Pandemic Silver Linings

April 29, 2021

Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay EDC hosted our Mid-Year Report with all Investors. Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, we had many exciting updates to share. Since FY2021 began, we’ve had three major corporate headquarters wins – the latest being Signode, a $2 billion transit packaging company that we announced at our meeting. Signode joins cybersecurity firm OPSWAT and Suzuki Marine in calling Tampa and Hillsborough County home.

What’s drawing these companies here? Our talent pool, business-friendliness, exceptional quality of life, and lower costs certainly factor in to their decisions. But what’s changing – and adding to our existing advantages – is the massive geographic dispersal of talent happening because of the pandemic. As our Mid-Year Report guest speaker, site selection expert Rajeev Thakur of BeyondHQ explained, highly desirable talent is on the move, and employers are figuring out ways to follow them. As we’ve see in Tampa Bay, our housing inventory is extremely low and home prices have surged as new residents – especially from the Northeast – are coming here in droves.

As more Americans get vaccinated, employers are eager to get their teams back in the office. According to the employers surveyed by BeyondHQ, most believe employees should be in the office a minimum of three days per week. However, employees who have grown comfortable working from home have other ideas. According to Rajeev, employee respondents overwhelmingly believe that they should be able to work from home a minimum of three days per week.

Employers and employees also differed on the purpose of the workplace. While employers view the office as a center of productivity, employees see it as the opposite – as a place for meetings and collaboration versus focused work. Given this disparity, Rajeev believes we are headed for a hybrid work environment, with workplaces set up more for specific collaboration than logging time in office. He also forecasted a new “Hub and Spoke” workplace model, one that includes the hub or headquarters operation and a number of spokes, which will have mostly work-from-home arrangements with coworking spaces for occasional use. The metro areas with the greatest talent pools will serve as the hubs.

While both employers and employees believe that remote work has been a success, corporate culture has suffered. This is one reason why we at the EDC are returning to the office in June. But since remote work is popular with many on our team as well, we’ll have a work from home policy to accommodate more focused work times.

Summer is almost here, so enjoy these last few weeks of spectacular spring weather.

Be well,