Florida Company Seeks to Build Workforce of the Future

Tim and Sara Hale recall the days of weekly traveling, interfacing with clients across the nation and spending extended periods of time away from home as experts in the emerging field of technology. Taking stock of what was important, and the need for a work-life balance, the couple created Coastal Cloud in 2012, which has since become a powerhouse in the Global Digital Transformation Consulting Services market.

While they may find their business among some of the world’s most prestigious companies, the Hales have never lost sight of what’s important – knowing that happy employees mean happy customers. 

After all, it’s not every day someone can say they live at the beach and work in the cloud.

“Sara and I spent our last career working in a large technology consulting company that required all employees to travel to client sites every week – this meant lots of time in airports and lots of time away from our families,” said Tim Hale. “We designed Coastal Cloud as a different kind of technology consulting company – where we use technology to dramatically reduce travel but still provide a ‘high touch’ experience for our clients through video conferencing and online collaboration tools.”

It’s the innovative use of technology and a flexible workforce that allows Coastal Cloud, a state of the art technology consulting company headquartered in Palm Coast, Florida, to introduce the workplace of the future to those in the workforce of today.

Tapping into the ability to utilize cutting-edge cloud-computing technology, Coastal Cloud is on the forefront of offering employees a type of flexibility rarely found in the traditional 9-to-5 model of business.

According to Hale, the virtual office model provides the ability to interface with clients in a timely fashion and with three hubs in the United States – located in Palm Coast, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; and Denver, Colorado-Coastal Cloud has its finger on the pulse of the rapidly changing technology industry.

“Technology is changing quickly, so it is important we are constantly monitoring the latest improvements and applying them to our own company,” said Hale. “We ‘meet’ with our clients every day ‘face-to-face’ via video calls and collaborate on projects using virtual workspaces. It works out great for everyone,” he said.

The connectivity between clients across the globe and Coastal Cloud team members has led to more productive work hours, while providing a quality of life for the company’s 200 employees that is second to none.

“We embrace the power of new technology to improve our quality of life and still deliver superior client service,” said Hale. “I believe these are not just temporary trends but a fundamental shift in how a workforce can be more productive and improve their quality of life.”

Use of the virtual workspace has also allowed Coastal Cloud to broaden its talent pool.

Coastal Cloud team

“We need to be able to tap into the best people regardless of where they live, and our virtual workplace allows us to do that and quickly make people productive regardless of their location,” he said.

The benefits to the company, team members and clients are measurable not only through better customer service, but through employee retention, a clear demonstration of job satisfaction.

Jake Scully, Salesforce.com consultant and data architect, has been with Coastal Cloud since 2014. Working with Coastal Cloud has provided Jake and his wife Kelly with an excellent quality of life.

“Prior to Coastal Cloud, pursuing a new career or even a new job in my previous career almost certainly meant relocation,” said Scully.

“I have lived in the same city since 1991. My kids went to school here, my wife and I are on various boards and involved with many local groups, my daughter has two kids and teaches in the school from which she graduated – all right here in Palm Coast. Cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) in general and Coastal Cloud specifically enables me to stay where I have put down roots with a rewarding career.”

“If for some reason, I decided to move – no problem as I work in the cloud. On top of all that, Coastal Cloud actively promotes a healthy work-life balance and is an amazing and generous company. Life is good,” he said enthusiastically.

Beyond the flexible work schedules and virtual offices, Coastal Cloud uses co-working in locations outside of their three main hubs.

“We are always monitoring new technologies and ways of working that can make us a better company. We are using co-working space in several cities around the country where we don’t have our own, dedicated office. We will continue to improve how we enable our employees and provide superior client service,” said Hale.

They’ve given the work at home model consideration with mixed results.

“We have had some ‘work at home’ options that did not work for certain people,” said Hale, “although we don’t believe that is due to the ‘work at home’ model being flawed. We believe that for some people the ‘work at home’ model is not engaging enough for them – they prefer an office atmosphere. They key is to make sure you understand each team member or recruit and understand what work models work best for them. Getting that right has great rewards for everyone.”

