Flexible work spaces create ‘sandwich economy’

Shift of workers to outskirts of city centres helps with health and well-being: report

Flexible work spaces create ‘sandwich economy’
The increasing migration of flexible office space and coworking locations to areas outside of major metropolitan cities globally is creating a “flex economy," says a report. Shutterstock

The increasing migration of flexible office space and coworking locations to areas outside of major metropolitan cities globally is creating a “flex economy” that could contribute more than $13.7 billion annually to local Canadian economies in the next decade, according to a study released by Regus.

On average, 144 new jobs are created in Canadian communities that contain a flexible workspace, with an extra $17.62 million per annum going directly into the local economy because the presence of businesses and their employees provide stimulation to the nearby area, creating a “sandwich economy.”

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,” says Steve Lucas, report author of Development Economics.

The analysis, conducted by independent economists, studied 19 countries overall to assess the economic and social impact of flexible workspaces in secondary and tertiary cities and suburban areas both now and through to 2029.

“Office workers are growing tired of the old ways of working, and are increasingly looking to join companies that provide flexible and remote working capabilities. With city centre living so expensive and the cost of commuting often prohibitive, the appeal of workspaces closer to home is becoming stronger by the day,” says the study.

With reduced time spent commuting, Canadian workers could save a combined 9,348 hours (389 days) per year, helping to reduce stress levels, while increasing staff morale, resilience and mental well-being.

“For many, the daily commute is the most important factor influencing how they feel about their jobs, so any improvement in this area will have a powerful effect in increasing job satisfaction. Working at a locally situated office space means that many employees will enjoy significant time savings as a result of a much-reduced commute,” says the study.

Convenient office space can also provide working opportunities to people who might otherwise be unable to travel to an office. This could include, such as people with disabilities and caregivers.

“As the labour markets tighten, local flexible workspaces could open new routes to top talent.”

And because these flexible spaces are increasingly settling into suburban areas, employees have less of a need to drive, which in turn helps reduce carbon emissions.

“By helping to reduce carbon emissions, suburban flex spaces can form part of an overall response to climate change,” says the study.


The full study can be found here: study.

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