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Flexible workspaces provide major boost to NZ's local economies

05 Dec 2019

Businesses that decentralise their workplaces could reap the benefits of lower overheads, happier workers, and reduced commute times – but they could also help to stimulate regional economies.

A recent multi-country survey from Regus and Development Economics has found that New Zealand could perform strongly in comparison with 18 other countries surveyed – with even more gross job creation than in countries such as Germany and Switzerland.

The New Zealand report specifically found that by 2029, the workforce as we know it now will have evolved in part to a flexible workspace model in which around 13,900 people will be working, providing net additional employment opportunities amounting to more than 7,600 jobs.

Flexible working could also create NZ$1.7 billion per annum in value alone, based on the total annual amount of commuting time saved (and assumed to instead be used for personal or leisure purposes by workers) is calculated at over 21,100 days per annum.

The overall average gross value added (GVA) per flexible workspace is NZ$26 million per annum, of which an average of NZ$15.1 million per annum would be expected to be retained by local economies.

The report notes that these values vary significantly across the different countries surveyed; slightly above the average, New Zealand is expected to generate an annual value of NZ$26.3 million, of which NZ$14.2 million would be retained locally.

Furthermore, the fitting out of a single flexible workspace could generate gross value added of approximately NZ$1.1 million to New Zealand’s economy as a temporary boost.

“Flexible working has already become a standard business practice for millions across the globe, and how we are able to more closely analyse how the benefits of flexible working – from lower overheads for businesses to healthier workers and reduced commuting times – are translating to improved gross value added (GVA) to national economies,” comments Regus New Zealand country manager Pierre Ferrandon.

The report notes that flexible workspaces provide benefits such as direct and indirect employment opportunities; additional local investment; stimulation from supply chains and businesses that benefit from local spending; social benefits; and the ability for businesses to operate effectively and productively.

“This comprehensive independent report by Development Economic analyses in detail the effects of flexible workspaces across multiple competitive economies, and shows that with New Zealand belonging squarely in the pack, we have a great deal to gain from a flexible working model that invests not only in central cities but in secondary cities and towns and suburban areas over the next decade,” concludes Ferrandon.

The typical range of benefits that would normally be associated with a flexible workspace located somewhere in New Zealand would be expected to include the following:

  • Overall permanent jobs at a national level: 217
  • Net additional local jobs at the spatial level of the city or town: 119
  • Overall permanent GVA generated by businesses occupying floorspace: NZ$26.3 million per annum
  • Net local GVA generated by occupiers: NZ$14.2 million per annum
  • Aggregate annual time savings by people working at flexible workspaces: a total of 661 days per year, of which it is assumed 330 days would be used for personal purposes

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