider when reevaluating states is the income tax. For example, Florida’s lower cost of living combined with the lack of state income tax are very strong incentives for businesses considering relocating.
5. Timing, is now a good time to move?
Ask yourself if it is the right time for your business to move in terms of finances and future plans. Now may be your chance to capitalize on the decreased rental costs and seize the incentives different states are offering businesses and residents to relocate.
Blog courtesy of TRN Gold Partner Precision Global Consulting. Contractor Payroll and Management in the USA & Canada.