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Increase in work-at-home creates a shift in site selection strategies for location-based entertainment

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in remote work by forcing millions of workers out of their offices and into their homes. The Aug 28-Sept 3 poll by Sense360 found that nearly 4 in 10 (38%) of adults employed full-time worked from home. The Sept 11-14 Axios/Ipsos poll found that one-third of full-time and self-employed adults (34%) were working from home or remotely instead of their regular workplace. Research by YPulse found that greater than one-half of employed Millennials are currently working from home. 

Multiple companies have announced extended work-from-home policies, with many deciding to allow employees to work from home permanently. 

survey of 25,000 people by IBM found that over half of workers (54%) say they would prefer to continue working remotely full time. A Wall Street Journal/SurveyMonkey poll in late July found amajority of those who’ve been working from home (64%) say that remote working has made it easier for them to balance their work and home responsibilities.

A survey by Clutch found that some workers found their home office set-up just as comfortable and productive as their desk at the office and that working from home offers time back in their day to spend with friends and family or simply to relax.  

As might be expected, telecommuting is much more common among higher socioeconomic Americans, especially those with a college degree. Employed college graduates are more than twice as likely as employees without a college degree to work remotely. 

There is a strong correlation between education levels and incomes. Remote work also increases with incomes.

Basically, the majority of remote workers are professionals and white-collar workers. 

The Wall Street Journal/Survey Monkey poll found that nearly 6 in 10 of remote workers (59%) say they’re spending less time socializing with colleagues. Of course, this change in behavior is very logical. Remote workers are scattered throughout the town or city where the office is located, or even living in remote-distant locations. Meeting up to socialize is much less convenient than when you and your colleagues met up every day at the office and could easily meet up after work at some restaurant, bar or eatertainment venue. 

Pre-pandemic, many adult-oriented entertainment and eatertainment venues selected sites for their venues based on the criteria of being close to significant white-collar employment areas, such as office parks, and convenient to higher socioeconomic residential areas. Groups, especially corporate groups, are essential to their success, often generating one-third or more of revenues and an even higher percentage of profits. 

The pandemic has upended that site criterion. Now more than half of the workers who once worked in those close-by offices are scattered everywhere. The percentage of remote white-collar and professional workers is likely to remain high, even post-pandemic. There presently and will continue to be fewer workers at company offices who can conveniently get together after work at a close-by venue. With workers scattered everywhere, the close-by venue is no longer necessarily the preferred location for a corporate event as it has lost the convenience of its location. 

In 2019, the overwhelming majority (71%) of all spending on fees and admissions for community-based entertainment and arts came from households headed by adults with a bachelor’s or higher degree. Those households with the highest spending account for the vast majority of all professionals and white-collar workers. Now, with many of those workers no longer coming to the office, those entertainment and eatertainment venues that relied on the site criteria of being close to white-collar office concentrations will continue to have attendance and revenue challenges into the post-pandemic era.  

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About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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