Why People Are Choosing to Work Near Home, Not At Home

Why People Are Choosing to Work Near Home, Not At Home

Does working from home work for you?

After countless conversations with clients, colleagues, and friends over the past 12+ months, we’ve found that it’s something of a Marmite subject in the business world.

Some people love it. Those who have enough spare space at home to convert into an office have found that it’s convenient, comfortable, and it saves a lot of time and money commuting.

Other people haven’t had as much success.

For those who have limited space, or who have children at home, it has been incredibly challenging to balance the demands of work with the needs of their family.

We all remember Professor Robert Kelly, whose BBC interview back in 2017 was hilariously interrupted by his young children live on air.

At the time, it was a novel experience -- which is why the video became a viral hit. Fast-forward to 2021 and these experiences have become all-too-commonplace for working parents everywhere.

Still, that doesn’t make the experience any easier (just ask Matt Evans and Faye Harris, who switched their home office for a more professional space at our Henley-in-Arden offices earlier this year).

Whether you’re trying to hold a video conference, meet a deadline, crunch numbers, brainstorm ideas, launch a marketing campaign, or just write a quick email -- it can feel like an impossible challenge when your work and home life are thrown together.

And that’s why so many people are going back to the office.

Some are using the office on a part-time basis, for 2 or 3 days per week. Others are choosing to go into the workplace full-time.

One thing we’re noticing here at UBC is that people aren’t necessarily going back to their original place of work; they want something different that matches their new post-homeworking requirements. They want to work somewhere that’s close to home (but not at home), away from congested areas, and that’s more flexible with regard to part-time or shared usage.

In a report released in March 2021, ‘The Rise of Suburbia’, the Instant Group revealed a number of interesting new requirements from employees:

  • 57% of employees want an office that is closer to their home
  • 77% of employees say that a more conveniently located office is a must-have for their next role
  • By working closer to home, the average London employee could save £2,200 a year in commuting costs.

This reflects changing attitudes towards the workplace. Having worked from home for more than a year, convenience is now all-important -- and that’s driving many companies to seek to downsize their original head offices and switch to a ‘hub and spoke’ office model instead.

This involves setting up a network of small branch offices in out-of-town locations that are easy to reach and convenient for employees living locally.

UBC, which has a network of 7 flexible offices in regional locations across the UK, has noticed similar trends in enquiries and take-up. In particular, larger firms that would normally take long-term office leases are now seeking flexible space in regional locations instead.

One example is the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), which recently signed a 5-year lease with UBC for flexible office space in Fleet. And they’re not alone.

It’s part of a much wider trend. In the same research report, the Instant Group predicted that corporate headquarters are set to shrink by 40% in the coming years as businesses learn lessons from the pandemic and work to become more flexible in their infrastructure, with less long-term commitment and greater agility.

This agile workplace model enables firms to accommodate more hybrid ways of working for their staff and to ‘bring the office to their people’.

One thing’s for sure, the year ahead is set to bring some interesting changes for individuals and businesses alike as we adjust to this fascinating new world. So if working from home isn’t working for you, come and speak to the team at UBC and explore the benefits of working in a flexible, convenient workplace. Discover our 7 regional locations here.