Flexible Spaces to Reduce Carbon Emissions Globally by the equivalent of 1,280,000 London-New York Flights Yearly by 2029
• Flexible workspaces are increasingly located in smaller towns and suburban areas, contributing to shortened commutes and lesser carbon footprint
• In China alone, carbon emissions cut by 2029 would be equivalent to 160,000 flights between London and New York
3 FEBRUARY 2020, HONG KONG – There’s a new and unlikely weapon in the fight against climate change – flexible working. As the growth of flexi-working explodes in areas outside of major cities, Regus’ Suburban Economic Study reveals that, by 2029, ‘outer city’ office spaces will reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 1,280,000 transatlantic flights between London and New York each year. In other words, 2,560,000 metric tonnes of carbon are stopped from entering the atmosphere annually as people work nearer to home. In China alone, a total of 320,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions would be cut, equivalent to 160,000 transatlantic flights.
The Suburban Economic Study, commissioned by Regus and conducted by independent economists, projected the environmental benefits of locating flexible workspaces in smaller towns, cities and suburban areas between now and 2029.
The difference one co-working office makes
By allowing people to work closer to home, a local office space will save workers an average of 7,416 hours per year in reduced commuting times, equating to a reduction of 118 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per centre, per year.
In the USA, where commuting times can be among the longest globally, this reduction increases to 208 metric tonnes per year. In other emerging markets, the carbon saving may be smaller, such as in India, which will see a reduction of 54 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per year. However, its polluted cities, such as Delhi where pollution routinely reaches hazardous levels, could still see a significant impact on air quality. In China, a total of 9,208 hours will be saved by through remote working each year, which converts into an estimate of 52 metric tons of carbon savings.
The report also revealed those moving from flexible working at home to a co-working space will also contribute to carbon reduction because it is more energy-efficient to ventilate and light a shared space than a home for one, solitary worker.
Mark Dixon, CEO for Regus’ parent company IWG, said: “Commuting can be uncomfortable, unfriendly, and incredibly time-consuming. It is also a huge source of global pollution. In an age where every business and individual has a responsibility for their environmental impact in the world, commuting into major cities looks increasingly old fashioned.
“Over the next decade we expect to open many more locations in smaller towns, cities and suburban areas. Our vision is that, in the near future, there will be a professional workspace available on every corner ending the idea of commuting for good. This will benefit our personal health, as well as that of our planet.”
The rise in local working is largely driven by big companies adopting flexible working policies; moving away from relying on a single, central HQ and instead basing employees outside of the major metropolitan hubs in flex spaces.
The study also revealed the economic benefits of these suburban spaces and found the ‘flex economy’ could contribute more than US$254 billion to local economies in the next decade. It found that on average 121 new jobs globally are created in communities that contain a flexible workspace, with an extra US$9.63 million going directly into the local economy. For China, 93 jobs additional will be created as a result of flexible working, generating an extra CNY22.45 million (US$3.22 million) to the local economy.
To download the full report, visit www.regus.com/suburban-economic-survey.
 Based on 250kg CO2 equivalent per hour flying, see CarbonIndependent.Org. Aviation https://www.carbonindependent.org/22.html, for an eight-hour flight
• The Regus study analysed the socio-economic impact of flexible working in 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
First established in 1989, Regus is one of the original pioneers of flexible workspace, helping businesses choose a way of working that’s best for their people.
Now spanning the globe with over 3,000 locations, Regus’ global network of bright, inspiring workspaces allows modern businesses to work where, when and how they want, in a more agile way. Regus provides businesses with the flexibility to grow without risk or commitment, and attracts a diverse network of 2.5 million people, from entrepreneurs and SMEs to multi-national blue-chip companies.
Regus is an operating brand of IWG plc: the holding group for a number of leading workspace providers. Other brands in the IWG portfolio include Spaces, HQ, No18 and Signature by Regus.