In October, it was news of a $41 billion New York hedge fund looking for office space in West Palm Beach. In December, the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, announced plans to spread its wings in Jacksonville. Now, a new poll, first published by Business Insider, may explain why CEO’s across the country are eyeing Florida as one of the top places to relocate their companies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
One-in-four chief executives say that they are actively considering relocating operations to a new, business-friendly state. And when surveyed by national consulting firm West Monroe, Florida ranked second among all CEO’s surveyed as one of the most business-friendly states, trailing Texas at number one, and ahead of Ohio, which came in third.
When asked why, 39 percent of those surveyed cited the cost of talent and cost of living as the number one factor. Low taxes were noted by 21 percent. Real estate costs and location were the top issues for another 16 percent, rounded out by eight percent who viewed a state’s business-friendly regulatory environment as a top factor.
Business Insider unpacks the underlying logic:
Since the pandemic started, the work-from-home boom has prompted a mass exodus from cities with high costs of living, as millions of Americans moved away from urban areas to smaller towns and suburbs. Almost 16 million people in the US moved out of urban areas, with New York City topping the list, between February and July of 2020, according to an analysis of US Postal Service data by MyMove.
Over 30 major financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs Group have been investigating properties in Florida and tech workers living in the Bay Area have found it less and less beneficial to live in the Bay Area, as companies like Twitter announce it will allow employees to work from home even after pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
Work-from-home options have become increasingly attractive to larger companies, according to the poll, which shows larger companies are more comfortable taking on remote work options. Over 20% of companies making over $3 billion considering doing their operations mostly remotely.
According to West Monroe’s survey, “Most executives report their operations still aren’t stable—and they won’t reach stability until later this year. But they’re shifting from defense to offense: 49% plan to hire more people this quarter, 37% are investing in front-end customer experiences, and their top priority is boosting sales and revenue.”
Once it is safe to do so, most business owners plan to either return to normal operations with a return to on-site work, or to split between on-site and remote work. Only about 10 percent plan to remain with mostly online / remote work.