The short answer is both. Any lingering skepticism about the efficiency and feasibility of remote work has all but dissipated throughout 2020. Still, concerns about teamwork, startup and small business culture, and work-life balance in a primarily remote structure are lingering. There’s undeniable discord to reconcile.
At Kiln, we’ve taken a closer look at some recent trends like de-densification, emerging startup ecosystems, and flexible corporate real estate strategies. This information gives us insights that may be useful in your business and personal planning.
On de-densification and emerging startup ecosystems:
In 2020, de-densification became a buzzword as businesses sought to limit the capacity of their workspaces or retail spaces as a Covid-19 safety precaution. But de-densification also refers to the movement of people and startups out of large cities. Entrepreneurs are finding new hubs. Let’s take the Bay Area, Salt Lake City, and Denver as examples.
Recent articles in Crunchbase and Utah Business, by Sophia Kunthara and Izzy Howell, respectively, provide insight into the movement of startup ecosystems. There are two trends at play. First, Bay Area tech companies are identifying Utah and Colorado as talent hubs. They are opening secondary offices or even relocating HQs to cities like Salt Lake and Denver. Companies like Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Gusto, Robinhood, and companies they’ve acquired are prime examples. Second, this process is driving internal expansion in towns like Salt Lake and Denver; local companies are raising capital at an astounding rate, saving on the cost of living, albeit marginally, and identifying and fostering the next generation of local talent.
Concerns over the talent pool and maturity of the tech scenes in Salt Lake and Denver are antiquated. And there are more winning points associated with Utah and Colorado. Strong universities, proximity to the West Coast, increased ease of nationwide travel, sustainable lifestyle, outdoorsy culture, and diversity of thought are compelling and enticing examples.
In the Utah Business article, Jordan Staples says, “A less-discussed aspect of Utah’s lifestyle is that, unlike the Bay Area, Utah doesn’t have the long commutes, the expensive lifestyle, or the inaccessibility of nature. Instead, we have an ease of life, a family-first mentality, and a love of the great outdoors.” We’re inclined to agree.
On flexible real estate strategies and shared workspaces:
Covid-19 has accelerated trends towards flexible workspaces. It’s also made us all consider the bimodality of working from home and working from the office. And, in order to best support the new working style of employees, companies are rethinking their real estate strategy. Inevitably, fewer people coming into the office on a regular basis -- even as we anticipate a return to a new normal in 2021 or early 2022 -- means that companies are no longer bound to traditional real estate strategies that are typical for their business size or the number of employees.
BP Plc and Pinterest are just recent examples of companies selling HQs and terminating leases in order to best equip themselves for a combination of home and office working. An article in AllWork by Cecilia Amador de San José expands on the trends defining the future of corporate real estate.
Shared workspaces provide a balance between in-person and virtual working styles. They provide exactly the flexibility that businesses crave as they navigate a post-pandemic world. At Kiln, we’re ready to embrace growth!