As companies move away from old-fashioned, sprawling office spaces and gravitate towards flexible workspaces this creates new opportunities for franchise operators and commercial landlords.
The global pandemic has proven a crucible for companies the world over, testing both their resilience and agility. By necessity, they have adapted to new ways of working that reduce inefficiencies such as long daily commutes, expensive offices at prestigious addresses, and large amounts of space with unoccupied desks. Having adapted their operations to think outside the box, it makes little sense to go back to that box in the post-pandemic landscape.
Of course, that isn’t to say a physical HQ should be eschewed altogether. But as businesses adapt their operations to the new normal, a better method has arisen.
The hybrid model and its opportunities
Hybrid working allows employees to divide their working hours between a local flexible office space, the company’s headquarters, and working from home. A prospect that is highly desirable to employees – 85% of whom want to work in a hybrid manner from now on rather than returning to the office full time, according to the UK’s Office of National Statistics.
Furthermore, our own research demonstrates that three times as many FTSE 250 companies are looking to use a hybrid office model, compared to those who want to return to their pre-pandemic methodologies.
It also creates an opportunity for a more streamlined, sustainable and bespoke approach to corporate real estate – one that makes much better business sense than simply doing what’s been done before.
Essentially, it’s about redistributing company office space away from a single, centralised headquarters and making use of flexible workspace closer to where their employees actually live.
Unlike traditional office leases – where fixed, lengthy terms are common – flexible workspace gives companies the freedom to increase or decrease their workspace portfolio as required as they adapt to the needs of their employees for optimal productivity and satisfaction.
Needless to say, this creates enormous opportunity for both franchise operators and landlords with commercial workspace available. Whether you have a single floor, a single building or multiple properties within your portfolio, there are opportunities to set up flexible contracts with multiple corporate clients who are looking for meeting rooms, shared workspaces, break-out areas, virtual offices and other working facilities.
Likewise, franchise operators are presented with an exciting new growth industry that offers stability and sustainable growth, given the surge in demand for hybrid solutions among companies of all shapes and sizes.
Sustainability and stability in an uncertain landscape
Corporate clients, franchise operators and commercial landlords have complimentary needs in these economically turbulent times, and this can enhance the surge towards hybrid working and create new opportunities for enterprising investors.
As clients strive to find ways to operate more sustainably, providers of hybrid office solutions are perfectly placed to support this. For a start, they can have a strong impact on commuting culture.
Research from IWG and professional services consultancy Arup found that a typical worker in the UK needs to commute for 58 minutes to reach a city-centre HQ (in the US it’s 55 minutes). By removing the need for the entire team to commute every single day through hybrid working, a business drastically cuts down the collective carbon footprint of its employees.
Furthermore, by only using the amount of workspace it actually needs, a company avoids wasting light, heating, water and other resources, which translates into significant cost savings, too.
Hybrid solutions can help to facilitate real savings and ensure economic stability for corporate clients. But this relationship is reciprocal. In an uncertain economic landscape, workplace hybridisation provides opportunities for stable and sustainable growth. As companies flock towards hybrid solutions, sales of IWG on-demand membership have increased by 93% year-on-year, with projected growth of 10% per year and upwards of 20% ROI.
Bringing more value to the workplace, in every sense
Hybrid solutions aren’t just about making money. They’re also about improving and enriching the employee experience. As companies strive to find more ways to reduce burnout among their teams and improve people’s mental health, hybrid working is a compelling option.
It empowers team members to work from home when they need to, or access modern high-quality flexible workspace in their neighbourhood when they want more social interaction or a better boundary between work and home.
As flexible office space continues to open up in new locations outside of city centres, businesses can offer employees an attractive workspace within their local shopping centre, their high street or moments from their favourite social spots, supporting a better work-life balance than a daily commute to a city centre.
Commercial landlords and franchise operators have an opportunity to play a crucial role in the transition to a new, better way of working.
“In the near future, we believe that there will be a professional workspace available everywhere – from the largest city to the smallest village,” says IWG Founder and CEO Mark Dixon.
“This transformation will unlock unprecedented value for workers, businesses and local economies, while providing an important contribution to improving the environment. With people working locally, local amenities and retail outlets will receive a boost and new jobs will be created to service a national network of workspaces.”
As the world’s largest provider of flexible workspaces, IWG is looking for franchise partners
in towns, cities & suburbs across the country to capitalise on this surge in demand. Find out how to become a franchise partner today.
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