Are you ready to be part of the hybrid working revolution? As demand for flexspace continues to rise, savvy franchise partners can start reaping the rewards.
The mass shift to hybrid working is one of the biggest societal changes in history. According to the 2021 The Work Trend Index, 73% of employees want flexible remote work options to stay, and it suits many businesses, too, as it allows them to downsize expensive office space in favour of ‘third place’ coworking hubs.
With working from anywhere (WFA) set to be the defining trend of the next decade, there is huge potential for franchisees to partner with IWG serviced office brands. This summer, demand for IWG flexspace in the US went up about 40% compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Ultimately, the company intends to have workplace locations in almost every country, city, town and transport hub on the planet. With a tried and tested business model, a solid business expansion strategy and minimal risk, it’s a compelling option for franchise partners but here are five tips to help with your decision making…
1. Plan for the long-term
When investing in a franchise, you need to think carefully about what will have longevity. The pandemic – as well as the ‘on-demand economy’ – has caused huge disruption to retail, F&B and fitness chains, in particular, as people shift towards online grocery deliveries, takeaways and home workouts. As IWG Founder and CEO Mark Dixon argues, what was a slow evolution towards hybrid working has been “accelerated” by Covid-19 - so now is the ideal time to enter the market.
2. Pick an experienced partner
Like any relationship, you have to think carefully about the kind of partner you want and make sure they are well vetted. IWG is the world’s number one flexible workspace provider, with a 30 year track record that makes it the sector’s most trusted brand. With food and retail less secure franchise propositions (why open a bricks-and-mortar space when warehouses and dark kitchens can fulfil online orders?), its expertise in the serviced office space is already paying dividends.
3. Make informed decisions
IWG goes out its way to make sure franchise partners are as clued up as possible, by hosting regular webinars that break down its four brands (Regus, Spaces, HQ and Signature) available to investors, while explaining their individual appeal and why each is best suited to particular properties and markets. Online events also welcome existing franchise partners so that prospective ones can hear first-hand about their experience and ask questions. IWG also hosts Discovery Days throughout the year.
4. Research the location
Many people associate coworking and office spaces with city centres but, as people seek to minimise commuting in the wake of the pandemic, the serviced office sector needs to reflect this shift. In the months and years to come, people will be looking for quick and easy access to all essential amenities wherever they live.
Instead, there will be a neighbourhood Spaces or Regus just down the road. For this reason, franchisees will need to dig deeper into where they think their site should be located by studying everything from residential sales trends to hotel openings and new cultural unveilings.
5. Get expert advice
Before signing a legally binding contract, IWG recommends potential franchisees get independent financial and legal advice. The British Franchise Association lists firms that specialise in these matters, and there are similar resources available in other markets, too. Chatting to friends and business acquaintances who use coworking spaces could help to ensure that your plan is watertight, too.