IWG Plc. Accelerates Global Franchise Rollout as Demand for Hybrid Work Increases
As the demand for hybrid work increases, IWG, the world’s leading provider of flexible workspace including Regus and Spaces, has announced that it has more than tripled the number of new franchised centres around the world in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
The company has signed 20 new franchise partners globally in the first six months of this year that will see more than 110 new centres added to its international network. This compares to seven new deals and 30 centres agreed during H1 2020, showing an acceleration in demand for flex space worldwide in the past 12 months.
The pandemic has had a dramatic impact in accelerating the changes in the way in which we are all working and companies are indicating that hybrid work is here for the long term. This demand has been driven by a desire from employees to live and work locally following an extended period of working from home during the pandemic, where commuting long distances was no longer necessary.
Businesses of all sizes are listening to the needs of their workforce and embracing the shift to hybrid working. In March, IWG signed an agreement with leading Japanese telecoms firm NTT providing global membership access for its 300,000 staff around the world, in addition to financial services giant Standard Chartered for its 95,000 employees.
IWG has added one million new customers to its network already this year, with a further million customers committed in the pipeline.
Recent research has reinforced the growing popularity of flexspace as an investment for franchisees. More than half (56%) of business leaders interested in franchising are now considering becoming a flexible office franchisee or are actively looking to in the next 18 months, topping more traditional franchise industries like coffee shops (49%) and gyms (43%).
Mark Dixon, Founder & CEO of IWG commented: “Multiple studies have shown that businesses of all sizes are planning for a hybrid future. In fact, our own research of the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 has shown that three times the number of listed businesses are looking to use a hybrid office model compared to those looking to carry on in the same way as pre-pandemic. A new centre was added to our network every day last month and with the signing of a growing number of franchise partners, we anticipate a greater number of openings as we move into the second half of the year.”
In the last six months, IWG has formed franchise partnerships in new territories including South Africa, the USA, India and Malaysia.
South African Investors are taking notice and the first Franchise deal has been signed in South Africa between a local KZN entrepreneur, Cassim Khan – an award-winning multi- franchise owner – and IWG in March 2021, to open flex space franchises in KZN.
And many of IWG’s new franchise partners say there’s never been a better time to come on board. With businesses worldwide taking an increasingly flexible approach to where their employees work, partnering with a flexible-office provider as a franchisee looks set to be one of the safer investments to make today.
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Not only does flex space support the way many businesses now operate, but it also offers adaptability in a time of economic uncertainty. For firms finding their feet in turbulent times, it presents a low-commitment, low-risk way to lease offices. Pre-pandemic, experts predicted that 30% of all office space would be of the flexible variety by 2030. Today – and in the future – it could play an even more crucial role.
The benefits of partnering with an operator of more than 30 years’ standing include the opportunity to open a tried-and-tested business model in an unsaturated yet high-demand industry; advice on the best location to open centres; support finding the right buildings; help structuring floor plans to maximise revenue; IT and marketing services; and business development and business performance review support to ensure the franchise partner’s investment is performing at an optimum level of return. In short, IWG’s franchise model presents an accessible, fully supported and easy-to-operate business opportunity.
As a publicly traded company, IWG is a fully transparent one – and that translates to the way it does everyday business, too. The group’s franchise model is one that rewards long-lasting business relationships, and the best way of doing this is to start off with the right partner. That way, there’s every chance of franchise success.