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Signs of post-Covid demand for smaller localised office space

There’s been a 19 per cent increase in demand for smaller flexible workspaces, driven by distributed working and employee demand to work closer to home, according to figures from IWG, operator of Regus.

From its current 320 centres in the UK, IWG is planning to grow to over 2,000 sites through a combination of franchise and company openings to meet increased demand now and into the future. Franchised IWG centres in suburbs and secondary cities are already experiencing high growth. Suburban London and Cambridgeshire centres reported 20-30 per cent growth throughout the pandemic and new franchised spaces in the Midlands opened with an additional 30 per cent demand above what was expected.

The pandemic crisis has accelerated the trend to hybrid working, which before the crisis was already set to pump at least £12 billion into local economies over the next 10 years, according to IWG’s Suburban Economic Survey. This means the race is on to get into flexible office franchising, according to Julian Chambers, Head of Franchise at IWG:

“What we are seeing is increased demand from businesses who have learned from the last ten months. They want to keep the benefits of flexible working because they know that it will maximise staff productivity and reduce their overheads. This demand to work in a new way is defined by a combination of working locations. For many businesses this still means a central city office, but it is also a space to work from home, along with flexible workspaces that are somewhere in between the two.

“Unlike gyms, hotels and many food franchises, flexible workspaces were able to stay open to customers during the pandemic, and there is huge unmet demand for new centres in suburbs and secondary cities around the country, with no other nationwide brands in competition. The shift to hybrid working is driving a solid growth in our sales from office workers who want to continue working closer to home in smaller towns and cities, so now is a great time to explore flexible office space within a diversified franchise portfolio.”

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