Article updated in August 2020.
As the world of work evolves, companies need tailor-made workspace solutions to help them manage their distributed workforces.
Many businesses are now juggling a more complex worker landscape that includes full-time office workers, occasional office workers and home workers meaning that choice and flexibility over their workspace solution is more important than ever before.
Corporate real estate has also shifted from being a space-based to a service-based sector. Today, we need workspace to deliver so much more than somewhere for employees to sit from 9 to 6 each day. It needs to work harder. Businesses want a workspace where they’re in control, that fits their business’ unique needs. New trends in the workspace sector mean that many businesses are having to rethink the traditional single ‘HQ’ as they now need to cater for their employees working closer to home. This is whilst also ensuring they still have a solution that can foster collaboration, interaction, employee productivity and social cohesion in their workforce.
These changes in the world of work have added a whole new dimension to the role of Corporate Real Estate (CRE) professionals, who are also contending with unpredictable market conditions that can cause their company’s workspace needs to change rapidly.
“The real-estate industry has gone through such a disruptive change over the past decade,” says Fatima Koning, Chief Sales Officer for IWG. “The CRE’s function has evolved to encompass more than the physical space – it now governs across multiple areas: cost management, risk mitigation, employee wellbeing and work-life balance, talent attraction and retention, business continuity and productivity, and much more. It’s also becoming increasingly complex for our clients to deal with opposing challenges – for example, the static nature of real-estate leases versus business volatility.”
In light of this new raft of challenges for CRE professionals, workspace solutions need to be multifaceted and agile – going beyond pure bricks and mortar to offer the services that companies need to support their changing needs and evolving workforces. “As our clients’ needs are becoming more complex and bespoke, so are our solutions,” says Koning. “At IWG Group, we have adapted our product, services and solutions to meet these and offer our clients a more purpose driven solution. We call this our Enterprise Programme: offering our clients integrated solutions across their global portfolio to boost business performance and employee productivity. Limitless choice is key, we recognise every business is unique and it’s important the solution we offer is dictated by the client’s needs. All of our office solutions also include the opportunity to ‘Design Your Office as well, to ensure we’re providing workspaces that are unique and just right for their business”.
As the world’s leading provider of flexible office space (flexspace), IWG’s decades of experience of operating in different markets means it has seen first-hand how a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to office space. Increasingly, CRE professionals are recognising how flexible office space – rather than conventional office space – creates a unique opportunity to be far more strategic about the workspace that companies lease, resulting in a much more tailormade portfolio. “Clients are not only coming to us for property solutions but are also exploring new ways of leveraging our network to collaborate more with other companies,” says Koning. “The flexible office market is growing at a rate of 35%, fuelled by corporates migrating up to 20% of their portfolio to flexspace,” she adds. “We now see a strong shift towards their larger core assets such as regional offices, global HQs and campuses. Co-creation of space and living side-by-side in the same building are examples of how committed we are to creating bespoke solutions.”
As well as the shorter-lease lengths and the option to upscale or downsize that other flexspace providers offer, being a multi-brand company with a global reach means IWG can offer another layer of personalisation to a company’s workspace portfolio. Plus every space can be customised and personalised to suit every business. “With more than 3,500 flexspace locations globally – we’re opening a new centre every day – as well as having brand diversity (Regus, Signature, HQ, Spaces and No18) across all major markets, we can offer a solution to every need, everywhere,” says Koning.
“This can range from a single membership to co-working space, private office, customised office or fully outsourced managed office solution - catering for all types of workers, whether they’re full- time office workers or simply workers who want to work closer to home. We also have solutions to monetise a vacancy or take over underperforming assets.” Other services from IWG brands – such as Regus’s Virtual Office product – make it easier for companies to set up shop in new markets, illustrating how a CRE’s decisions can directly influence a business’s growth.
As CRE professionals find themselves navigating new territory, it’s vital to work with trusted flexspace providers who are in it for the long haul, with the expertise to truly deliver ROI. “It’s no longer about getting the cheapest deal today, but the smartest deal for tomorrow,” says Koning. “We have long surpassed the old stigma of providing isolated one-off transactions and moving on to the next deal. It’s all about tailored solutions and building partnerships that are sustainable and durable over time.”
Is it time to make the move to flexspace? We can help.