Newly released office footfall data sheds light on how Brits are redefining their relationship with the traditional office space amidst the trend of hybrid work setups.

The data, compiled by IWG, indicates a substantial transformation in work patterns, with a notable surge in localised working preferences.

Over the past two years, there has been a marked increase in the utilisation of office workspaces situated in suburban, rural, and commuter town locations, reflecting a shift away from the conventional daily commute to city centre offices.

This shift has been driven by a desire among workers to minimise both time and financial resources expended on lengthy journeys to work.

The data highlights significant spikes in demand for flexible workspaces in former commuter hubs such as Maidenhead, High Wycombe, Uxbridge, Milton Keynes, and Amersham, with footfall increasing by notable percentages. This trend coincides with recent hikes in rail fares, prompting employees to opt for local working arrangements.

Traditional 9-5 workday is fading away

Research conducted by IWG among over 2,000 workers underscores the fading prevalence of the traditional 9-5 workday, with a majority of hybrid workers now exercising autonomy over their working hours. The flexibility afforded by hybrid models has empowered employees to tailor their schedules, resulting in a departure from the rigid confines of the traditional workday.

Early starts and later finishes have become commonplace, as workers capitalise on reduced morning commutes and leverage their most productive hours. Despite these adjustments, hybrid workers are found to be working, on average, one hour less per week compared to conventional office setups, fostering a more favorable work-life balance.

While some companies, like Boots, have opted for a full-time return to central offices, the broader trend suggests a departure from this approach. The vast majority of businesses have embraced the hybrid model, with many restructuring their office footprints to accommodate decentralised working patterns.

Reduction in office costs

CEO studies indicate a shift towards more flexible workspaces closer to employees’ residences, with a significant reduction in office-related costs. Academic research supports this trend, suggesting that companies offering local workspaces can anticipate decreased turnover rates.

To meet the growing demand for localised workspaces, IWG has significantly expanded its global network, including over 50 new locations in the UK alone. This expansion aims to provide employees with collaborative office environments closer to home, aligning with the evolving preferences of the modern workforce.

Mark Dixon, Founder and CEO of IWG, emphasises the enduring relevance of the office, albeit in more accessible locations. He notes the tangible benefits of hybrid models for businesses and employees alike, citing cost savings and improved work-life balance as compelling drivers for this paradigm shift.





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 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.