What is North-Shoring and Why Are Businesses Migrating? | Oktra
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  • What is North-Shoring and Why Are Some Firms Migrating?

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  • What is north-shoring?

    London is one of the world’s business epicentres, meaning demand of commercial real estate is comparatively high. The result is a higher cost per square foot and more significant overheads for businesses. The city is a cultural capital as well, causing residential property prices to follow a similar trajectory. For many, the resources and opportunities available in London justify the price tag it comes with, however, heightened financial uncertainty has caused some firms to look outside the city – when the businesses in question move north, this trend is referred to as north-shoring.

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  • North-shoring doesn’t only refer to companies permanently leaving London – in fact, the majority are incorporating regional momentum in their post-pandemic workplace strategies, alongside London HQs. As hybrid working models begin to define the future of work, businesses are increasingly adopting hub and spoke working models. These models feature a core workspace and a network of satellite spaces, from regional offices to coworking or serviced office space, allowing businesses to access talent and resources across the country as well as catering to a better work/life balance for employees by reducing commute times and providing a selection of working environments.

  • What are the benefits of north-shoring?

    The benefits of north-shoring, and any regional expansion for that matter, range from employee wellbeing and untapped talent pools, to reduced operating costs and improved sustainability. This range of business benefits includes:

    • Lower cost per sq ft of office space
    • Lower labour costs due to the lower cost of living
    • Fresh talent as the majority of graduates live outside of London in cities like Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham
    • Access to regional skillsets including science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
    • Increasing availability of flexible workspace and shorter lease lengths means businesses can trial regional locations before making permanent moves
    • Improved work/life balance for employees with shorter commute times for many and an abundance of natural resources and parks like The Lake District, Peak District and Yorkshire Dales
    • Greater sustainability as cities like Manchester aim to be carbon neutral by 2038
  • Why is north-shoring gaining popularity?

    North-shoring and similar regional expansion is gaining popularity as employers and employees prioritise flexibility. Businesses are re-evaluating their workspace requirements and discovering the benefits of hybrid working strategies, while their workforce looks to return to the office in a very different capacity to pre-pandemic normal. Productivity is no longer thought to exist solely within a core office environment, but has been proven to increase when a company’s workforce has a choice of working environments. As businesses acquire real estate outside of London, they reinforce employee wellbeing with additional working environments and simultaneously gain access to regional talent at a lower price point compared to London.

  • Who should consider north-shoring?

    Organisations with nationally distributed workforces or regionally-based supply chains, companies looking to recruit graduates or simply supplement their London workspace with satellite offices, are all suited to north-shoring or similar forms of expansion. The list of businesses that have done so is growing and includes: Freshfields, BBC, Channel 4, Burberry, a number of government departments and many more.

    Any business can consider north-shoring, but whether or not the move is right for you will depend on your needs and aspirations. You may find that your business could benefit more from a southern move to cities like Reading, Bristol or Brighton. We recommend speaking with a workplace specialist about the benefits a regional move could secure for your business. You can contact a member of our north, south or London teams by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

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