Discussions about an exodus from the Bay Area have been rampant as major technology companies have vowed to offer remote working options for many employees — some indefinitely.
However, this prediction may be premature as large cities remain a necessity for innovation. In fact, research has indicated that innovation is fostered best in cities with a population of at least 1 million. While larger cities have naturally higher costs of living, this may be offset by increased innovation.
Despite organizations like Amazon opting to build their second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, technology companies should be careful in deciding their locations based on the “where”, and focus on the “why.”
Startups in particular need to be in a place that is diverse and connected in terms of demographics, perspective, experience, and the larger the city, the more likely that environment will reflect those ideas.
Over the past several months, workers have had limited face-to-face interactions with colleagues as they transition to remote working positions. Although this work arrangement has been found to have numerous benefits, productivity endurance depends on incorporating modern innovations. This may be difficult when all communication is happening virtually.
Humans are naturally social creatures, and Zoom calls cannot truly replace having in-person meetings with colleagues. That is why many workers are eager to come back to the office, but cities need to make a case for why businesses should want to operate in their area.