London employees who have been working from home since the start of the pandemic are saving an average of £58 per week in commuting costs alone – equating to over £3,000 per year.


The research*, from workspace company The Instant Group and site location specialists HICKEY, also found that the average employee spends up to 98 minutes a day commuting from home to their workplace – this adds up to 39 days a year. The research also found that 57% of employees want an office that is closer to their home. These factors, along with the greater work-life balance most office workers have enjoyed during Covid-19, means there is an increasing pressure on businesses from employees to bring change and agility to workplace culture.


Instant research also found that corporate headquarters are expected to shrink by up to 40% as employees demand a more hybrid approach – a combination of having a central head office used for collaboration where teams can connect, working from home and having access to a space closer to home. This model capitalises on the improved work-life balance experienced by office workers, without the daily grind of the commute.


There are also significant cost savings for businesses too, saving upwards of 23% simply by taking a ‘rightsize’ approach. Instant’s propriety shows that for an office of 60,000 sq ft catering to around 600 people, the annual saving of distributing half of the workforce to suburban locations closer to home and reducing the reliance on city centre locations could save an estimated £636,750 per year in rental rates alone.


John Duckworth, Managing Director of the Instant Group UK and EMEA: “As the UK starts to come out of lockdown, employees will be demanding more choice and flexibility around how they work. For many companies, this is going to require a complete shift in mindset, but those that move quickly will reap the benefits. Employees want a different office model now, focused more on agility in the way they work and this will create a real unique selling point in the war for talent.


“Leasing workspace is one of the highest costs for most companies, after salaries. Adopting a more agile approach comes with the cost savings highlighted but it also drives benefits for staff including reduced commute times and costs and increased wellness and productivity. There will always be a place for the office, it’s not going anywhere but the purpose of it is going to change.


“Every business will be different, but until now the traditional leased market for workspace has required  minimum commitments of five years or more which has not allowed businesses to take a more agile approach. But, with the growth in flexible space offering shorter lease lengths and the ability to grow and contract space depending on the business needs means this is beginning to change. Going forward, business leaders will be in a better position to adapt their approach with less long-term commitment and greater flexibility to suit new ways of working.


“Business agility has become one of the most important factors and as businesses start to open their doors again, it will become absolutely critical for survival.”


*The Instant Group / HICKEY research report – The Rise of Suburbia – March 2021