In the aftermath of Covid-19, businesses are committing to hybrid working for the long-term – with flexible workspaces now a core part of corporate strategies around the world.
The Covid-19 pandemic has frequently been described as a ‘world-changing’ event – and as countries lift their lockdown restrictions and vaccination programmes allow ‘normal’ life to resume, it’s clear that the moniker is a fitting one.
The long-term effects of the crisis are still taking shape, with individuals, communities and businesses beginning to work out what life will look like in its aftermath. However, it’s increasingly clear that one of the pandemic’s lasting legacies will be a permanent shift away from full-time office working to a hybrid model.
Businesses as diverse as Google, Microsoft and Barclays Bank have committed to allowing their employees more autonomy over where, when and how they work, with the hub-and-spoke approach a popular way to lock in the benefits of remote working that became evident during long periods spent at home.
Among these are improvements in work-life balance for employees, boosts to employers’ bottom lines through reduced spending on office space and the bolstering of environmental goals thanks to significantly reduced commutes. More business leaders than ever are recognising the advantages of the hybrid model - empowering workers to base themselves at or near home for some of the time, augmenting this remote work with occasional visits to the corporate HQ. In turn, this is inspiring executives to rethink real-estate strategy.
In light of global economic uncertainty, it makes sense for firms to partner with flexible workspace providers that can offer scalable, agile solutions to their office needs. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that IWG is celebrating a strong first half of 2021.
In the first six months of this year, it has welcomed a million new users to its locations, seen rising global demand, opened new centres in destinations around the world and witnessed a surge in the popularity of its flexible workspaces in the USA.
Strengthening a global network
With more than 30 years’ experience at the forefront of the industry and more than 3,500 locations worldwide, IWG is uniquely placed to meet the growing need for flexspace.
Global demand for flexible workspaces increased by 15% in June 2021, according to IWG data – and new centre openings in locations including Jakarta and London are part of the growth strategy that will meet this need.
In Jakarta, Signature South Quarter has opened in the Simatupang area of the city. Just a 30-minute drive from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and close to the bases of many prominent oil firms, it boasts 2,167sqm of flexible workspace, including coworking desks, dedicated offices and meeting rooms. It’s also co-located with luxury residences, retail outlets and other business premises.
Meanwhile, Jakarta’s latest Regus – due to open in Autumn 2021 – will be set within the city’s new 36-storey JB Tower, just a short walk from the capital’s National Monument and the National Museum of Indonesia.
In London, Spaces Kensington Village is the first IWG location to open in this stylish corner of the city. Built in the 1880s, Kensington Village was a former warehouse unit for west London department store Whiteley’s and today features a leafy green leisure area, a café and a gym. Within easy reach of transport links, as well as the shops and restaurants of Kensington High Street, Spaces in Avon House offers 24/7 access, shower facilities, private offices and coworking space.
Elsewhere, IWG is celebrating new relationships with franchise partners in Egypt, India and Brazil, underlining canny investors’ strong interest in flexible workspace as we enter this new world of hybrid work.
Record demand in the USA
Meanwhile, the USA flexspace market appears healthier than ever in the wake of Covid-19. IWG has seen demand soar by 43% in comparison with June 2019, and new centres are opening across the country at a rapid pace.
In New York, Spaces Park Avenue South is located in Manhattan’s Midtown South – easily accessible from Grand Central and the 6 subway, and close to a plethora of upscale hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. Spread across the eighth, ninth and tenth floors of an imposing building, the location boasts an impressive 5,853sqm of light-filled coworking and office space.
Over in Midtown West, Regus 14 Penn Plaza offers 100 furnished offices. Set within a beautiful Art Deco building, it’s located near Penn Station, Madison Square Garden and Bryant Park.
Finally, Chicago’s Spaces The Adlake Building is a smart business hub located at 320 West Ohio, once home to the Adams & Westlake railroad lantern factory. It’s perfectly positioned for all major road, bus, train and ferry links and set within an iconic timbered loft building. Featuring a stripped back industrial lobby, high exposed ceilings and brushed steel elevators, this Spaces location offers best-in-class amenities.
High hopes for the hybrid future
“June was a record month for global demand,” says Mark Dixon, Founder and CEO of IWG. “Our network is scaling as organisations of all sizes progressively move to a hybrid way of working: at home, a local office and occasionally a corporate HQ.”
Ultimately, he argues, the changes in working culture that have been hastened by Covid-19 are “irreversible and accelerating fast. I believe that over the next three to five years, we will see more and more companies make the property choices that so many of our clients have already made.”
Dixon concludes: “The future of work is already with us – and it’s only going to improve.”