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In a Changing Workplace, Community Can Make All of the Difference


In today's economy, the world continues to shrink and the need for talent continues to expand. Companies are seeking every possible advantage to attract and retain talent in order to fuel growth and continue to innovate. The location of a company and the community in which employees live are often taken for granted and not fully leveraged.

We believe that the economic development community and workplace designers should work together to close this gap in the future. Community development professionals are a great source of information about what is happening within your community, whether you are in a suburban business park or an area of the community being revitalized. Conversely, it is the community developer's role to better understand what type of workplace you are hoping to create, how your people travel to and from work, and what amenities might be most important to them in the immediate area.

According to Gallup, 87% of the workforce is not fully engaged while at work. By giving them the option to be engaged with the community, we believe this may increase. While many companies promote community involvement through philanthropic and charitable work, there are also possibilities for employees to be actively involved in their community by designing the built environment - the human made space where people live, work, and recreate.  In this way, employees can begin to see how their company is making a real difference as an employer and become engaged contributors to the tax base.

87% of the workforce is not fully engaged, while at work. By giving them the option to be engaged with the community, we believe this may increase. 

Finally, it is increasingly important to be located in communities who are open to all types of people and ideas in order to make the community better. There are measurements such as the Municipal Equality Index to quantify  how open to the LGBTQ community a place is. Columbus received a perfect rating of 100.  There are also new initiatives like Mayor Andrew Ginther's New American Leadership Academy in Columbus. These initiatives are not just about public policy. They give employers a host of options in which to recruit and retain the best talent. Quality communities that are open and consistently trying to improve give employers the most options and employees the best experience. 

With a welcome and engaged workforce, we can continue to grow beyond what we can currently only imagine. I encourage those withing your company that are designing the workplace to contact their local economic development office and schedule a meeting to discuss what they want to accomplish and how the community can help them achieve their goals. It will be a welcome call.

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