#FlexEconomy could contribute more than £12 billion to local economies and #LeftBehind towns over the next decade

There’s a new and unlikely weapon in the fight against climate change – flexible working. As flexible workspaces are now increasingly located outside of major city centres and business districts, lengthy and environmentally-damaging commutes are becoming a thing of the past.  

That’s according to the first comprehensive socio-economic study of second-city and suburban workspaces conducted by independent economists which reveals that outer city workspaces are set to reduce carbon emissions. 

The analysis, conducted by independent economists on behalf of Regus, reveals that as Brexit uncertainty and increased automation continues to impact the economic landscape, the establishment of a flexible workspace in a smaller city, town or suburban location could be a welcome lifeline for local economies, with four main benefits identified:

Alternate Text 1. Job creation 
Alternate Text  2. Value creation
Alternate Text  3. Time saving
Alternate Text  4. Carbon savings

By allowing people to work closer to home, a local office space will save workers an average of 411,000 of commuting days per annum. As people commute closer to home, their carbon footprint falls significantly, by 2029, ‘outer city’ flexible workspaces could reduce carbon emissions by 131,000 tonnes annually.

In fact, as the growth of flexi-working explodes in smaller towns and suburban areas across the UK, new research reveals that, by 2029, ‘outer city’ office spaces will reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 65 transatlantic flights between London and New York each year. That’s 1310,000 metric tonnes of carbon stopped from entering the atmosphere annually, just by working nearer to home. 

The Suburban Economic Study projected the environmental benefits of locating flexible workspaces in smaller towns, cities and suburban areas between now and 2029.

What a difference a centre makes

The study reveals that by allowing people to work closer to home, a local office space will save workers an average of 411,000 of commuting days per annum by 2029.

The report also revealed that those moving from home working to a flexible workspace will be doing their bit for the environment. That’s because it’s likely to be more energy efficient to heat and light a shared co-working space than a home for one, solitary worker. 

Mark Dixon, CEO for Regus’ parent company IWG, said:

“Commuting can be uncomfortable, unfriendly, and incredibly time-consuming. It is also a huge source of global pollution. In an age where every business and individual has a responsibility for their environmental impact, commuting into major cities looks increasingly old fashioned. 

“Over the next decade we expect to open many more locations in smaller towns, cities and suburban areas. Our vision is that, in the near future, there will be a professional workspace available on every corner ending the idea of commuting for good. This will benefit our personal health, as well as that of our planet.” 

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Business benefits

The rise in local working is largely driven by big companies adopting flexible working policies; moving away from relying on a single, central HQ and instead basing employees outside of the major metropolitan hubs in flex spaces. 

The study also revealed the economic benefits of these suburban spaces and found the ‘flex economy’ could contribute more than £12 billion to local economies over the next decade. It found that on average, 231 jobs are created in communities that contain a flexible workspace, pumping more than £15 million into the local economy as a result.

#FlexEconomy set to pump £12 billion into local economies by 2030: Flexible workspaces are set to contribute £12 billion to local economies in the UK over the next 10 years, according to the first socio-economic study of second-city and suburban… https://t.co/PTc4NRDvvx pic.twitter.com/UWKc2VomTA

— FE News - The #FutureofEducation News Channel (@FENews) November 13, 2019

Methodology: The Regus study analysed the socio-economic impact of flexible working in 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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