Ten Years Ago
Since its founding in 2003, Conrin has leveraged it’s expertise in cloud computing to support its distributed workforce. The benefits of this model are many:
Eliminate the need for costly office space.
- Eliminate the need for costly office space
- Attract talent regardless of geographic boundaries
- Support clients without travel expenses
- Reduced operating expenditures
- Continuously develop best practices for managing remote workforce teams
2020: The COVID 19 Pandemic and Barbados?
Migration toward the remote workforce model was well underway even before “shelter at home” regulations were implemented. (I attended a virtual meeting from a tool shed in Wyoming in 2013). Cloud-based applications and other technical innovations were becoming more robust and supportive of the “work from home” business model. COVID 19 simply accelerated a trend that was already well underway.
While the pandemic has had a crippling effect on many sectors, some saw new opportunities. Companies that offered services such as web conferencing (Zoom), wireless data providers, and CRM Salesforce.com, were primed and ready to go.
Another out of the box offer also showed up. I call it “The Bardabos Solution”.
Tourism-based economies have been devastated by the COVID-19 lockdown. People have been prohibited from travel or are anxious about contracting the virus during crowded, lengthy flights. The economic disruption is severe.
Barbados developed an innovative solution: The Barbados Welcome Stamp. A one -ear visa for individuals making at least $50,000 and have the ability to work remotely. Individuals meeting the program’s requirements have the ability to mix work with the beach. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of such an opportunity! While this is great for the island nation, what does it mean for the US?
Back to the Metrics
Standard metrics have remained relatively unchanged for decades. COVID 19 will require some reflection on the value of traditional measurements. Here are a few:
- Jobs Created – Jobs created has been the holy grail metrics for years. How should the value of a remove job be measured, if at all?
- Tax Nexus and Collections – Will there be any ability to generate tax revenue for jobs created in some other location (possibly tied to incentives)? How will local taxing authorities identify the number of local versus remote employees?
- Multiplier Effect – The multiplier effect is a critical component for calculating the value of a local job created. In essence, this disappears for non-local jobs. On the flip side, I have worked with clients who have actively recruiting hybrid solutions, especially in areas with long commutes. They provide services that are necessary for attracting highly paid workers. Some even target individuals that simply drive into the office two days per week, while eliminating most of the commute time. The employee gets to select the location of their choosing. Those communities also benefit from increased local spending and tax revenue.
- Office Space Inventory – This appears to be one of the major metrics to be addressed. I remember driving through a major tech center during the dotcom bust. There were buildings that were completely I could see through an entire floor, from the highway, with no obstruction.
None of these challenges are new. Economic forces were driving these changes for many years. The difference today, is they are no longer just a small piece of a large pie. To be successful, economic developers need to begin addressing these changes sooner rather than later.