Retaining Talent in New Orleans through Technology

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CommTech Industires, a New Orleans-based IT firm explores the new trend of a remote workforce and how technology is keeping talent in the New Orleans area. New Orleans is a prime location for the emerging remote work force. The size, culture, diversity and low cost of living in this area are attractive to global companies and Louisiana college graduates wishing to stay in the city and work in competitive fields.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the CEO of Adobe was in town and he stated that Adobe would place their businesses where the people want to be. As advancements in information technology continue to expand, I think more and more we are going to see less of the traditional office setting and more of an unleashed workforce

Globalization and new technology continue to change the corporate landscape and the way people conduct business. One of the most innovative concepts today is the structure of the workplace itself. No longer do you have to necessarily get in your car and drive to an office in order to make a living.

"New technology is opening the job market in Louisiana in ways that were not conceivable just a few decades ago. With new information technology available, people are able to work for big companies from just about anywhere thanks to new advancements such as VOIP services,' said Darryl d'Aquin, president, CommTech Industries.

New Orleans is a prime location for the emerging remote work force. The size, culture, diversity and low cost of living in this area are attractive to global companies and Louisiana college graduates wishing to stay in the city and work in competitive fields.

"Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the CEO of Adobe was in town and he stated that Adobe would place their businesses where the people want to be. As advancements in information technology continue to expand, I think more and more we are going to see less of the traditional office setting and more of an unleashed workforce," said d'Aquin.

A recent Boston Consulting Group study found that 85 percent of executives expect a big rise in the number of remote workers over the next five years.

Take Marie, for example. She is a mother of two in New Orleans, working for a global market research and consulting firm headquartered in London, with home offices in New York and Chicago.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Maria worked in a clinical setting in a hospital. After Katrina, the hospital closed and there was no pharmaceutical or biotech industry in New Orleans. Since Maria was not willing to relocate, she needed to find an employer that offered a remote work arrangement.

Her company had its first remote employee five years ago. Today, there are seven people across the country doing exactly what Marie does from their homes.

Marie is able to attend meetings with her home office through technology such as Web conferencing and teleconferencing. With a Web-based product, she can easily demonstrate her company's offerings to potential clients from a remote location.

Her company has a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that is Web-based and enables her to be on the same network as her co-workers across the country. When clients call a 212 area code, it is routed through the New York office and rings at her New Orleans home.

Her company provides the Internet, router, landline and mobile phone. They have the advantage of paying her cost of living raises based on Louisiana rates and not New York. They also do not have to provide office space, which is at a premium in New York. While they do have to pay her travel expenses for internal meetings, since most of their clients are all over the country, they have to pay her travel expenses for client meetings anyway.

"New Orleans is the only bright spot in the country at the moment from a job perspective,' said d'Aquin. "Technology opens the door for a large population in this city without new companies necessarily having to move in."

CommTech Industries provides information systems, networking and telecommunications consulting and engineering services as well as best-of-breed product solutions to a client base that ranges from small business to Fortune 1000. Darryl d'Aquin is the president of CommTech Industries.

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