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Magnet vs. Mandate: How a Downtown Fargo Office Location Can Draw Employees Back

Magnet vs. Mandate: How a Downtown Fargo Office Location Can Draw Employees Back

| By Mari Hall |

Employee retention has been a hot-button issue as the economy continues to shift in the post-pandemic era and as more Gen Z workers enter the workforce, prompting a change in dynamics of what employees need (and want) from their workplace.

So what if there was a way to choose your workspace to maximize your business’s potential, improve employee retention, and help your team members live their best lives?

Move your office to downtown Fargo.

Whether your business is still in the start-up phase or well-established, the benefits of moving your office location to a vibrant urban core like downtown Fargo are limitless.

The Post-Covid Era

There’s no doubt that the synergy in a workplace can have a huge impact on a company’s productivity and success, but many employers are struggling to get their team members to return to the office without making it mandatory. However, a recent U.S. workplace study by Gensler showed that having a choice about how and where to work has a significant impact on an employee’s assessment of their work experience.

Instead of mandating office presence, employers can recalibrate their approach to the working environment, aiming to utilize it as a magnet for talent acquisition and retention. A people-driven workspace located in a vibrant district like downtown Fargo, which then becomes an amenity-rich extension of a company’s office, provides employees with the opportunity to work in a way that doesn’t just meet their needs but also appeals to what they want from their work experience.


Jasper Hotel’s lounge has become a hotspot for people looking for a change of scenery.

What Employees Want

With more and more Gen Z employees entering the workforce, employee preferences have begun to shift toward those of younger generations. So what can employers do to better appeal to Gen Z and millennial-age talent? It begins with understanding what those generations value.

More than previous generations, millennials and Gen-Zers are more likely to work in a third location such as a coffee shop or library, according to Gensler. In fact, in the survey, they ranked a coffee shop as the most important ideal work environment to add to their workplace mix, especially those in the tech, consumer goods, and energy sectors. In 2022, they spent 5 percent of their worktime at locations like this, which equates to an average of two hours per week. A community like downtown Fargo provides ample opportunities for employees to access these additional workspaces within walking distance of their office.

These additional workspaces also play into another priority for employees in the post-Covid era: the importance of socialization and networking. According to Gensler, this is more important than ever, and there’s no doubt that the ability to connect with people is easiest in the most walkable and densely populated area of Fargo-Moorhead. Companies like Emerging Prairie have chosen to prioritize a location in downtown Fargo because of the community connection and inspiration it fosters, which translates into greater innovation in their work.

Moving your business downtown could do more than just impact your employee’s daily work experience, though. According to a Feb. 15th article from Forbes, employees have continued to place a premium on workplaces that care about big-picture issues despite precarious economic conditions.

“In a survey of 2,000 employees in the U.S., 76 percent of respondents indicated that they want to work for a company that is trying to have a positive impact on the world,” writes Josie Cox.

The environmental, economic, and societal benefits of having an office downtown are seemingly boundless. The walkability of the neighborhood minimizes driving. The established nature of the district doesn’t require further infrastructural development or land use. Employees will become better connected with the community in which they work, and oftentimes this means supporting local, independently owned businesses. Urban cores also lend themselves to increased diversity, which is a priority among many younger workers.

Additionally, recent trends appear to indicate that younger generations no longer believe car ownership is mandatory, according to The Washington Post. With the prevalence of rideshare platforms as well as growing environmental concerns, more and more young people are opting not to purchase their own vehicle or are minimizing the number of vehicles per household. By locating your office in a neighborhood that by and large provides for a person’s day-to-day needs, you’re enabling employees to better embody the lifestyle they’re striving for. According to Gensler, choosing a district that offers a lifestyle rather than just a commuting destination has a big impact on employee retention, especially as millennial and Gen-Z people make up a greater percentage of the workforce.


Broadway Square has become a common space to absorb some sunshine during the workday in summer months.

The Future of Commuting

Before the pandemic began, the average American was spending 27.6 minutes to get to or from work—nearly an hour round-trip—according to a 2021 statistic from the U.S. Census Bureau.

As an employer, this may not be the ideal way for the majority of your team members to bookend their workday as we resume working in the office more regularly. Moving your office to a centrally located district like downtown Fargo could equalize commute times for many team members, but it also provides a greater opportunity to live closer to the workplace, where drive time might not even be a factor.

A recent study showed that the downtown Fargo neighborhood will likely grow by another 5,000 residents in the next five to 10 years. Putting your office in a community with a plethora of living options means your employees could live close enough to bike or even just walk to work each day, even in the coldest months of the year.


If you’re looking for a magnet instead of a mandate, let us show you around the neighborhood. Contact KCR at [email protected] or 701.289.7000.


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