Phil Oram, Regional Director, Crown Workspace
Phil Oram, Regional Director, Crown Workspace

Member Article

Six benefits of moving to an out-of-city-centre office

Why decentralisation is a new trend for UK businesses

For as long as most people can remember, big business has been based in city centres but now, thanks in part to the pandemic, there is growing evidence that things are about to change.

Decentralisation is one of the buzz words in commercial relocations and in boardrooms across the country as companies consider whether to move out.

Hundreds of global companies are currently squeezed into London’s square mile where you cannot build out but you can build up – and regions such Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh have followed suit.

But in a post-pandemic world, and at a time when major cities are going into lockdowns, is business in a skyscraper really the future?

Already some are on the move - or creating a new hub-and-spokes system in which regional spokes change the practice of cramming everyone into a central headquarters.

Popular areas include the outskirts of London such as Hertfordshire or Surrey, coastal cities such Brighton and smaller university cities such as Cambridge or Oxford.

Here are six major advantages of moving your business out of the city centre according to Phil Oram, Regional Director at workplace experts Crown Workspace, a company which specialises in helping organisations achieve sustainable and inspiring workspaces:

1 Financial savings because of cheaper rent – there’s no doubt that rent per square foot is considerably cheaper outside of the big cities, so even businesses which move to larger premises out of town may find it is still cheaper.

2 More space, including outdoor space – the benefits of having more space in the current climate are obvious; it makes designing-in social distancing much easier. An office outside of the city centre is also more likely to come with outdoor space, which is so important for wellbeing, not just in terms of offering employees somewhere to get fresh air but also in terms of having a view from their window. Looking out over nature has been proven to have a positive effect on wellbeing and productivity at work.

3 Fewer storeys and therefore no lifts – one of the biggest issues for the glass-fronted skyscrapers in London during the pandemic has been the need to use lifts to reach the higher floors. Restrictions on how many people can use a lift at one time can lead to long queues, which in themselves are not good news for social distancing. In a low-rise out-of-town office, escalators and stairs can be a good alternative.

4 Less expensive to build or refurbish – building outside of city centres is undeniably cheaper and provides fewer logistical issues than getting cranes and trucks into inner London, for instance. Even better for the environment, however, is to find buildings which are already in situ and can be refurbished.

5 A chance to create regional hubs – moving away from the big city can encourage businesses to let go of out of an outmoded obsession with keeping all the best jobs for their central headquarters. This practice is one of the biggest reasons that people commute and refuse to move out of cities – because they feel working in a regional office will be less well paid and less prestigious. By spreading a business around regional hubs, senior staff can work close to home and not necessarily in London without losing out. It also strengthens regional economies and encourages local people to work locally and still achieve their ambitions.

6 An opportunity to reduce the length of the employee commute and embrace active travel - the UK has the longest commute in Europe at 54 minutes per day and this is bad news for employee health and work-life balance. Moving out of big city centres can make journey times shorter, even if the distance travelled for some employees will be longer. It also gives companies an opportunity to encourage and train local talent to reduce commute times even further in future. The Active Travel trend, encouraging people to cycle or walk to work, is easier to achieve in decentralised workplaces where cycle routes are less busy and less dangerous.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Crown Workspace .

Enjoy the read? Get Bdaily delivered.

Sign up to receive our popular morning London email for free.

* Occasional offers & updates from selected Bdaily partners

Our Partners

Top Ten Most Read