A quick overview of the north-shoring phenomenon and what it means for UK businesses.
With the return to work on the horizon as lockdown measures ease across the UK, businesses continue to rethink their office space requirements: some companies are looking to take up space outside of London as a result.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Whatever your reason for moving, learn what to look for in your new office building, how long your property search will take, and the challenges and opportunities commonly associated with a move.download now