Setting Florida Up for Success

Looking to set the workforce of the future up for success and provide employers with the needed talent to be competitive, CareerSource Florida recently completed a study, surveying and analyzing emerging workforce trends with a focus on the Gig Economy and flexible work. One of the first of its kind, the study compares the limited available national data to state data, and will set a foundation of understanding as experts begin to navigate this growing workforce sector in Florida.

Releasing the study’s findings in December 2019, Michelle Dennard, President and CEO of CareerSource Florida, is working closely with the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors to identify key points from the study and measure the future impact of the flexible workforce in Florida.     

“At CareerSource Florida we have been interested in the growth of flexible work arrangements, which is also known as the gig economy, for some time,” said Dennard. “What’s interesting is the notion of gig work, or flexible work, is not new. Gig work has been around as long as work has been around, but what is new are the ways employers are connecting with the available talent pool looking to take advantage of gig work or flexible work arrangements,” she said.

As American workers have placed more emphasis on a work-life balance, flexible work options have become more appealing, and employers are becoming more receptive in a competitive employment market.

That flexibility is important to CareerSource Florida Chairman of the Board Kevin Doyle, who is a partner at Wexford Strategies, and the father of a toddler. Doyle says technology is allowing him to enjoy the benefits of a flexible work schedule while reducing the daily hour-long commute to work from Palm Coast to Jacksonville.

“I’m still going to be able to work from my home in Flagler County, still spend time with my family. [It] allows me to plug into my office, plug into my clients who I work with. It’s a quality of life issue as well. It’s definitely helpful as far as that work-life balance that we all want so much,” said Doyle.

Dennard sees the combination of quality of life and flexibility within the workforce as a unique advantage for Florida. It’s an asset she is excited to share with site selectors and companies inquiring about the opportunities for growth and expansion, relocation or start-up.

“I think we’ve taken the first step in better understanding what the gig economy means for Florida’s workforce system and identifying the skills that are needed for those individuals who are looking to take advantage of flexible work, better understanding what skills they do have and what industries are most primed for this work,” said Dennard.

“I think that can be used to work across sectors, whether education systems, or entrepreneurial training opportunities, so we can better prepare the kinds of training, and the kinds of education that workers interested in flex work will need in the future,” said Dennard.

Michelle Dennard

 

“At CareerSource Florida we have been interested in the growth of flexible work arrangements, which is also known as the gig economy, for some time,” said Dennard. “What’s interesting is the notion of gig work, or flexible work, is not new. Gig work has been around as long as work has been around, but what is new

Kevin Doyle

are the ways employers are connecting with the available talent pool looking to take advantage of gig work or flexible work arrangements,” she said.

As American workers have placed more emphasis on a work-life balance, flexible work options have become more appealing, and employers are becoming more receptive in a competitive employment market.

That flexibility is important to CareerSource Florida Chairman of the Board Kevin Doyle, who is a partner at Wexford Strategies, and the father of a toddler. Doyle says technology is allowing him to enjoy the benefits of a flexible work schedule while reducing the daily hour-long commute to work from Palm Coast to Jacksonville.

“I’m still going to be able to work from my home in Flagler County, still spend time with my family. [It] allows me to plug into my office, plug into my clients who I work with. It’s a quality of life issue as well. It’s definitely helpful as far as that work-life balance that we all want so much,” said Doyle.

Dennard sees the combination of quality of life and flexibility within the workforce as a unique advantage for Florida. It’s an asset she is excited to share with site selectors and companies inquiring about the opportunities for growth and expansion, relocation or start-up.

“I think we’ve taken the first step in better understanding what the gig economy means for Florida’s workforce system and identifying the skills that are needed for those individuals who are looking to take advantage of flexible work, better understanding what skills they do have and what industries are most primed for this work,” said Dennard.

“I think that can be used to work across sectors, whether education systems, or entrepreneurial training opportunities, so we can better prepare the kinds of training, and the kinds of education that workers interested in flex work will need in the future,” said Dennard.

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