Get Out of the Big City? The WSJ Says Working in Small Town U.S.A. Will Lose Its Charm

While the headquarters of the media business are located  in New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, where are the headquarters of the Fortune 500 companies where all the high-paying jobs are?

New York City leads the way with 46 but then the most common corporate HQ locations are:
Houston 21, Atlanta 14, Chicago 14, Dallas 10, San Francisco 9, Cincinnati 8, Irving, Texas 8,
San Jose 8.

The numbers are part of a Wall Street Journal piece by Laura Forman that says “Small Town, U.S.A. Will Lose Its Charm.” From the story:

Tax incentives and cheap housing have occasionally convinced big companies to relocate their headquarters, but the hoped-for flood of bright young things rarely seemed to follow.

The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have changed that with the broader adoption of permanent work-from-home policies and a newfound appreciation for cheaper, more-spacious surroundings. Many coveted knowledge workers have already made their move or are considering it. They might soon get homesick for the big city lights, though. . . .

Working away from main offices also could be more “work” than employees bargained for. Y. Sekou Bermiss, associate professor of management at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, says his research has shown remote employees actually end up working more to compensate for lost facetime.

Along with in-person collaboration, big office settings also offer the ancillary benefits of friendship and even love at work. Mr. Bermiss warns against major corporations trading office space for a remote workforce, noting its employees are going to be “itching to get back together” once the pandemic subsides. . . .

The coronavirus could very well precipitate a temporary dispersion of American’s top talent, but it isn’t likely to stick. The gating factor preventing most smaller cities from growing may be that they are small to begin with. No one wants to “make” a city; ambitious professionals want to be made by them.
Also see Richard Florida writing on Bloomberg CityLab: “This Is Not the End of Cities: Both the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement create opportunities to reshape cities in more equitable ways.”


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