SERVICED office company Regus Philippines said local economies outside Metro Manila benefit greatly from having business centers or co-working centers in terms of economic value generated and additional employment.

Citing a study it commissioned, Regus said: “If one business center (or co-working centre) would be built in a suburban city/town, its annual value of economic output at a national level would be expected to amount to P186.46 million. The proportion of this total expected to benefit the local economy hosting the centre is P78.70 million per annum,” Regus said in an e-mail to BusinessWorld on Tuesday.

It added that by 2029, the “annual value produced by businesses accommodated in local business centers and their employees would be expected to be worth P66.867 billion per annum (in terms of 2019 prices), of which P27.135 billion would be retained by local economies.”

The Regus study, which analyzed the socio-economic impact of flexible work spaces in 19 countries including the Philippines, also said that by 2029, there could be a total of over 74,000 people working at co-working centers across the country, “providing net additional employment opportunities for local residents amounting to over 31,600 jobs.”

Regus, which is part of the International Workplace Group, has a global network of over 3,300 centers in more than 1,100 cities and 110 countries.

IWG, which established its presence in the Philippines in 1998, currently has 28 facilities under the Regus and Spaces brands nationwide. Most are located in Metro Manila, while others are in Davao, Cebu and Clark.

“This rise in local working is being largely driven by big companies adopting flexible working policies; moving away from relying on a single, central headquarters and increasingly basing employees outside of the major metropolitan hubs in flex spaces. Most are doing so to improve employee well-being by allowing their people to work closer to home, and also to save money and boost productivity,” Regus said in a statement.

“An individual flexible workspace or co-working center in a suburban location can benefit the local economy in numerous ways, from creating jobs both inside and outside the center, stimulating businesses and services in the nearby area, improving productivity and opening new working opportunities for those who live locally,” it added.

Lars Wittig — Country Manager Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea — was quoted as saying: “What this study shows is that providing more opportunities for people to work closer to home can have a tremendous effect, not just on them, but on their local area too.”

“We already have hundreds of centers in these types of locations, some of which have populations as little as ten thousand people and we plan to open many more as this trend continues. Our vision is that, in the near future, there will be a professional workspace available on every corner,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin