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Transplant, an interactive website, tells you where people are moving

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) COVID-19 has been stated as the number 1 reason why people are moving; this interactive map gives you a picture of where and why people are moving.

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graph of popular states to move to

Location, location, location. That’s a lot of what it used to be about, right? Most people either liked their hometown and stayed there to work or moved away to attend college or work in another city.

Post college, many of us based our locations on work opportunities. You may have landed in one of the largest cities like Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles if you were working in Media, Entertainment, or Finance. The San Francisco/Bay Area also had a ton of appeal if you wanted beautiful weather and to work in Tech. Then in the mid-2000s to now, there were certain cities that young people wanted to flock to for the work and lifestyles: Austin, Denver, Portland, Seattle and Nashville to name a few.

Since March 2020, many employees and companies have been working remotely. While working remotely (or working from home) isn’t necessarily a new concept (many people have been doing it for years since smartphones and laptops became normal work gear), we just haven’t really seen it on this scale before.

A normal “telecommuting” of the past was maybe work from home one to two days a week and be in the office for a majority of team meetings outside of travel obligations. Many companies are reporting that their productivity has not suffered due to their entire workforce working from home (because let’s be real, most are not working from coffee shops right now) and many larger tech companies have informed their employees that they will work from home for the remainder of 2020, or even indefinitely like Twitter and Square.

So, if you’re no longer required to be in a physical location, does this open up the opportunity to move to a new city?

Check out this new interactive website, Transplant.to, that collects data from folks about what cities they are moving out of, where are they moving to, and why. Some fun stats (keep in mind it requires user-generated content so will not be 100% factual because not everyone is reporting):

“Number 1 reason for moving? COVID.

Average miles that people are moving: 831 miles

Most popular city to move to (and move from): NYC

If you are moving, it’s interesting to see the data they are collecting on people’s why:

  • Want to live with family
  • Family friendly
  • Laid off
  • Growing a family
  • Rent is too expensive
  • Closer to family
  • More housing options
  • Can work remotely
  • COVID

If you’re not moving, you can also submit data around where you’re located and what your reasons for staying put are:

  • Rent is cheap
  • Happy with where you are living
  • COVID

There is no option to say maybe you aren’t moving because you are a homeowner and have no interest in trying to sell right now and/or you don’t know if your employer will call you back to the office so it may seem a little early to pull that trigger to move away.

But that brings up the next question – will companies start letting their employees know that it is OK to relocate and keep their jobs since there are no current plans to return to a physical office? Or will many relocate because they lost their job so there’s not a compelling enough reason to stay in that particular location? If that is the case, can we expect lots more data on this site to show people moving around the country?

It will also be really interesting to see what cities people land in because that means those cities had some kind of appeal (work opportunities or other?). You could predict that some of these will include the more “up and coming” and smaller cities (like those listed in AFAR’s The Best Small Cities in the United States in 2020) such as Reno, Savannah, Naples, and Santa Fe. However, according to the data, it looks like people might also be moving back to where they have family.

There are some companies that have let their employees know and it seems intuitive that some people may want to leave cities where cost of living is high and they could make a nice life in another city. This doesn’t come without some criticism, though.

Facebook, for example, has received some flak for saying they would explore cutting employee salaries to match the cost of living to the new cities they move to. From the employee side, it makes a more appealing case to take your high salary to a city with a better cost of living than stay in your apartment or home where it’s expensive and you can’t even get out and enjoy the city right now.

From the employer side, they are questioning the higher salaries that were normally matched to be competitive and within the cost of living of a city. If their employees no longer need that incentive to say, move to the Bay Area, then they could save money on their bottom line (aka overhead) for human capital.

It almost seems like a pendulum mid-swing. Many people moved to their current location due to work opportunities, but if they are no longer tied to that location, would they consider moving back to be closer to family?

We shall see which way the pendulum swings as we move in to the Fall of 2020. It could definitely look a lot different by 2021, especially after another round of leases are up. Through all the change and challenges, it seems like COVID has made a lot of people reassess what is important in their lives.

Erin Wike is a Career Coach & Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin and owner of Cafe Con Resume. Erin is fueled by dark roast coffee with cream AND sugar, her loving husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs. She is the Co-Founder of Small Business Friends ATX to help fellow entrepreneurs + hosts events for people to live a Life of Yes with Mac & Cheese Productions.

Real Estate Technology

Your office could benefit from a more open floor plan

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) Science proves that open floor plans are more conducive to office productivity, but will it work for everyone?

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open office

If you walk into a tech startup, nine times out of ten you’ll find an open seating/bull-pen style seating. Whereas traditional work environments are divided up into departments with individual offices and cubicles, open office floor plans put all employees in the same room. Studies have shown that cubicles don’t increase productivity. As a matter of fact, people are more productive when they are sitting close together, but can see each other.

Pros of openness

Some of the advantages of an open office floor plan are obvious. These kinds of offices are economical because you can fit more people and more desks in less space, and because it is more efficient to heat, cool, and light one large room than several small rooms.

