Housing Crisis in the Bay Area
In a connected world, companies must think beyond investors/dividends.
Companies must open offices in areas of affordable housing so that employees can buy houses for themselves EARLY in their careers without heavy interest burden for 30 years in their lives.
With $1 million+ houses in most of the Bay Area, and rents more than $2000+/mo, most of the employees working in the offices in San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont and other surrounding areas, are spending their entire monthly income in meeting their ends meet.
Without an opportunity to save for future investment, and EMIs beyond affordable range due to a million+ cost of ownership of a house, most of the employees of the bay area are live with every possible disadvantage except the nice weather and perhaps a global brand like Google or Facebook or Intel in the resume.
Most of the rental income goes to money bags and it is out of broad based rapid yield cycle of the economy (which happens on the main street, not on wall street).
By locating offices in places in BART corridor and other areas like Livermore, Tracy, Brentwood etc where houses are much more affordable, companies can earn employees’ long term association as a family living in rented accommodation is more nomadic than anyone rooted in their owned home.
Such an approach of companies may solve many other problems such as traffic congestion during office hours (and related pollution and pollution related diseases), longer travel time on road (more time on road means higher chances of accidents), higher cost of living and higher cost of office real estate in bay area (a data integration company bought their office near Redwood City in 2012 for more than $150 million).
In a connected world, where people in different continents meet daily through Webex or other online meeting places and discuss, share and collaborate to run businesses, a fetish for having offices only in metros or high price downtowns or places like Cupertino or Palo Alto seems to be outdated but yet to be replaced with much more advantageous options.
As corporate leaders, many of us may be in positions to bring this change and bring enormous benefits to employees in our corporate world.
I read this today, “Sky-rocketing housing prices in Palo Alto have left some in limbo; with teachers, firefighters and other government workers not earning enough to afford the cost of living.”