A recent survey conducted by IWG reveals that 82 percent of businesses have made significant changes to their office space requirements to accommodate the growing trend of hybrid working.
This shift includes more than half of these companies opting to establish offices or workspaces beyond the confines of city centres.
The survey, which included responses from 500 businesses, indicated that 54 percent of organisations have now established offices or co-working spaces outside major city centres.
Additionally, 38 percent have expanded into commuter towns, reflecting the increasing demand for flexible working arrangements among employees.
The transition to a more flexible work approach has presented several challenges for employers.
For example, global banking giant HSBC recently announced plans to relocate its global headquarters away from Canary Wharf to smaller offices after more than two decades.
However, productivity is on the decline
Despite these challenges, assessments of current productivity, compared to pre-pandemic levels, have shown no significant decline. In fact, the research found that 73 percent of businesses have been able to reduce their office space costs due to reduced central city office space requirements. Additionally, 36 percent reported lower expenses related to staff travel.
Sridhar Iyengar, Managing Director for Zoho Europe, highlighted the importance of adapting to new working models. He stated, “The emergence of hybrid working as a long-term working model has led to reduced reliance on city centres. It’s good to see some businesses now relocating outside of city centres, which not only saves money but also benefits employees and communities.”
He further explained that relocating to less crowded areas outside of traditional cities can distribute economic wealth more effectively, provide opportunities in rural areas, and improve employees’ quality of life.
What does the future look like?
Joanna Kori, Head of People at Encompass Corporation, emphasised the significance of flexibility in today’s workforce. She noted, “Today, flexibility is a key differentiator, with an increasing number of people favouring a hybrid model of working, so it is no surprise that organisations are making changes to accommodate the evolving needs of the workforce.”
Kori added that employers must prioritise employee satisfaction by offering work arrangements that consider employees’ desires for flexibility.
Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG, said, “It’s clear that the old ways of working, with a daily unproductive and expensive commute, are long gone. Businesses are realising that not only does hybrid working make sense for their bottom lines, it also benefits their workforces.”
Dixon expressed encouragement at businesses using their hybrid working savings to provide real benefits to employees, leading to improved productivity and well-being, as well as helping them retain and attract top talent.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.