Looking forward to a new calendar year, we have the opportunity to reflect on 2020 and bring insights with us into 2021.

One of the biggest trends of 2020 for growing companies was a sudden transition to working from home. As we prepare to move into a new year, what did we learn about remote work?

Cities will continue to shift in response to this trend

When geography is no longer a definite barrier for recruiting talent, people will locate differently. Places like Austin are becoming popular landing points for tech talent. Read more in the featured articles below!

Everyone’s experience is different

Remote work comes with a number of challenges. Communication patterns become critical in order for employees to stay productive and engaged. Ultimately, some people love it, others do not. Companies should be flexible and understanding.

Distributed workforces are here to stay

Remote work was already becoming popular in certain industries even before the pandemic. Now, companies are recognizing the benefits and plan to extend their work from home opportunities indefinitely, solidifying their new presence around the country in emerging markets and tech hubs.

Bridging the digital divide has never been more important

2020 exposed longstanding inequalities in technology access. Which companies can support WFH? Which individuals can pursue remote work employment? Which cities have the capacity to support remote workforces? By acknowledging these challenges, we can influence how we approach the new year.

In this issue, you’ll find numerous examples of companies and cities that are embracing remote work and the geographic distribution of their talent.

Inside this issue

  • Making WFH Work for Growth Companies
  • Covid-19 Pandemic Loosens Silicon Valley’s Tight Grip on Tech Industry
  • Austin’s Active Tech Incubators and Accelerators Lure Talent
  • WFH news from around the nation

Companies across the globe are extending work from home privileges, considering employee feedback in designing return-to-work plans, and re-imagining offices altogether. Notably, some major tech companies like Twitter recently announced permanent remote work options for employees. Infosys plans to keep 33%-50% of its workforce permanently remote. Even when offices start re-opening, Square employees will be able to work from home permanently.

So how are these companies making it work? How are they maximizing remote work benefits while navigating the challenges?

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For much of the past decade, the San Francisco Bay Area has strained to absorb the torrid growth of the tech sector. As head counts of highly paid engineers swelled, housing costs soared, traffic gridlock rose and homeless tents spread on city streets.

Now a small but prominent roster of tech companies and investors are doing something about it: leaving.

The region’s latest emigrant is database giant Oracle Corp. , a fixture of Silicon Valley for decades that last year signed a 20-year deal to put its name on the San Francisco Giants’ stadium, Oracle Park. The $180 billion tech giant on Friday said it had changed its headquarters location to Austin, Texas, from Redwood City, Calif.

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In recent years, the landscape of Austin, Texas has changed. While it’s long been known for a vibrant live music scene, today the city boasts immense growth with creative talent, an impressive skyline, and some of the foremost tech leaders. It’s quickly becoming a popular place to build a startup. One of its key advantages that drawing these folks in is a remarkable ecosystem of incubators and accelerators that prime tech companies for success.

This city is a unique southern counterpart to the California tech community, and there’s no shortage of incubators and accelerators focused on developing tech solutions to big problems. It’s also the destination for thousands of tech employees and entrepreneurs each year who cannot afford the rising costs of Silicon Valley. In 2015 Forbes named Austin the top city in the United States for job growth in the tech sector.

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Cities Growing with a Distributed Perspective

Goldman Sparks Florida’s Effort to Become Wall Street South

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Elliott Management Corp. are breathing new life into the decades-old idea of converting the Miami-to-West Palm Beach corridor into a southern hub for finance and investing, a notion that would have monumental implications for the area’s development.

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Jobs magnet: Study ranks metro Phoenix No. 1 nationally for attracting, retaining workers

Metro Phoenix has finished at the top — again — in a national study that ranks counties by their ability to attract and retain high-quality workers and other economic-development factors. 

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Elon Musk is leaving Silicon Valley for Texas. These millionaires and companies are joining him

Silicon Valley has been the epicenter of the tech industry for decades, starting in 1938 when Bill Hewlett and David Packard started tinkering in a Palo Alto garage. But that may be changing. Perhaps the most striking evidence of that: A descendant of the company they founded, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will move its headquarters to Texas.

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The big question for all those Salt Lake City office towers: Will workers return after COVID-19?

Few worlds blew apart with the pandemic like our lives at the office. COVID-19 upended countless everyday workflows, habits and human interactions built around a culture shared daily and face to face at the workplace.

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