LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- After a year at its fledgling location on Magnolia Park Drive in Mooresville, The U Center will move in mid-April to a new roost just off I-77 at Exit 33.
President and owner Nicole Filion-Ashline says relocating her member-based business center just a few miles east toward the interstate has already resonated with her current clients, and will answer the demand of prospective clients in Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville for a more convenient location for their keyman office and meeting space needs.
With the temporary shuttering of the Cashion's store and gas station at the corner of Catawba Avenue and Old Statesville Road, a significant patch in the often eclectic quilt work that is the social fabric of Cornelius is missing.
That hole in the town's comforter left a bit of a chill for local residents used to the warm welcome from behind the store's counter, as well as for those of us accustomed to the warm feeling of a few more dollars left in our wallets thanks to Cashion's notoriously low(er) gas prices.
What started out as minor renovations to and revamping of the town's friendly gas and gossip stop has turned into a full-on facelift, literally.
Cornelius Planning Director Wayne Herron says original plans for the store were for merely an interior up-fit, but in the process of the makeover, Herron says crews ran into structural problems with the building's façade. Now the entire front wall is missing.
Work at the site has stalled like a car on empty while the Cashion's folks work with town officials to figure out the best way to address the structural issues. Herron says his department is waiting for architectural drawings from the contractor for review. The hope is to reopen in about four more weeks, says Gordon Cashion.
In the meantime, Cashion's faithful can venture the mile or so west on Catawba Avenue to the comparatively spacious outlet at the corner of Catawba and Statesville Road. Not for the faint of heart, the diehard Cashion's loyalist can maneuver for a space at the pump — between landscaping trucks, delivery vans and women driving SUVs they, well, can't drive — at the corner of Old Statesville and Gilead roads in Huntersville.
When Yahoo! Inc. CEO Marissa Mayer called for all of her work-from-home Yahoos to move back to the Internet megalith's Silicon Valley digs recently, she created a vigorous debate between those in the flexible work environment movement and those wed to the more traditional constructs of cubicles, conference rooms and coffee breaks.
Both sides of the argument have merit.
On the one hand, the flexibility for some employees to work from home — be it just one day a week or all of them — could mean the difference between their ability to be breadwinner/parent/care provider/contributing member of society and becoming just another number in the ranks of unemployed.
Having a flexible work schedule and environment is an absolute boon for those in the workforce trying to balance career, family and some semblance of a personal life, and there is evidence out there that, in spite of recent moves by major players such as Yahoo and Best Buy Inc. to return workers to the business bosom, the practice of telecommuting is trending higher, as is the desire for employees to work from home.
Recent figures from Global Workplace Analytics and TeleworkResearchNetwork.com (August 2012) show that regular telecommuting grew by 73 percent between 2005 and 2011. That same data showed that while many believed the popularity of telecommuting would drop during the recession, it actually grew by 11.4 percent from 2008 to 2011. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home for at least a portion of their work schedule.
The trend toward working from home is even reflected in the latest census data. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 9.5 percent of U.S. employees worked from home at least one day a week. That's an uptick from 7 percent in 1997. Not a huge leap across more than a decade, but an increase nonetheless.
But the work-from-home movement has its detractors. Many contend that it doesn't support a collaborative work environment, particularly for professions or businesses that rely on creativity and innovation for success. That was one of the reasons for Mayer's slamming the front door on home offices. Part of the leaked internal memo from Yahoo's human resources lead bears out that reasoning.
"To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side," it reads. "That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices."
At a basic level, it's hard to argue with that logic. I need look no further than my own household, which is a veritable petri dish for the work-from-home experiment.
Although it was initially a tough sell, my husband has led a successful telecommuting life for more than 10 years. His employer, whom he signed on with as a communication systems engineer when he retired from the military and we were living in Southern California, agreed to let him give telecommuting a try when we decided to relocate here.
That was in 2001, and thanks to teleconferences, some minor travel and a growing reliance on Skype, he's made quite a go of it.
But that's also due to the type of work he does. The critical analysis of communication systems, while not necessarily performed in a bubble, is not reliant on the same freewheeling, lemme-bounce-this-off-you brainstorming that perhaps the creative geniuses at Yahoo trade in. It can be solitary work that requires intense concentration, not spit-balling from a beanbag chair with your fellow geeks about the next big "thing."
Those in my profession, however, do tend to feed off the back-and-forth that regularly happens when creative minds hopped up on Sundrop and deadline hysteria mingle.
I have been fortunate to have the flexibility to work most of my time from home (thanks, boss), but at the risk of being hauled back into the hive, I must admit that my most creative moments happen in the hours that I do spend in the zaniness of what passes for our newsroom.
Besides, we've all seen The Shining — writers shouldn't necessarily spend much time alone.
So, on which side of the debate do you fall regarding the success of the work-from-home experiment? Is the jury — and the office location — still out, or is Yahoo's Mayer on to something? And at the risk of tainting my own experiment, should I have kept my big mouth shut?
Let us know what you think
"What Say You?" is an occasional feature in the PULSE, and we'd like you to be a part of it.
DAVIDSON, N.C. -- As a taxpayer-owned entity, MI-Connection is essentially an open book. The cable company's finances and business plans are matters of public record. Even its board of directors' meetings are open to the public.
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce 2013 Business Expo was in full swing last Friday, as about 170 exhibitors were on display at Davidson College's Belk Arena. Now in its 12th year, the expo has become the region's largest business trade show, regularly drawing a few thousand visitors. The event was the annual showcase for the Lake Norman area's businesses, nonprofit organizations and attractions. It also included free seminars from a computer consulting firm and presentation professionals, as well as the taping of the second installment of the Chamber's "Competitive Edge" program, with a focus on team building.
As part of what's become commonly referred to as "Obama Care," there is a new tax beginning in 2013. The official name of this tax is the "Unearned Income Medicare Contribution Tax," and even though the name implies it is a contribution, don't get the idea you deduct it as a charitable contribution. It is, in actuality, a surtax levied on the net investment income of higher-income taxpayers.