Office moves: Where are businesses going?

Mar 16, 2016

Companies are utilizing corporate migration for a variety of reasons, from keeping promotions internal to ensuring each of their locations has the right personnel. However, businesses aren't just relocating employees - they're moving entire offices, too. Here's a breakdown of where companies are migrating and why office moves may be on the rise:

Interstate migration patterns

Atlas Van Lines has conducted migration pattern studies since 1993 to track inbound and outbound shipments across the U.S. According to data from the 2015 Migration Patterns study, Oregon, Idaho and North Carolina may be the most likely destinations for businesses to move. These were the states with the highest percentage of inbound shipments in 2015, at 64 percent, 63 percent and 61 percent respectively.

In fact, the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast seem to be drawing a lot of migrating businesses and individuals: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee all saw substantially more inbound moves than outbound ones in 2015, which means they're popular destinations.

Is international migration on the rise?

Interestingly, companies aren't just moving within the country - international office relocations may be on the rise, as well. According to The Economist, more and more businesses, including Coca-Cola and CF Industries, are choosing to either move outside of the U.S. or transfer their headquarters to a different country. Why? In part, it's because of the tax breaks available to them in countries with different systems than the U.S.

International corporate relocation is also on the rise - increasingly, companies are sending employees to work overseas, whether it's for a short-term project or it's a traditional long-term relocation. In fact, according to Atlas Van Lines data, 55 percent of all companies that relocated employees moved anywhere from one to 100 or more staff members to a different country in 2014.

Corporate relocation graphic.Both businesses and individual employees are relocating internationally.

Because international migration is trending for both companies and individual employees, businesses likely aren't moving solely for tax reasons. In a global marketplace, it's often necessary for companies to get their foot in the door in multiple regions around the world. Adding international locations allows them to expand and reach entirely new audiences.

Why are other companies choosing to migrate?

There are a lot of reasons companies may be migrating, whether to another state or across the globe. States like New York and Illinois, which have historically been hubs of business and industry, are seeing some of the highest percentages of outbound moves. It's possible that companies are moving away from these states and into less-expensive regions like the Pacific Northwest and Southeast where they can lower their overhead and payroll costs.

According to a study from Smart Growth America, companies may have purely practical reasons for relocating. Some move to consolidate their workplaces while others seek a new location near other businesses and potential clients where they can centralize their operations.

Whatever the case, moving an entire office, whether it's across the city, to another state or to another country altogether, is a big decision with a lot of factors. However, it is clear that businesses can benefit in some ways from taking that leap.


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