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Sun Valley Could See Some Unique Working Arrangements
Jim Keating shared workforce trends during a summit hosted by Sun Valley Economic Development and Visit Sun Valley.
Thursday, November 18, 2021


The Great Resignation and other transformations in the 21st century workforce offer some opportunities for the Sun Valley economy to capitalize on—from working vacations to pop-up collaborations.

Jim Keating, COO of Liquid Space, told those tuning into a virtual Economic Summit Thursday that the way in which we use the workplace space has changed forever.

Until just recently, it seemed very normal to commute daily to a headquarters.

“I’d go through an hour-long commute in Chicago, winding up in Skokie,” recounted the former Blaine County Recreation District director. “Then, at the end of the day, I’d make my way back home… With COVID, the other end of the spectrum has emerged—home. But it’s not just about home. The notion of the hybrid workplace has emerged—an in-between zone.”

The hybrid workplace includes smaller footprint locations offering smaller groups of people the chance to work in a number of cities rather than everybody working in one massive centralized office.

It could involve a combination of working at home and renting out space when working from home doesn’t work.

It also includes the possibility of someone working part time at home and, on occasion, someplace like CrankTank or even Starbucks.

“I have three staff members who went to Europe this summer, not to vacation but to work,” said Keating, whose company helps companies procure flexible workspace without the hassle of a lease. “They embedded themselves in Paris or some other place. And they worked and engaged themselves in the culture of that community while they were there.”

Sun Valley could also take advantage of pop-up workers who work for companies that invite staff to collaborate in a place like Sun Valley for two to three weeks and recreate while there.

Even before the COVID pandemic, there was a sense that corporations were not in line with customers or employees, said Brad Cleveland, a Sun Valley resident who consults with public and private sector companies.

The transformation started before the pandemic; the pandemic served as a catalyst to accelerate the demand for choice and flexibility.


  • Nine of 10 employees don’t want to return to the office full time.
  • Seven of 10 would like to work remotely three-plus days a week.
  • Four of 10 would choose to work remotely full time.
  • Five of 10 say they would quit if they were not allowed to work remotely at least part of the time.

    Fifty-seven percent of U.S. and European leaders say the entire business model needs to be reconsidered in the wake of COvID-19, according to Futurum Research

    Three categories of employees have emerged in recent years, Keating said:

  • The working retiree—someone who doesn’t want to work fulltime but wants to work, often out of house.
  • Working remote employees—the 32-year-old family with young children who want to change their lives and therefore want to work remotely from some place that offers them the lifestyle they cherish
  • The extended stay visitor—those who want to live in a place where they can soak up its culture or outdoors.

Any one of these, of course, could fit into the Sun Valley landscape.



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