Live where you work or work where you live?

Naomi Byrne | 20 Sep 2016 | UK and Ireland Perspective

Businessman Commuting To Work On Train And close up of him Using Laptop

The daily commute for many has changed significantly over the past 10 years.  The accessibility of home broadband has meant that many employees now have more flexibility about how and where they work.  This change will naturally have an effect on where companies’ open premises and whether they need to pay expensive rents in cities.  In fact, in London city some companies now merely operate meeting facilities and ‘hot desking’, whilst encouraging their employees to work at home when they’re not client facing.

Moreover, we increasingly talk about the talent bast driving investment decisions.  People want greater choice about where they live and work.  As our cities become more densely inhabited with increasing property prices, individuals want to have broader options about where they live and work, and out-of-city locations can offer for some a more favoured quality of life.

So does this mean we can now all live wherever we choose?  Perhaps we can commute even further as the changes in air travel over the last twenty years have been extraordinary – the quantity and range of destinations available for travellers is almost boundless!  Recently, I perused an in-flight magazine of a low-cost European airline and at a rough count I totalled over 120 destination with relative ease.  So, we can get wherever we need both quickly and economically, while keeping in touch with the workplace.

Developments in technology and flight travel also allow investors greater flexibility as they have significantly more options about where they can invest.  Regional destinations can boast international connections which is something that can be promoted and galvanised on.  Prior to comprehensive travel networks across Europe these destinations simply wouldn’t have been as appealing – therefore, companies really do have the choice about where they locate and how they operate their companies.

However, all that said, cities still remain in the heartbeat of our economies globally and their dominance in the business work still centres in these economic powerhouses.  In Western Europe, the top 20 cities account for attracting 40% of all FDI – therefore, their role still remains significant and this is unlikely to change in the short term.  Cities typically have strong clusters and allow businesses to network more effectively.  They also have comprehensive infrastructures and connectivity.

Overall, I believe we now have greater flexibility to live where we work and work where we live; which is a good choice to have!