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Future-proofing commercial real estate with IWG's hybrid work solutions

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore12/27/2021 08:00 AM GMT+08  • 6 min read
Future-proofing commercial real estate with IWG's hybrid work solutions
Future-proofing commercial real estate with IWG’s hybrid work solutions
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The world of work is rapidly evolving to accommodate a hybrid working set-up. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses around the world are realising that there is no specific one-size-fits-all approach to workspaces, with their employees ultimately wanting the freedom and flexibility to choose how and where they work.

Periods of lockdown ultimately proved remote working to be a success for employers and employees alike, and with the majority now wanting the best of both worlds, the hybrid work model that combines working from a company HQ, home and a local flexible workspace is booming.

What was an evolution towards hybrid working has been turbo-charged by Covid-19, according to IWG Founder and CEO Mark Dixon: “The pandemic has certainly had a dramatic and permanent effect,” he explains, “but it’s merely accelerated a trend that’s been underway for several years.”

After long periods of forced remote working, businesses are now awake to the advantages of a hybrid approach for people, profits and the planet. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of hybrid working is the improved work-life balance it offers employees who spend less time, money and energy commuting. This reduction in commuting is also good for the planet, significantly reducing firms’ collective carbon footprint and helping them work towards their sustainability goals. And finally, hybrid working can also translate to improved employee productivity while also offering significant savings on office footprints, thereby providing a further boost to the bottom line.

As businesses of all kinds and sizes embrace hybrid working, there is a significant opportunity for investors and landlords to capitalise on this long-term trend.

“IWG is actively speaking to all types of property owners who are looking to diversify their portfolio, as well as hotel owners, transport and mall operators who are eager to capitalise on the growing trend of workers wanting to work from anywhere,” says Kristin Thorsteins, Heads of Partnerships for Southeast Asia, IWG.

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“Right now, we see a huge number of opportunities in front of us. Demand for flexible workspace in Southeast Asia and Singapore in particular is growing at a very fast pace as the global economy rebounds and investor confidence rise,” adds Thorsteins, noting that demand is reaching a record high in Southeast Asia. It’s one of the fastest growing sectors – and as the adoption of hybrid continues to accelerate – it’s no surprise that it’s become the leading option for franchise investment, eclipsing other traditional industries such as coffee shops and gyms.

In response to the hybrid work revolution, companies are embracing a fundamentally new approach. They are downsizing their headquarters and embracing a hub-and-spoke model providing employees with access to multiple locations. As a result, property owners are seeing reduced occupancy from traditional occupiers and need to turn to new models such as flexible space to fill their buildings. There is therefore a big opportunity for landlords to capitalise on the growing demand for hybrid work solutions and look to diversify their portfolio as a means to de-risk their business.

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As the largest flexible workspace provider in the world, IWG’s coverage is unrivalled with near to 3,500 locations in over 120 markets worldwide.

As the largest flexible workspace provider in the world, boasting a network of locations more than four times larger than its nearest competitor, IWG is the ideal solution for landlords’ real estate needs. With over 30 years of experience in the flexspace industry, a proven track record and strong return on investment (ROI), IWG’s coverage is unrivalled with near to 3,500 locations in over 120 markets worldwide.

In Singapore, IWG has a total of 25 locations across its various brands – Regus, Spaces, Signature and No18. IWG recently signed a deal in June to add PLUS Building at 20 Cecil Street, which is in the heart of the Central Business District (CBD), to its portfolio under the Regus brand. This new space will span 22,000 sq ft across two floors.

Apart from its locations in the CBD area, IWG notes that decentralised locations are also growing in popularity as employees are empowered to work closer to their homes under the hybrid model, where all they need is a quiet, professional workspace with reliable Wi-Fi and other office amenities, such as a printer or meeting room. IWG already has flexible workspaces in decentralised locations such as Paya Lebar, Tampines and Jurong, and plans to continue growing its footprint in these places as part of its long-term goal of bringing workspaces closer to people’s homes.

“Landlords are looking for ways to safeguard revenue after a substantial period of uncertainty,” says Dixon. “They need to monetise their vacant space and diversify their portfolios to ensure they can adapt to their tenants' future needs, as well as to what enterprises are asking for today. IWG is the best partner for landlords, as we already have the experience and an expanding network of spaces that show we know how to create the spaces today's office occupiers are seeking.”

In addition to partnering with landlords, IWG is proactively seeking to expand its network via franchise partnerships. Thanks to IWG’s proven business model and leading global brands, investors can transform the untapped potential of a high-growth market into exceptional cash returns.

The rapid adoption of hybrid working, which is being embraced by businesses of all sizes from start-ups to the Fortune 500, is increasing the demand for the group’s services and improving performance in all major markets. This seismic change in how businesses and employees plan their work is, what the group believes, significant, irreversible and transformational for its business. In fact, the group saw a 350% increase in new locations committed by franchise partners in 1H2021 compared to 1H2020.

Most recently, IWG signed its largest master franchise deal with Ratanakorn Asset in Thailand to open 40 centres, on top of 26 existing locations in Bangkok, with the overall aim to open a centre in every regional city in the country. “IWG is the world’s largest coworking community, with multiple brands, and we joined it because we strongly believe in the flexspace business,” said Jugkarut Ruangratanakorn, CEO of Ratanakorn Asset. “People are becoming more mobilised – you can work from anywhere. IWG therefore provides the perfect solution, allowing you to use your membership in centres around the world, even for just 10 minutes if needed. You can work any place, anytime, anywhere and anyhow,” he adds.

Flexible workspace is the fastest-growing sector of the global workplace market. Find out more about partnering with IWG as a property owner or franchisee.

Photo: IWG

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