Commuting from Cities to Suburbs: Why the Big Change?

Even prior to the pandemic, employers were considering relocating their offices outside of the crowded cities to more suburban areas. Why? Employees would get a shorter commute and a better work-life balance, all while still being within easy reach of urban commerce and culture.

Recent trends toward millennial talent, productivity-focused management, and healthier workplaces offer some explanation for why suburban core locations are becoming the new destination for leading enterprises.

Related: Benefits of Living Close to Work

The Big Change to Urban-Suburban Offices: Why It’s Happening

Let’s look at three of the biggest reasons that the change to suburbs is taking place:

A Demographic Shift

Young professionals all over are on the move. Due to the millennial generation increasingly shifting to the suburbs for green space, quality schools, larger homes, and engaged communities, they also want to avoid long commutes. So, they choose suburbs that have walkable amenities and transit access—this keeps them within reach of the full urban experience.

Between ages 25 and 40, they also boast a significant amount of professional experience, making them desirable for companies whose business models look for productive professional talent and formal education. Millennials represent a large percentage of the current workforce and aren’t slowing down. Leading companies are racing to determine better ways to attract, retain, and engage these workers.

A Workplace Shift

Corporate responsibility is changing. The demand for LEED-certified and green buildings that minimize their environmental impact has expanded to include Fitwel-certified and buildings focused on employee health. Together, those qualities address the priorities of the millennial workforce: workplace wellness and environmental sustainability.

These workplaces include natural lighting, pleasant views, access to nature, walking paths, water features, fitness centers, health food options, and amenities that encourage activeness. Casual and collaborative workspaces combine with walkable neighborhoods, turning office environments into full-blown experiences. But, the neighborhoods with all of these amenities are only available in the most well-located suburbs.

Healthy work environments sustain an everyday culture of wellness and demonstrate a company’s commitment to an employee’s health, well-bringing, and work-life balance. Increases in recruitment, retention, and productivity explain why top companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have created corporate campuses that support and encourage collaboration, satisfaction, and overall well-being. Those offerings result in quality, loyal, and productive professional talent that supports the employees and the company’s bottom line

A Management Shift

High-performing finance, technology, and professional services companies are quickly adopting a productivity-driven mindset to drive industry-leading performance. C-suite conversations regarding efficiency and costs are shifting more toward productivity and growth as companies look for the maximum return for employee compensation, which is typically their largest expense.

Research by Bain & Company regarding productivity showed that companies and management who treat their workforces with similar discipline to financial capital perform much better than their competitors who don’t. These companies manage their time, talent, and energy carefully to drive huge growth gains and profitability. That’s where the work environment and location come in.

  • Time: The best-performing companies consider their employees’ time, which is their most precious and scarce resource, and manage it accordingly. Long commute times are an inherent drag on productivity and overall quality of life, which is a fact that was brought into focus during the pandemic. Offices that are located near-professional talent clusters minimize commuting times and support more flexible work strategies.
  • Talent: Dynamic, well-located workplaces attract the most productive talent. This top talent is easier to recruit when you offer exceptional work environments. Plus, when the workplace experience is like a magnet for them, they will stay for longer periods and help draw in additional talent.
  • Energy: Employees who are inspired and engaged bring much more discretionary energy to their workplaces and jobs, making them more productive than workers who are merely satisfied with their roles. Knowing that one inspired, motivated employee can be much more productive than multiple complacent ones justifies investing in creative, efficient suburban workplaces and cultures promoting excellence.

Top-tier companies are 40% more productive, grow faster, and generate up to 50% higher profit margins than their competitors. Their employees work together, serve customers better, and have more innovation because they are inspired, talented, and spend their time well.

The Benefits of the Growth of Suburban Coworking

Other than cutting commute time, here are some benefits of suburban office spaces:

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Coworking

  • Flexibility

Local suburban offices provide flexibility that employees can’t find in urban centers. Appointments and mid-day errands can potentially take place close to home and work rather than across the city. This flexibility allows workers to schedule their days in ways that work better for them and their families.

  • Proximity

Suburban offices provide an additional benefit to parents: they can work closer to their children’s daycare centers, schools, etc. They can be nearby for emergencies, drop-offs and pickups, classroom participation, and more.

  • Lifestyle

For many professionals, working in suburban centers can be an invigorating experience and suit their lifestyle preferences better. For others, long commutes into and out of urban cities can be an exhausting experience.

  • Diversity

While urban offices are typically tech-heavy, suburban centers typically reflect a wider variety of professionals, from attorneys and academic workers to entrepreneurs with home-based businesses.

Choosing a Suburban Office for Productivity

So, what defines an inspiring suburban workplace? Top companies provide their most talented employees with combinations of good managers, good teams, good work, and a positive culture. They build that culture with compelling values and vision, strong business practices, and hiring guidelines that draw the right talent. They also create and maintain physical spaces that allow their employees to do their best work. According to the World Green Business Council, some key factors that can help improve productivity in the workplace are:

  • Better natural lighting can increase productivity by up to 23%.
  • Access to a natural environment can increase productivity by up to 18%
  • Better ventilation can increase productivity by up to 11%
  • Individual temperature control can increase productivity by up to 3%

Related: Tips to Improve Office Productivity

Looking for the best flexible suburban office and coworking spaces to increase your team’s productivity? Check out these custom workspaces from TailoredSpace!