From London to New York, Paris to Tokyo, the number of people flocking to major cities around the world for work is steadily growing, with regional cities in many countries especially feeling the effects of this flow of talent away from their business centres.
However, does location really make or break a business? Do you need to be in the Square Mile to succeed in finance in London? Or do you need to be mixing it up with the start-ups in Silicon Valley if you want your tech start-up to succeed? Or are you discriminated against if you live in a commuter town?
The answer depends on the type of business you are looking to work for or establish. Location 10-20 years ago really did make or break your business, as the advent of technology in the workplace was still relatively new. Business was done face-to-face far more than over email or Skype, and so for many industries you needed to be at the heart of the scene in order to access the best job opportunities or grow a company.
Now however, location plays less of a role in the success of a business, as technology offers flexibility that has played a part in allowing some businesses a better degree of competitiveness, and the ability to attract talent from further afield. For those companies that can't afford the rents in major cities, this previously caused an issue as they struggled to source staff in more remote areas. With technology it's now possible to mitigate against this, working with staff in different areas and giving them the freedom to not be tied to a static location, meaning cheaper office rents, and sometimes cheaper salaries not affected by city weighting.
In the globalised economy, working with staff in different locations locally can also help a business put in place best practice for working with international offices and partners. If staff are used to working with collaborative apps like Skype in their local territories, it will be far easier to work remotely across different timezones. Location therefore can help to prepare for any potential growth into international regions.
In the future, location is going to become even more of an issue as the pressure on space in larger cities intensifies. London and other major cities are already experiencing sky-high property costs, across both the owned and rental sectors. This is an issue that is already affecting the workforce, with many choosing to live in satellite areas and commute. Imagine the opportunity for businesses in these satellite regions; a population of skilled workers who are spending time and money and commuting, and who would most likely rather work nearer to home. Competition for potential jobs would be high, great news for any business looking to locate to an area away from the big cities and attract good people.
Essentially location is a key aspect that any business leader needs to consider; not because of the location itself, but because of the people that populate it. With major cities now creaking with overpopulation and expensive property prices, there are plenty of skilled, talented people living in other areas away from these overcrowded hubs. With technology and transport working together, as long as you have good people within your business, then you're on the first step on the way to success.