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Work Near Home – Is This British Start-Up The Airbnb for Flexible Working?

Work Near Home – Is This British Start-Up The Airbnb for Flexible Working?
29 June 2021

A British tech start-up has launched a new app where employees and companies can find flexible office spaces nearer to where they live in more than 350 locations.

Narau, founded by entrepreneur Daniel Murray, is set to satisfy the new demand to "WNH" – Work Near Home.

Flexible workspace offices and even hotels with spaces suitable for co-working can be uploaded to the Narau app, creating much-needed revenue for the hospitality sector and the local economy.

Employees or firms download the app, choose where they’d like to work near home and they’re only charged if they use the space. 


"Working From Home may have helped people reconnect with their families and partners and bring an end to the daily commute into big cities. But for some, it was very hard, sharing a crowded house with everyone trying to log on to the Wi-Fi."

–Daniel Murray

Founder, Narau


Working From Home or Working Near Home?


Working near home is a third way of working – a middle ground between working from home or going back to the office so companies can offer a hub and spoke model.

According to a Survation survey of 2,000 UK office workers, up to half (42 per cent) would like to work near home in a serviced office or co-working space as well as working in their main office.

20 per cent predicted their company would retain their current office but allow employees to work near home in flexible workspaces closer to where they live.

The survey also found 53 per cent of UK office workers plan to work in the office and remotely, typically three days in the office and two remotely.


Shrinking Emissions 


Another study by the 4 Day Week campaign from Platform London found that moving to a four-day week by 2025 would shrink the UK’s emissions by 127m tonnes, a reduction of more than 20 per cent and equivalent to taking the country’s entire private car fleet off the road. 

Using local office spaces can also slash costs for London based firms. An average office space in the capital costs £1,000 per employee per month. The average cost of using workspaces through Narau is just £200 a month per employee.


Morgan Sindall Amongst Narau's Clients


Companies already using Narau to help their employees work near home include influencer marketing agency Fanbytes and leading UK construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall.

Working near home also has the support of the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak who backed people working more from serviced offices in their local neighbourhood on days when they do not want to work from home but also do not want a long commute.


Daniel Murray

Picture: a photograph of Daniel Murray


Narau’s Founder Daniel Murray said he’s been inundated with enquiries from firms looking to work more flexibly to enable their employees to work near home.

Murray said: “The pandemic has vastly accelerated change in the way we work. Businesses recognise people can work remotely and realise they don’t need the office space they’ve always had. Hybrid working is here to stay, and the survey shows almost half of office workers would consider working near home.

“Narau is like an Airbnb for workspaces. It helps employers and their employees find a desk in an office near to them wherever they like. It also offers businesses significant savings on premises costs, utility charges and administrative expenses. It’s simple to use. You just download the Narau app and then search, book and work.

“The biggest change since the pandemic is the shift in perception that you need a physical presence in your main office to perform your job effectively. Some companies are now much more efficient by saving commuting time and improving performance without requiring people to be in the main office five days a week.

“Through Narau this is what we are trying to do. Help clients improve productivity by providing their employees with the ability to decide how and where they work.

“We know that employees miss the social aspect of the office. Those watercooler moments and the interaction with other people. Working From Home may have helped people reconnect with their families and partners and bring an end to the daily commute into big cities. But for some, it was very hard, sharing a crowded house with everyone trying to log on to the Wi-Fi."

Picture: a photograph of a person holding up a smartphone, showing a screenshot of the Narau app

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 29 June 2021


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