Flexible workspace provider IWG, owner of the Regus, Spaces, HQ, Signature and Basepoint brands, plans to open 15 new workspaces on the fringes of London, following the signing of franchise agreements with WG1 Offices Limited, Pluto Workspace and Seedspace.
IWG says it is opening centres in ‘outer city commuter zones’ around London to meet a surge in demand from professionals wanting to work closer to where they live. In a survey by the company, almost 60% of respondents said they wanted a commute of less than 30 minutes.
In the first quarter of 2021, demand for office space in Barking, Hemel Hempstead, Ealing and Chiswick was more than twice as high as in the same period last year.
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 2-hour commute during rush hour. What we are seeing is a permanent shift to how and where we work.”
He added: “The demand for flexible workspaces shows no signs of slowing, not just in London but across the UK.”
James Wright, CEO of WG1 Offices Ltd, which is bringing flexible office space to North London, from Bethnal Green to Camden, said: “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.”
Pluto Workspace is providing five new centres in the suburbs of South London, from Wandsworth to Greenwich, while Seedspace is opening the same number of locations across East London, from Canning Town to Dagenham and other Essex commuter towns.
Partnering with franchise entrepreneurs is the centrepiece of IWG’s strategy to grow tenfold over the next decade.