Facebook, Twitter and VC firms consider life outside Silicon Valley as they shift to remote work

If the business world has learned one thing from the pandemic, it’s that their employees can work, and innovate, remotely. Employers once limited to local talent and offices are now free to hire anyone, to work from anywhere. In Silicon Valley, this newly distributed workforce has disrupted the region’s long-standing business model which has, since its inception, relied on employee proximity.

Workers no longer need to live in the Bay area, so they aren’t; San Francisco studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom rentals saw the biggest year-over-year decline in the country in September, falling by 31%, 24.2%, and 21.3%, respectively. Tech giants no longer need their massive employee campuses, so they’re considering other options; Dropbox is ditching its offices for “studios” to facilitate in-person collaboration among pockets of now-remote employees across the country. Big tech’s recruitment teams, once focused on the self-selecting pool of talent in a narrow, and local, echelon of educated society, can now tap talent from anywhere, potentially diversifying their workforces in the process. Even venture capital deals, the literal seeds of these tech giants, have moved from dinners and drinks in the Valley to Skypes and Zooms online.

Tech’s long-standing tradition of staying, growing, and circulating talent within Silicon Valley has enabled the region to become and remain the epicenter of U.S. tech culture and innovation. In its 70 years, the area has produced the behemoths that put the United States on the map, technologically: Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Twitter, Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and Intel. And with them, Santa Clara county has grown into a hub of wealth, generating over $316 billion in GDP in 2018. Silicon Valley currently provides 1.7 million jobs, and until now, those jobs were concentrated in the San Francisco Bay area. Read more via CNBC