CFAR Presenters: Eliza Orleans and Sara Miller-Paul

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Beyond the Brick and Mortar: How Much Does “Place” Matter in the Forth Economy?

The fourth economy’s geographically dispersed workforce tests an influence long taken for granted by family businesses: their physical location. Participants will explore the role played by “place” and consider ways to recreate its value, regardless of physical context.
A tight-knit, family-owned business had been based in the same building for generations, with a committed staff and most family members living nearby. The business was not only a source of pride for the family but also for the local community, where continuous investment wove the social and economic fabric closely together. Today, accelerated by COVID-19 but also in response to tight labor markets and growing numbers of family shareholders, the benefits of working together are being called into question. Are employees still required to work in-person, or will there be a bifurcation between remote and on-site workers? What happens to the local economy if employees can live and work anywhere? Amidst this change, can this company’s tight-knit “feel” survive?Through case studies, we examine how family businesses from multiple industries are adapting to a dispersed workforce, and in particular, how they maintain relationships with their local communities, tools for recruiting and retaining top talent, and how they convey the business culture.

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Beyond the Brick and Mortar: How Much Does “Place” Matter in the Forth Economy?