How is the growth in co-working and flexspace affecting the real-estate market in Canada?
Finding the right place to locate your company not only plays a vital part in its success but can also be one of the biggest capital expenditures you have to make – so it’s not surprising that the property industry surrounding it has become big business. And in today’s marketplace, as the trend for flexspace continues to grow and traditional fixed offices look increasingly out of date, the options for brokers, property directors and managers have become more plentiful than ever.
As flexspace provider IWG launches its franchise programme in Canada, Wayne Berger, CEO for Canada and Latin America, is set to discuss flexible working trends at a number of property-management and real-estate events across the country. “The serviced-office market is one of the most exciting growth markets in the world, and the next frontier for franchise operators,” he says. This trend is having a positive impact for those in charge of property, who profit from the increase in availability of flexible-office space and the many benefits that brings. “Three in 10 buildings on every high street around the world could offer a new franchise opportunity in the coming years,” he says.
Kicking off on 17 October, Berger will be appearing at the Ottawa Real Estate Forum on a panel to discuss ‘The transformation of the downtown Ottawa office market: who is moving in? How are tech tenants impacting the core?’ At the Calgary Real Estate Forum on 6 November, the discussion will focus on ‘The changing nature of work and its implications for the office market: what are the key factors behind these trends? How are the needs of occupiers changing and affecting this property class?’ And at the flagship Real Estate Forum in Toronto on 5 December, the topic will be ‘The changing nature of work, the needs of occupiers and their implications for the office market across Canada: how are these trends affecting this property class?’ All of these topics point towards an industry in flux – in a good way.
According to research by IWG brand Regus, flexible working is set to contribute $369bn to the Canadian economy by 2030. A business by its very nature will always be looking to reduce costs and boost productivity, and adopting the flexible-office model is increasingly seen as a way to help achieve those goals – the same research predicts that “Canada could see a gross value add (GVA) increase of 99.1%”. According to Berger, “Flexible working has become one of the most innovative and influential solutions that has the power to benefit businesses, market economies, and society.” And, like much in business, its success is down to economies of scale: “This has become possible due to the accelerating adoption of flexible working as a standard business practice for millions across the globe,” he says.
Whether it’s a property director looking for a franchise, a property manager searching for office space, or an employee, the flexible-working model comes with clear benefits. On a personal level, helping an employee to cut out the commute by leasing an office closer to home saves time, improves wellbeing and aids productivity – which of course also benefits the bottom line. In short, it works for everyone. As Berger comments, “It is exciting to consider the ways our society could benefit as a result of increased flexible working – especially as the growth projections to 2030 show how critical it will be in the decades to come.”
Thanks to tech, the world of work is changing fast – and the way we work is changing too. Very rarely do employees need to be chained to the desk at a central location anymore, allowing the companies they work for to adopt a more flexible approach when it comes to (formerly) fixed costs like buildings. Berger goes further: “Businesses must seize the opportunity to become part of this workspace revolution and continue bringing flexible workplace to employees across the globe,” he says.