Open office plans also facilitate communication between managers and their employees, and between departments.

Rather than taking the stairs or hiking down the hall to collaborate with another person, you can simply holler across the room.

Cons of openness

Unfortunately, all of that hollering can sometimes be pretty distracting. A University of Sydney study found that half of workers in open offices say that the most frustrating part of their workplace is the “lack of sound privacy.”

Open offices are not only noisy, but are also less secure, since everyone can overhear one another.

Employees may get peeved if they can’t concentrate because of all the noise around them, or can’t make a phone call without being overheard.

Dr. Who inspired solution

A startup called Framery Acoustics offers a solution.

They create soundproof phone booths and meeting pods designed to complement open office floor plans.

One of the founders, who previously worked in an open office, complained that his boss talked too loudly on his cellphone. His boss replied, “Well, get me a phone booth.” Thus, Framery Acoustics was born.

Simple solutions

Framery Acoustics is just one company that offers a product suited to appease open office dissenters. Framery Acoustics isn’t ready to give up on openness and neither should you. So, when it comes time to return to your office (if you haven’t already), look for ways to make your office more flexible. Whether it is by providing a quiet capsule for private meetings and phone calls or just having a designated section for meeting, the solution is out there.

Compromising allows you to reap the benefits of an open office plan, while still ensuring that you and your officemates have privacy and quiet when it is needed.

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Real Estate Technology

3D printed homes are now gaining traction outside of the US and China

(TECHNOLOGY) Other countries are now using 3d printing to build homes to underscore their infrastructure. This shows the viability of the technology!

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3D printing

Recently, we reported that Lennar was using 3D printing to build homes in Austin. In 2014, the BBC reported that China was printing up to 10 homes a day at the low cost of $5000 per home. This trend is making strides in the real estate market, even though there’s still a long way to go. In a move that should give the industry confidence in 3D printing, Indonesia’s Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Ministry announced that they are using concrete 3D printing to build homes in rural areas. Eventually, plans are in the works to construct schools.

Using 3D printing to build an infrastructure

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country. As with most countries, housing expenses are climbing in both urban and rural areas. According to Habitat for Humanity, 11.3% of the population lives below the poverty line. For comparison, in September, the U.S. Census Bureau released information that the U.S poverty rate increased to 11.4%, one percentage point over the same time in 2020. Affordable housing is a problem in Indonesia.

“This technology really helps us, so we can build faster, more accurately, and with precision,’ explains Kusumastuti, Indonesia’s Director General of Human Settlements.” The PUPR reports that 3D printing reduces waste and improves construction quality. Considering that up to 70% of housing is built by individuals, not private developers or the government, using 3D printing under the PUPR Ministry is an upgrade in a country that deals with many types of economic disasters, due to its climate.

3D printing’s potential for real estate

As 3D printing is used in more construction projects, not only in the U.S. and China, it’s hoped that the real estate industry embraces the technology. Indonesia isn’t the only country that is trying out 3D printing. 14Trees constructed a school in Malawi using this method already, with the project taking around 18 hours. The company is undertaking more projects in Africa using this technology and more companies are building houses using 3D printing in the United States. It will be exciting to watch how this plays out in the various markets.

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Real Estate Technology

Why everyone and their mother own spy machines (aka smart speakers)

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) Regardless of privacy issues with them, what does information about smart speakers, ownership, and usage tell us about future trends?

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smart speakers scare me

I don’t trust smart speakers, but even I can (begrudgingly) admit why they might be convenient. With just a simple wake word, I would be able to do anything from inquire about the weather or turn down my own music from across the room. And the thing is, plenty of people have bought into this sort of sales pitch. In fact, the worldwide revenue of smart speakers more than doubled between 2017 and 2018. And it’s projected that by 2022, the total revenue from smart speakers will reach almost $30 billion.

With over 25% of adults in the United States owning at least one smart speaker, it’s worth figuring out how we’re using this new tech…and how it could be used against us.

First things first: Despite the horror stories we hear about voice-command shopping – like when a pet parrot figured out how to make purchases on Alexa – people aren’t really using their smart speakers to buy things. In fact, in the list of top ten uses for a smart speaker, making a purchase is at the bottom.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief, though, it’s worth knowing where advertisements might crop up in more subtle places.

Sure, people aren’t using their smart speakers to make many purchases, but they’re still using the speakers for other things – primarily asking questions and getting updates on things like weather and traffic. And I get it, why scroll through the internet looking for an answer that Alexa might be able to pull up for you instantly?

That said, it also provides marketers with a great opportunity to advertise to you in a way that feels conversational. Imagine asking about a wait time for a popular restaurant. If the wait is too long, it creates the perfect opportunity for Alexa to suggest UberEats as an alternative (promotion paid for by UberEats, of course).

Don’t get me wrong, this is already happening when you search Google on your phone or computer. Search for a tire company, for instance, and the competitors are sure to appear in your results. But as more and more consumers start turning their attention to smart speakers, it’s worth being aware that they won’t be the only ones.

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