This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

August 26, 1998

Business Moving to the Country

We’re watching a growing trend for companies to move to suburbs and exurbs (read: rural) to cut costs and seek a better quality of life. There are all sorts of advantages. A primary concern is labor. Unemployment tends to be higher outside core cities; there are more people ready, willing, and eager to work. They’re not necessarily trained to meet the company’s needs, but then neither are many of the workers in the cities.

Populations are less dense in the exurban/rural areas, so workforces will be smaller. Since they don’t have to support large employment, the facilities can be smaller. The smaller size tends to mean lower operating costs. These smaller units are able to be more responsive, agile, dynamic—the leading edge flexible power points that so many companies need.

The workforce tends to be stable, loyal, and naturally hard-working. Employers have lots of community support. Job- and cash-starved smaller communities are hungry for stable employers. The quality of life tends to be more comfortable in smaller communities, which offer a significant advantage of peace & quiet.

Technology provides all the linkages necessary. It’s easy to do business all over the world from small towns. All the resources are available—almost as conveniently as being right in the middle of the big city. And people can even work later and still be home before their counterparts in the crowded cities make it home after an arduous day.

Are we touting the advantages of rural America for the right companies? You bet! It’s not for everyone, but a lot of workers and a lot of employers will be looking seriously at a change of venue in the years ahead.

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