Location, location, location—this real estate cliché is now dominating conversations about the changing world of work. Many businesses are learning a thing or two about the value of where work happens, and many leaders have said they intend to keep at least part of their workforce remote even after we’re through the limitations of COVID-19.
We’ve been thinking a lot about locale in recent years. I picked up a snowbird routine in 2010, and we launched our digital presence in earnest in 2015. Some of our “office” staff are rarely in the office—the one at 228 Main Street, at least.
From these experiences, we’ve learned a lesson that many business leaders are grappling with now: the fundamental question may not be where work needs to happen, but how it needs to happen. We’ve even shared with you about what we call the “URL–IRL connection,” the way our work online and our work in-person go together.
Yes, right now, the pandemic is putting some clear constraints on the question of location, but it would be a pity to come away from this challenging time with the wrong lesson. It’s not that WFH (“working from home”) is universally superior to working in a company office setting. It’s not that an office is superior to a WFH arrangement.
As Forbes contributor Laurel Farrer explained, what would happen if we focused on work as a thing we do and not a place we go? The short answer is that we make decisions based on the fundamentals. What do I need to get my work done?
Clients, we will continue to adapt—to changes in our lives, to changes in your needs, and to the world around us. Wherever life takes us, our work keeps us connected to you. And we are so grateful for that. Write or call anytime.
Hello, and welcome. We hope you enjoy your tour today. If you have comments or questions as we go along, by all means, ask them.
My name is Mark Leibman. I have been enchanted by the markets and the economy since my college days. And my whole career has been about helping people plan and invest to strive toward their life goals. It is all I ever wanted to do.
Back in the year 2000, twenty years into a career marked by experience in most forms of personal finance, I bought this building. I needed more space than my office at home could provide. Obviously, I could not pass it up. It dates to 1900, a brick commercial Victorian structure like the ones that dot so many small town Main Streets across the country. The careful restoration reflects the timeless values we hold dear.
My brother Paul and I did the work to get the place ready for business, and he became my first assistant. Paul, a retired firefighter, was a man of many talents. He refinished the wood floors, and we patched and painted the walls together. By the time the first round of inexpensive furniture began to show its wear, my wife Cathy was working here and directed an upgrade to the comfortable and functional pieces you see.
Larry Wiederspan, our newest associate, sits here. He came to us after more than thirty years in banking. I knew decades ago that he would make a great addition, and the pieces fell in place back in 2014. He has a great background for all the paperwork and compliance duties required of us these days. Clients also love that we have a dedicated Technology Ambassador to coordinate 24/7 online account access, electronic signing of documents, and going paperless for those who prefer.
Greg Leibman works at this desk. Yes, we are related—he is one of my children. Greg does valuable work in a number of areas. He is the primary contact when people call the office with questions about their accounts. He assists with investment research, doing special projects and screening the market for potential holdings as well as following the news on current holdings. When it is time to make changes in portfolios, Greg makes trades under my direction. Hard to believe he started here at the end of 2009.
(Greg also maintains our virtual presence at http://www.228main.com, where he is a full partner in the writing and editing. Just like our physical location here at 228 Main Street, 228main.com is a friendly place. We post a new story or article once or twice a week, highlighting our philosophy or key investment concepts or thoughts on events of the day. Links there go to our running daily short commentaries at your choice of venues, Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. It’s almost like chatting out front on the sidewalk, talking about whatever seems most pertinent or interesting at the moment.)
My office is right back here, across from the coffee maker. I believe that five cups a day keeps the Alzheimer’s away, and that is important to anyone like me who plans to work to age 92. You’ll notice that I sit at a partner’s desk—it is the same on both sides. When you sit down, we meet as equals. We think true genius lies in finding unrecognized simplicities, not in complicating things to confuse people or acting like some high priest.
The machinery on my side of the desk connects to a thousand times the resources any investment professional had back when I got registered to do business, at a tiny fraction of the cost. For someone who reads voraciously and studies long hours, we truly live in a golden age. And it’s portable: I can work from anywhere with my cell phone and internet access.
So that’s our place. I’ve done all the talking so far, and I apologize for that. If you’d like to visit about your goals and your life, let’s get started. We can do that by phone, email, or the good old-fashioned way, face to face. You choose.