Why telecommuting is fueling business in Flyover Country – November 25, 2019
"Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops." Thomas J. Watson
Telecommuting is good for employees and companies
In addition to love and ice cream, add working from home to the list of things everyone wants. A new Harris Poll, commissioned by an automation-app company called Zapier, shows that 95% of knowledge workers would prefer to work from home and 74% would be willing to quit their job in favor of one that allows them to. The top reasons? To save money, to be able to work from anywhere, to spend more time with family, greater productivity and environmental stability.
If you’re an employer who is laboring under the misconception that an employee who works from home is less productive, consider these stats from Business News Daily in regard to a recent Airtasker study:
Benefit to employers
The availability of remote work doesn’t just benefit the employee. Employers on the coasts can hire top talent from the heartland where the cost of living is less.
A 2014 study by PGi, a leading provider of software services, found that 80% of remote workers reported higher morale, 82% said it helped lower their stress levels, and 69% reported lower absenteeism. While all of those are beneficial to the workforce, they’re all aspects that lend themselves to the company’s bottom line.
Global Workplace Analytics reports that if a typical business allowed their employees to telecommute for just half of the time, they could save on average $11,000 per year. Bigger companies can save even more: According to Forbes, insurance giant Aetna got rid of 2.7 million square feet of office space and saved $78 million. American Express saved almost $15 million thanks to its telecommuting policies.
Telecommuting is the future of work, and these are some of the reasons why.
$1B Midtown Exchange project in Raleigh
Courtesy Dewitt Carolinas
A developer is sinking a cool one billion dollars into a vast mixed-use project just north of downtown. The project, Midtown Exchange, will include residential, hotel, office, retail, and entertainment facilities, according to the developer, Dewitt Carolinas Inc.
Microsoft expands presence in Charlotte
Microsoft announced plans to substantially increase its presence in Charlotte, NC, with a $23.9 million expansion to its south Charlotte campus, a move that will add 430 high-wage jobs. North Carolina sweetened the deal with a $7.9 million Job Development Investment Grant, to be doled out over a 12-year period.
Currently home to more than a thousand employees, the Microsoft campus in Charlotte will see a nearly 50% increase in staff once the expansion is completed. The move follows several other notable tech announcements for the city. Homegrown companies AvidXchange Inc. and LendingTree Inc. are developing new headquarters in town, and Lowe's Cos. Inc. recently announced plans to develop a major tech hub in the city, too.
Tech is alive and well in Charlotte.
What draws VCs to Pittsburgh startups?
A recent panel discussion hosted by the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association featured input from four venture capitalists who described what they consider when evaluating investment opportunities in Pittsburgh.
Two of the panelists, Bruce Gebhardt, co-founder of Pathfinder Capital Advisors LLC, and Sam Gerace, CEO of Veritix, said they look for companies that have good people on board—and in particular, reliable leaders who are skilled at team building. Michael Kopelman, general partner at Edison Partners, said he seeks out companies that can scale. Don Yount, a partner at Activate Venture Partners, pointed out that the volume of life sciences activity in Pittsburgh was likely to spark health information opportunities.
Tony Torres, Innovation Institute entrepreneur in residence at Pitt, said it’s time to ramp up efforts to attract outside investment in Pittsburgh startups.
“Pitt has just recently developed a targeted and direct approach to venture capital,” he said. “While the majority of the University's efforts today are aimed at raising federal grant funding, it is important to recognize that a significant amount of dollars are also available to accelerate commercial translation opportunities through startups.”
Cintrifuse helps fuel Cincy's 'bold startup ambition'
Earlier this month, Cincy hosted the Cintrifuse Annual Meeting, packing the house with a crowd that spilled out into the street. Attendees included Cincinnati mayor John Cranley, as well as more than 60 venture capitalists from across the US, entrepreneurs, innovation supporters, and corporate and civic leaders.
Cintrifuse “advocates for entrepreneurs leading high-growth tech startups,” with the goal of helping Cincinnati become the “#1 startup hub in the Midwest.”
Discussions at the event focused on four “strategic pillars” that Cincy can build on to develop and nurture its entrepreneurial ecosystem and boost its economy: branding and retail; connected health; fintech and insurtech; and supply chain/ecommerce.
Valarie Sheppard, Cintrifuse board chair and treasurer and comptroller at Procter & Gamble, said, “Growing our economy requires focus and integration. And the strategic pillars that Cintrifuse has identified are the keys to our region’s focus.”
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