Is workplace location becoming a deal breaker? Posted 2012, 13 March I’ve heard a few anecdotes about how young professionals now interview a prospective employer rather than the other way around. The thesis goes that if you are highly skilled and confident, you can shop around for the job you want, and size up your employer. I always wondered how widespread that really is. But I would suggest that no matter how common it is, people are definitely getting far more choosey about who they work for and where they work. If they can. And if you couple that with the increased ability of people to work from home or on the road, you face a vastly different landscape when it comes to workplaces. In Auckland approximately 75 per cent of the working population still commute by car for the main part of their journey (ARC, 2007). In the morning peak, work-related trips average 11 kilometres. As we continue to see a decline in the number of full time jobs available, I predict people will put up with this daily commute less and less. Work is becoming increasingly less ‘place based’. Sometime soon we will reach a tipping point where it will be completely unsustainable to drive those average 11 kilometres to work five days a week in rush hour traffic. As employers, we are going to have to think increasingly about where the sort of employees we wish to attract live, what their personal interests are, and how we can design workplaces and work activity itself to be flexible and mobile. Research going back many years in California found that places such as Silicon Valley rose up because of their proximity to lively cities such as San Francisco. Innovative, smart and engaged professionals want to achieve a clear balance in work, life, play. We need to locate, design and run workplaces that match.