It's been a bumper year for IWG, which has seen 315 new properties in 52 cities across the company's nine brands. What a way to end the decade
From Europe, North America and Latin America to Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, IWG has seen plenty of growth throughout 2019. New acquisitions and a fast-growing franchise sector are two of the key reasons for this and, as the year draws to a close, the company looks back at some of the highlights over the past 12 months.
While much of the company's expansion has been focused on firmly established global cities like New York and London, it has also seen growth in Toronto, Miami and Amsterdam. IWG has also focused on expanding into more developing markets such as Guyana, Belarus, Djibouti and Algeria, all of which have opened Regus Centres this year.
(According to a report by consultancy firm The Instant Group, the global demand for flexible workspace grew by a staggering 19% by the close of 2018 and was the leading trend in the worldwide commercial property market.)
SPACES, IWG’s dynamic, creative brand, has shown the most growth in the past 12 months, especially in North America. Florida has welcomed a flood of start-up companies and entrepreneurs moving into the area, which has fuelled expansion in Miami with properties like SPACES Miami Central and SPACES Wynwood Cube (the latter opened in the Arts District in September). Over on the West Coast, SPACES opened a further San Diego property in the trendy Makers Quarter in November, as well as new offices in Santa Clara, San Jose and SPACES Playa District in LA's Silicon Beach tech hub.
SPACES has expanded throughout Europe too, where the move towards flexible workplaces has continued to pick up speed, largely driven by a shift in corporate culture; the rise of the gig economy; and the move away from big companies signing long leases. Upon opening this year, SPACES La Défense became the largest business centre in continental Europe and had full occupancy within three months. In 2019, Milan opened four SPACES-branded properties, including SPACES San Babila, which opened up on the fringes of the city's fashion quarter and boasts a rooftop terrace with direct views of the Duomo. This is in addition to two new Regus properties this year, namely Milano Due and Milan Bisceglie.
Regus, the leading global workspace provider, opened 35 new properties in the Netherlands alone, including branches in Arnhem, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Delft, plus a SPACES property in Amsterdam's Westerpark. The Regus brand is growing throughout Africa too, with the launch of two new properties in Lagos and Nairobi, to cater for the surge in demand for coworking space in both cities. Signature by Regus, IWG’s premium brand, has also grown this year with six new flexible workspaces opening in some of the world's most exclusive addresses, including Palazzo Marignoli in Rome, the Watermark in Hamburg and Level 43 of Asia Square Tower 1 in Singapore.
Finally, the major focus for 2019 has been the rollout of the global franchise programme. It has seen impressive growth in recent months, with new franchises in Australia, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the UK – and continues to grow rapidly as a central component of IWG’s ambitious expansion plan. The company also acquired five new franchise team members in the Asia-Pacific region in order to accelerate centre development throughout Asia.
If there’s one thing we can take from these openings this year, it's that the trend for flexible working shows no sign of slowing down. Flexible working has been proven to have numerous benefits for both businesses and their employees, from increased productivity and reduced office costs to a better work/life balance. As for 2020, stay tuned to see what happens in your city, suburb or even village – the evidence suggests that flexible working is an employment trend that’s very much here to stay.
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