IWG, a global flexible workspace provider and operator of Regus and Spaces, has signed multiple new franchise agreements in the London suburbs to meet growing demand for hybrid work and to give more commuters the chance to work closer to home long-term.
The new deals focus on outer city commuter zones in London, where 15 new centres are now set to open across the North, South and East of the capital. Demand for IWG workspaces in some suburban hotspots such as Ealing and Chiswick surged by as much as 200 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2020. The surge in suburban demand is evidence that almost six in 10 people now want a commute shorter than 30 minutes.
Julian Chambers, Head of Franchise at IWG – UK & Ireland said: “The past year has seen the entire world take on the largest flexible working experiment and now, people want to hold on to the best parts of working close to home. Gone are the days when professionals wouldn’t bat an eyelid at a two-hour commute during rush hour. What we are seeing is a permanent shift to how and where we work.
“The demand for flexible workspaces shows no signs of slowing, not just in London but across the UK. There’s a huge opportunity for franchise investors to tap into this and be a part of the remote working revolution.”
North London gets a flexible working upgrade with WG1
IWG’s most recent partnership is a 10-year deal with WG1 Offices Limited that will bring flexible office space to areas across North London, stretching from Bethnal Green to Camden.
James Wright, Chief Executive Officer of WG1 has an extensive background in commercial property financing and investment and will be heading up this new offering in North London with his business partner and Director of WG1, Jamie Graham who holds a degree in real estate and has a wealth of experience in launching his own businesses in property and e-commerce.
James Wright, CEO of WG1, commented:“With working from home now firmly part of the norm, some believe that the office as we know it is dead but in fact, it’s flexing, and we need to adapt with it. Whilst headquarters will still have their place as a hub for meetings and collaboration, desk-based tasks can be completed much closer to home and in flexible locations. We’re excited to focus on North London in particular as this is where we’re seeing a rise in unmet demand amongst young professionals.”
A partnership with Pluto Workspace in South London
A recent deal with Pluto Workspace focuses on five new centres in the suburbs of South London, stretching from Wandsworth across to Greenwich. This partnership is a first step into franchising for Kashyap Pindoria of Pluto Workspace having spent the last 10 years investing in the commercial and residential property space.
Kashyap Pindoria, Managing Director at Pluto Workspace, commented: “Property investment is a real passion of mine and I’d never considered exploring franchising, until now. The pandemic has completely changed the face of commercial property and already, businesses are re-evaluating their city centre headquarters and are looking at solutions that will offer staff a shorter commute. It’s a trend that isn’t going anywhere and knowing the number of professionals who commute into the city from South London, the demand for workspaces outside of Zone 1 will only continue to grow.”
Cutting the commute for workers in East London with Seedspace
A partnership with Seedspace will see five new flexible workspace centres open across East London suburbs from Canning Town across to Dagenham and up into some of the popular Essex commuter towns. Manjit Singh of Seedspace has extensive experience as a Driver Hire franchisee in North London and will be focusing on bringing flexible workspace to commuter zones in London. In 2017, he took home the prestigious Franchisee of the Year award at the London Asian Business Awards.
Manjit Singh, Managing Director at Seedspace, said: “Unlike industries such as hospitality or travel, the business opportunity around flexible workspace has prospered in the last year as a result of changes to how we live and work. The surge in demand for IWG centres in outer London really does show that demand is there for high-quality office space closer to where people live. I’m excited to share what we have planned for East London and Essex over the next few years.”