Cities and towns attract remote workers with incentives

woman at home

The remote work trend that was turbocharged by the pandemic is now getting a boost from programs offering incentives to remote workers to move into less expensive cities and towns. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explains that 71 cities and towns are offering incentives for workers to move there. These incentives often involve cash payments to the workers. Indianapolis-based MakeMyMove is contracted by cities and towns to set up these programs.

These programs make a lot of sense. Remote workers no longer have to locate in areas with a high cost of living. They can move anywhere. Meanwhile, these workers are very attractive to smaller cities and towns, adding to the tax base and purchasing power of the population, without adding congestion to local traffic. Paying incentives is a great way to make a particular city or town more attractive to a worker considering a move.

Expect this trend to continue barring a significant economic downturn.

  

Hybrid work trends cause Amazon and Meta to adjust office expansion plans

Amazon services on a laptop

The trend towards hybrid work is controversial with some companies while others are embracing it.

Amazon has paused work on new office space in Bellevue, Washington and Nashville, Tennessee as it grapples with the desire for employees to have hybrid work options. Amazon stressed with this was not an indication that planned hiring would slow down, but rather that hybrid work will impact plans for office space in both locations.

“The pandemic has significantly changed the way people work … Our offices are long-term investments and we want to make sure that we design them in a way that meets our employees’ needs in the future,” said John Schoettler, vice president of Global Real Estate and Facilities at Amazon.

Amazon and Meta also pulled back on office expansion plans in New York City.

How companies handle trends around hybrid work and remote work will be one of the more important strategic decisions companies will make over the next decade, and approaches will vary widely. Many workers are expecting hybrid or remote work options, while some companies are insisting that employees return to the office.

The economic slowdown will impact these decisions as well. Some classes of employees will be losing leverage if layoffs accelerate. Meanwhile, some companies are realizing the opportunity for significant cost savings by switching to remote and/or hybrid models.

  

Facebook expands its work-from-home policy

Facebook app on smartphone screen

Facebook is expanding its work-from-home policy to most employees, other than jobs like hardware maintenance that require on-site work. The company will also begin allowing employees to request remote work across international borders.

Facebook will have some form of hybrid work as well:

Zuckerberg said employees who want to work in an office will be asked to come in at least half the time. This is to ensure that the office remains vibrant and that employees who do come into the office make the most of being a part of that community.

Additionally, he said Facebook plans to organize regular in-person gathers for office and remote workers “to support the relationship-building.”

This is a smart move as Facebook is in a heated battle for content, and frankly expectations are changing.

  

Changes to business travel post-COVID

aircraft flying

As we try to get back to “normal” following the Covid pandemic, it’s apparent that some things have changed for good.

One industry facing a reckoning involves business travel. Ask consultants and they will explain that business and margins boomed in 2020 as they were able to dramatically reduce travel, which lowered those expenses for clients, who plowed those savings back into billable hours for the consultants. The clients got more value for their money, while consultants made more. So there’s no incentive on either side to get back to “normal.”

That’s just one industry. Of course, there will be an appetite to get back to in-person contact. Conferences in particular should see lots of interest as networking doesn’t translate as well to Zoom calls and virtual conferences.

But, as explained in this post, businesses are starting to rethink what qualifies as “necessary travel.” This could have a huge impact on the travel and hotel industries and related jobs.

  

Google will try “hybrid” workplace models

home office

Google is finding that many employees want to return to the office, but not necessarily on a full-time basis. Many would prefer the option to work from home and then come into the office when needed and for meetings and events.

This hybrid model may become more common, and certainly provides flexibility that will be sought by many employees.

It also raises challenges of course. Companies like Google need to consider of some employees can be mostly virtual so that they don’t have to live in hyper-expensive cities like San Francisco.

But flexibility is a good thing if managed correctly. So get ready to hear of more “hybrid” workplace solutions.