February 18, 2020
Outer-city coworking cuts carbon and commuting
Each flexible coworking space created in a smaller town or suburban area reduces carbon emissions by an average of 118 tonnes a year thanks to shorter commutes, an international study has claimed. By allowing people to work closer to home, one coworking space saves the employees based there a total of 7,416 commuting hours per annum on average, the research by independent economists commissioned by Regus says. This not only helps businesses to reduce their carbon footprint but can improve employees’ wellbeing and work-life balance.
The study, which analyses the socio-economic impact of flexible working in 19 countries up to 2029, also claims that an average of 218 jobs are created per flexible workspace. These include temporary jobs to fit out the new space and roles such as receptionists, security staff and cleaners. Each coworking workspace also generates an average of $16.47 million per annum through job creation, workers spending money in the local area and investment by new businesses. An average of $9.62 million of this would be expected to stay in the local economy.
The figures vary across the 19 regions. In the UK, the report estimates that each ‘outer-city’ coworking space saves 152 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year and 9,209 hours of commuting on average. Each space creates 231 jobs overall and 146 in the local community. It also generates $20 million in gross value add.
Big enterprises are adopting flexible working policies; moving away from relying on a single, central HQ and increasingly basing employees outside of the major metropolitan hubs in flex spaces.
In the foreword to the report, Mark Dixon, CEO for Regus’ parent company IWG, writes: ‘Where previously the idea of flexible or coworking was considered something tailored for small businesses and entrepreneurs, it is now the world’s largest companies that are driving this trend. Big enterprises are adopting flexible working policies; moving away from relying on a single, central HQ and increasingly basing employees outside of the major metropolitan hubs in flex spaces. Most are doing so to improve employee wellbeing by allowing their people to work closer to home, save money [and] boost productivity’. At the same time, businesses can ‘reduce their financial exposure to long leases following recent changes to accounting standards’.
‘With people working locally, local amenities and retail outlets will receive a boost and new jobs will be created to service a national network of workspaces’, he adds. ‘And with travel reduced, carbon emissions will fall and cities will see far less congestion.’
Regus also claims that coworking spaces can be better for the environment than home working because it is likely to be more energy efficient to heat and light a shared space than a home for a single worker.