Post-Pandemic Trend: Offices Moving to the Suburbs
One of the big takeaways from the COVID-19 pandemic for Boston’s office workers is that working from home is a huge timesaver.
According to a recent report from Geotab, Boston has the third longest average commute time among major U.S. Cities. The study found that only 13 percent of Boston commuters can travel from home to work in under 30 minutes. Boston is tied with New York City for the second-worst city when commuting by car, with an average commute time of 40 minutes each way, and it is the fourth-worst city for commuting via mass transit, with an average one-way commute of 49 minutes. Source: Curbed Boston
For many of Boston’s office workers, the reluctance to return to the office isn’t about health and safety, or diminishing desire to work, it simply comes down to the commute.
Solving the Boston Commute
The solution for some Boston businesses has been to seek out commercial office space close to transit hubs, but it’s still not enough for employees who want the flexibility to work from home. The caveat, however, is that “home” may not be a home office, as much as it’s an office that’s close to home. Employees still want the separation between home and work. They need adequate space, reliable internet, and fewer distractions, but they don’t want to drive 40 minutes to get it.
The result is that more and more businesses are paying for employees to work from suburban co-working spaces. And, in the long-term, many are considering relocating their offices to the suburbs when their lease expires or, at the very least, setting up satellite offices outside the city limits.
Advantages of an Office Outside Boston
Offices outside Boston’s city limits are not only appealing for the shorter commute times, but for the other perks they offer employees. Proximity to everyday conveniences, such as daycare, grocery stores, gyms and doctor’s appointments is a high-ranking factor, as is the availability of ample employee parking.
For business owners, an office in the suburbs offers a lower cost per square foot than in Boston proper. And, given the current labor climate, it’s also likely to be easier to acquire and maintain good talent. Office parks, in particular, provide businesses with opportunities for networking, collaborating and new potential clients and customers. They also offer much needed scalability and flexibility in these especially volatile times.
Leasing Office Space Outside Boston
Despite the work force’s seemingly overwhelming desire to work from home, the office building isn’t going anywhere, nor are corporate offices in cities like Boston and Manhattan. Co-working spaces and office parks in the suburbs are merely a supplement to big city offices. A hybrid work environment will likely be the new normal, with a mix of days at corporate headquarters and at home or a satellite office or co-working space in the suburbs.