IWG’s latest offering for companies with mobile teams takes flexible working to a new level. Here’s why we’re doing it
Flexible working is not a fixed concept. In order to move with the times, flexible workspace (flexspace) providers need to understand how the needs of customers are changing. They need to evolve accordingly and offer an ever more flexible way of working – which is how and why IWG’s Enterprise Plan was born.
James Allan, Head of Product for Enterprise Plan at IWG, describes how the initiative adds another dimension to flexible working: “It takes flexspace to the extreme. This is about enabling individuals to work wherever they need to, whenever they want.”
In a nutshell, Enterprise Plan makes IWG’s 3,500 flexspace locations available on a drop-in basis and is primarily aimed at companies with mobile teams. It also makes the process of booking and paying for this as simple as possible. “Enterprise Plan harnesses the power of IWG’s entire network of locations – specifically our short-stay, or ‘drop-in’, workspaces – all through a single account,” says Allan. “So customers and their teams can access our entire network of locations and book meeting rooms, day offices, coworking spaces and business lounges by the hour or the day – all through the app. It’s truly ‘on demand’.”
Why did IWG decide it was time to launch Enterprise Plan? Allan says there were two key drivers for creating this kind of package for corporates. “The first one is the changing needs of Corporate Real Estate (CRE) professionals and the evolving trends of the industry,” he says. “Increasingly we’re seeing this move from fixed workspace with traditional long-term leases to flexspace, with shorter leases and the freedom to scale as and when required. In addition to benefiting the bottom line, businesses are moving to flexspace because of the benefits of flexible working. With this overarching trend, many customers are looking to rationalise their corporate real-estate portfolio with a strong focus on minimizing any spare capacity and reducing costs. This is a key benefit of Enterprise Plan because it enables businesses to utilise our ‘drop-in’ workspaces and only pay for the space they actually use, particularly for their more mobile teams who aren’t chained to a desk five days a week when they need somewhere to work when away from their main office. Ultimately, it means businesses can build a workspace strategy tailored entirely to their workforce needs – eg, a smaller number of fixed desks for employees who are based in the office five days a week, combined with access to ‘drop-in’ workspaces for more mobile teams who need somewhere to touchdown and work for a few hours when on the road. With the Enterprise Plan, customers can leverage our entire network of locations, giving these more mobile teams access to workspaces on demand, and ultimately means companies aren’t left with lots of empty, unused desks in an office whilst paying for hefty fixed leases.”
The second driver for creating IWG’s Enterprise Plan is our increasingly globalised world. “Our economies continue to become increasingly interconnected,” says Allan. “Lots of companies need to provide their teams with access to workspaces across multiple locations, whether it be for business travel or because of geographic expansion. The power of Enterprise Plan is that businesses get access to our entire global network with a truly unrivalled coverage no other workspace provider can really compete with.”
The idea is to present flexspace as a solution to the headache and cost inefficiencies that can come with working while on the move. “A lot of the time, business travellers just need a desk to touchdown and work for a few hours in-between meetings, as opposed to an entire office or meeting room for the whole day,” says Allan. “So Enterprise Plan helps businesses to be more cost-effective because they are only paying for the space they actually need. On top of that, it’s more productive than trying to work from a noisy coffee shop and you can be confident that the standard of the workspace will be consistent.”
The tipping point for switching to Enterprise Plan could be when businesses find certain members of their team are travelling far more frequently than they are in the office. How can this be tracked? Another benefit of the is that it gives companies visibility about what their employees’ workspace needs actually are. “They can see how their teams are using IWG’s network – which locations they’re visiting and when, how long they spend there and what type of workspace they’re using,” says Allan. “By providing this monthly reporting, we enable customers to make data-driven decisions about their workspace requirements, ultimately helping them to save costs.”
Another key benefit of the Plan is the flexible payment options it offers – some of which entitle businesses to discounts. Whichever a company chooses, one refreshing aspect is that, rather than asking each employee to individually expense their usage, it’s possible to pay for the entire workforce’s workspace costs in a much more straightforward way.
“When speaking to our customers, one thing that became apparent was that they wanted simple, flexible payment models,” says Allan. “So Enterprise Plan lets the customer wrap their entire team’s spend into one account with IWG. Customers also wanted to pay for space in a variety of different of ways – some wanted to pay in advance to access additional discounts on their spend – if, for example, they were more certain of what their spend or workspace requirements would be, and therefore could commit to a level of spend upfront. On the other hand, certain customers wanted to pay in arrears. So that’s what we’ve done – the customer can choose how they pay for the space they need.”
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