CNBC Quotes Chris Lloyd on Why Location Matters for Companies to Attract an Evolving Workforce

July 8, 2021

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In a July 7 article for CNBC, McGuireWoods Consulting director of infrastructure and economic development, Chris Lloyd, discussed why a company’s location still matters, despite people in many occupations working remotely as pandemic restrictions ease. With a reviving economy, companies are shifting how they operate and focusing on issues that matter to their workforce.

“It really is creating a lot of opportunities for companies to really look at their portfolio, where they have facilities, and think differently about how to get close to talent, because talent is the driver of what’s going on in the economy right now,” Lloyd said. “Physical company locations – and the intense efforts by the states to attract them – are not going away.”

With workers in short supply, companies are seeking out worker-friendly locations. Companies that have embraced the move to remote work are still maintaining offices, even if employees only work there occasionally.

“I think some new areas of the country, rural areas, are getting more attention than they used to because they didn’t experience some of the traumatic events of some of our cities,” Lloyd said. “A lot of people were predicting the death of the suburbs, but we’re seeing a renewed interest in suburbs as a company may continue to maintain a downtown office, but they’re spreading offices around the metro area to be closer to where people live on a day-to-day basis.”

Large companies like Twitter and Salesforce offer flex schedules to employees, with workers coming in a few days a week or on an as-needed basis. In other industries, work cannot be done remotely.

“Site selection consultants are seeing heavy activity in the manufacturing sector, as demand for consumer products and durable goods surges back to life,” Lloyd said.

In addition to the usual questions about workforce, incentives and infrastructure, companies are also focused on environmental and social issues as they debate locations.

“Many firms are asking about resiliency,” Lloyd added. “How did the states themselves or individual communities deal with the pandemic? Were they quick in setting up testing regimes? Were they quick in setting up vaccination programs? Because that demonstrates the capability of a state or locality to respond to a crisis. Companies are much more sensitive to what’s going on at the state and local level.”