There’s a new and unlikely weapon in the fight against climate change – flexible working. As co-working spaces are increasingly located outside of major city centers and business districts, lengthy and environmentally damaging commutes are becoming a thing of the past.
In fact, as the growth of flexi-working explodes in areas outside of major cities, new research reveals that, by 2029, ‘outer city’ office spaces will reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1,280,000 transatlantic flights between London and New York each year. That’s 2,560,000 metric tonnes of carbon stopped from entering the atmosphere annually, just by working nearer to home.
For India, the carbon saving will see a reduction of 181,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per year. In polluted cities, like Delhi where pollution routinely reaches hazardous levels, we will witness a significant impact on air quality.
The Suburban Economic Study, commissioned by Regus and conducted by independent economists, projected the environmental benefits of locating flexible workspaces in smaller towns, cities and suburban areas between now and 2029.
Suburban flexible workspaces can play a significant role in helping to decrease fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions and other pollutants in order to reduce carbon footprint. Enduring long commute hours is environmentally damaging and is becoming a thing of the past.
By allowing people to work closer to home, a local office space will save workers an average of 9,532 hours per year in reduced commuting times, equating to a reduction of 54 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per centre, per year.
The report also revealed that those moving from flexible working at home to a co-working space will be doing their bit for the environment. That’s because it’s likely to be more energy efficient to ventilate and light a shared space than a home for one, solitary worker.
Mark Dixon, CEO for Regus’ parent company IWG, says, “Commuting can be uncomfortable, unfriendly, and incredibly time-consuming. It is also a huge source of global pollution. In an age where every business and an individual have a responsibility for their environmental impact in the world, commuting into major cities is keeping them away from fulfilling their responsibility. Over the next decade, we expect to open many more locations in smaller towns, cities and suburban areas. Our vision is that soon there will be a professional workspace available on every corner; ending the idea of commuting for good. This will benefit our personal health, as well as that of our planet.”
Harsh Lambah, country manager – India, IWG
Harsh Lambah, country manager – India, IWG, added, “Urban commuting is one of the most energy- and pollution-intensive activities in India increasing carbon emissions exponentially. Growth of opportunities in suburban cities and options for people to work closer to home can have a tremendous effect, not just on them, but on the environment too. The study reiterates the potential of flexible workspaces in the coming years by highlighting economic and environmental impact for businesses as well as people working out of flexible workspaces.”
The rise in local working is largely driven by big companies adopting flexible working policies; moving away from relying on a single, central HQ and instead basing employees outside of the major metropolitan hubs in flex spaces. The study also revealed the economic benefits of these suburban spaces and found the ‘flex economy’ could contribute over US$14,663 million per annum to local economies in India by 2029. And an average flexible workspace will generate $3.44 million GVA each year, of which $1.40 million will go directly into local economy.
To download the full report, visit www.regus.com/suburban-economic-survey