A study has found that businesses are increasingly setting up shop in the suburbs of major cities, transforming economies like Leeds.
The migration of flexible office space to the outskirts of major UK cities like Leeds is creating a ‘flex economy’ that could contribute more than £12 billion to the economy in the next decade. That’s according to a comprehensive socio-economic study of suburban workspaces.
The analysis, conducted by independent economists on behalf of Regus, reveals that as Brexit negotiations continue to cause uncertainty, individual flexible workspaces in suburban areas could be a welcome lifeline for local economies.
The statement said: "Businesses are increasingly basing employees outside of major metropolitan hubs in ‘flex spaces’, driven by cost-efficiencies, an ever-improving transport infrastructure and the rise of flexible working.
"With Leeds increasingly being seen as a Northern economic hub, and in the context of the continuing conversations around the future of HS2 - the high-speed railway linking London and the north of England, attracting business to the area has never been more important."
Steve Lucas of Development Economics, and the report's author, said: “This study reveals a shift in jobs and capital-growth moving outside of city centres, where it has been focused for the last few decades, into suburban locations. This can benefit businesses and people, from improving productivity and innovation, to reducing commuting time, which leads to improved health and wellbeing.”
As the labour markets tighten, local flexible workspaces could open new routes to talent, the study found.
Mark Dixon, CEO for Regus’ parent company IWG, said: “When people commute, their wallets commute with them. What this study shows is that providing more opportunities for people to work closer to home can have a tremendous effect, not just on them, but on their local area too.
"Businesses also recognise the benefits and with six of our flexible working centres now in Leeds, we are seeing an increasing demand from companies of all sizes for flexible space in cities across the UK. Larger businesses are opting for a ‘hub and spoke’ real estate model. At the same time, smaller enterprises want to cluster and collaborate, and so choose flexible workspaces to be near other businesses.
“We already have hundreds of centres in these types of locations, some of which have populations as little as ten thousand people and we plan to open many more in the near future as this trend continues. Our vision is that, in the near future, there will be a professional workspace available on every corner.”
The Yorkshire Post business desk has a new Facebook page. To read more of our award-winning content, click on this link.