Then, It Was the Job; Today, It’s the School; Tomorrow, It Will Be the Connection (But In 2022, Tomorrow IS Today)

Where do families look to live?

When factories, mills, and coal mines drove our nation’s economy, families moved into homes that were built near where the breadwinners worked.  Fathers who worked in factories and steel mills moved their families to row houses that lined streets near the job site, while sidewalks provided them a way to walk to their workplace, their wives a way to the market, and their children a way to the local school.  Those who worked in the mines lived in the town that sprung up around them.  Children went to school, and, more than likely, followed in their fathers’ footsteps as the next generation of workers in the same industry.

As automobiles became more prevalent, families moved to the suburbs, allowing the family to live in new communities of homes that were being built especially for them.  Churches and schools were built, and, as more and more families moved to these new communities, the quality of the local school district played a large part in the determination of where these families would reside.  Even today, families still look at the quality of life they’ll experience when relocating to a new city, town or community due to a new employment opportunity.

As for tomorrow, however, that will change.

As connectivity becomes more and more important in an increasingly mobile world, working from home, remote locations, and Internet commerce will make the quality of the connection to the cloud more important than proximity to the office, the marketplace or the school.   Businesses can connect with its customers just as easily as individuals can order food, clothing and home furnishings, and have them delivered to the doorstep.  While schools celebrate the fact that they’re implementing a one-to-one computer initiative or have a Chrome from Home program, the computer will soon become the school, rather than the school simply utilizing technology as another tool for learning.

Interestingly, this article was first written in 2016.  Any responses I received about it said, “That will never happen.”  Now, in 2022, we’ve seen that it has.  Back in 2016, I pointed to the communities that were created by technology.  Friends used to be those people who lived in one’s neighborhood.  Today, one’s community of friends consists of connections made through various social media, accessed more and more by mobile devices.  As friends, families and co-workers communicate with one another more and more via technological tools, those times where we physically get together with our friends, families and co-workers will become more and more meaningful.  And that is precisely what we have witnessed because of our pandemic reality.  The Great Resignation and The Great Retirement, as well as Work From Home, has made the tech connection vitally important, and the time we spend in person with our loved ones so much more treasured.