Commuter towns experience office booms

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Flexible workspaces in former commuter towns such as Maidenhead (+171%), High Wycombe (+158%), Uxbridge (+134%), Milton Keynes (+79%) and Amersham (+76%) have seen some of the largest increases in commercial office demand. 

IWG, which conducted the research, said that employee desire to reduce time and money spent on long daily commutes has been central to the growing popularity of local working.

This has been exacerbated by rail fares rising by 4.9% this month.

Mark Dixon, IWG founder and chief executive, said: “The working world has transformed over the past few years, with businesses and employees showing continued enthusiasm for the hybrid model. It is not hard to see why.

“Enabling businesses to save money amid rising costs while giving employees an improved work-life balance and significantly reducing their expenditure on long commutes is a no-brainer.

“Our data and research show that the office is not dead, it’s just moved to a more convenient location closer to where people live.

“Gone are the days when people were willing to accept long, expensive daily commutes to work in an office environment, when they know they can still work collaboratively in flexible workspaces closer to home.”

Three quarters (75%) of hybrid workers are choosing their own hours and now almost two thirds (64%) say they now rarely work a 9-5 day as a result.

The mass adoption of hybrid working means that than four in five (83%) workers now have more freedom to tailor their own schedules and as a result, millions are choosing to start their day earlier or later to take advantage of their most productive hours, facilitated by working from offices closer to where they live.

Early starts have become the norm for many, as 43% now start their day at 0800 or earlier as a result of having a shorter morning commute. One in five also choose to work later, with 19% logging off at 1830 or later.

Taking on more flexible workspace closer to where their workforces live has been the priority for CEOs. More than half (54%) of businesses now have office or coworking space outside of city centres, while 38% have opted for secondary locations in the heart of commuter towns. As a result, 73% say they have reduced the cost of their office footprint.

Via @PropertyWire