Flexible office growth in non-metros globally may add $254 bn to local economies by 2029: Study

Manvendra Jha

New Delhi, Nov 13 (PTI) Increasing migration of flexible office space and co-working locations beyond metropolitan cities globally could contribute over USD 254 billion to local economies in the next decade, according to a study.

Flexible office operator Regus, the operating brand of International Workplace Group (IWG), conducted a study to analyze the socio-economic benefits for local economies by growth of flexible workspaces in secondary towns and cities, and in suburban locations of major cities in 19 countries.

These 19 countries are -- Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

'The increasing migration of flexible office space and co-working locations to areas outside of major metropolitan cities globally is creating a 'flex economy' that could contribute more than USD 254 billion to local economies in the next decade,' Regus said in a statement.

It revealed that on average 121 new jobs are created in communities that contain a flexible workspace, with an extra USD 9.63 million going directly into the local economy.

By 2029, the 'flex economy' in India is expected to contribute an annual value around USD 14,663 million per annum (in terms of 2019 prices), of which about USD 5,737 million per annum will be retained by local economies.

The study also predicts, there could be a total of over 9,79,000 people working at local flexible workspaces across India, providing net additional employment opportunities for local residents amounting to nearly 4,03,000 jobs.

'This rise in local working is being largely driven by big companies 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, and also to save money and boost productivity,' the statement said.

Across the 19 countries analysed, the average individual workspace sustains 218 jobs and in India, the average individual workspace sustains 235 jobs.

This includes temporary jobs created during the fitting-out stage of the office space, permanent jobs to run the office, including reception, maintenance, cleaning etc, plus jobs associated with occupancy of the workspace.

The study found that an average flexible workspace will generate USD 16.47 million GVA (Gross Value Add) each year, of which USD 9.63 million will go directly into the local economy.

In India, an average flexible workspace will generate USD 3.44 million GVA each year, of which USD 1.40 million will go directly into local economy. Harsh Lambah, Country Manager – India, IWG, said: 'This is a great testimony to the emergence of India as one of the hottest markets for flexible working industry. Not just metros, even tier 2 and suburban locations are also contributing to this growth which we expect will continue into the foreseeable future'. PTI MJH BAL