Cowork office

How co-working spaces could reinvigorate the UK’s lost towns and villages

Co-working spaces are popping up at an impressive pace around the world, offering people a space to get their work done away from the distractions of home but without the need to commute to the office. The internet has made remote working a reality for thousands of people, with a number of billion dollar companies preferring the idea of finding the best workers wherever they are in the world without worries about physical location.

These spaces are great for entrepreneurs looking to build future unicorns, but are also increasingly used by employees at larger firms where their bosses trust them to get the work done and be available on-time regardless of where they are. Where once bosses saw remote/home workers as slackers, group communication tools like Slack and cloud-based attendance management and scheduling tools have proved that the best employees can and should be trusted to work from wherever they like. Happy workers are the best workers and everyone is happiest when they don’t have to commute two hours each way to work!

Much has been made of the rise of these co-working spaces and new “millennial” ways of working, but what most commentators fail to recognise is the impact such a shift in worker locations is starting to have on the high streets of smaller towns and cities around the world.

For the last century people across the UK have been moving from the countryside into the cities to find work. Ten years ago this trend appeared to be unstoppable, with small villages and towns increasingly filled with older people and decaying prospects whilst the younger generations swelled the cities, especially London, and caused house prices to soar. As remote working becomes more standard, however, people are starting to realise that maybe living in smaller towns and villages offers a better standard of living for the price, with cheaper houses and more space to raise children.

As young people and families move to the countryside they will bring with them the spending power that could reinvigorate Britain’s ailing high streets, which could once again see significant foot traffic – enough to relaunch cafes, shops, restaurants and more, which will generate significant jobs and income for the local communities.

Britain has been looking for a way to bring life back to its towns and villages since the closure of industries in the 1970s, and perhaps co-working spaces could be the way to start that ball rolling.

This post was written in partnership with Nakturnal.

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