Location, location, location. That has been the mantra of real estate for years. Many employers, especially smaller businesses, also counted on location as a selling point. Unless you were willing to move, people typically looked for jobs locally. Location may not be a competitive advantage any longer.
The advent of remote work, work from home, telecommuting, or whatever the term in vogue today uses technology to allow people to decouple from the physical office of their employer depending on the nature of their work and their roles. It was growing in acceptance before the global pandemic hit, and then it became a de facto norm out of necessity.
This has enormous implications for business. The immediate challenges that most businesses are facing today are how to manage an increasingly remote workforce and how to keep them engaged and connected with each other. These challenges have long been the ones businesses most focused on addressing.
The challenge that small business owners are going to face next is a shifting talent pool. Leaders are now more aware and more open to hiring people who can work from anywhere.
Conversely, the local talent that small businesses used to depend on for filling key roles can work anywhere as well. That means job searches are now regional, national, or even global even for people who can’t or won’t relocate.
For all businesses, the talent pool expanded, and so did the competition for the same candidates.
To compete in this environment, small businesses must make themselves more attractive to potential employees. With location being less important, company culture, flexible work arrangements, and how you treat your employees take on more significance to candidates in addition to compensation and the nature of the work.
Small businesses must become adept at managing a distributed workforce and build their brand as an employer of choice to compete in today’s labor market. Those who do will have a competitive advantage.