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BEYOND20


live, helping to rebalance the economy by pro- viding more opportunities for local communi- ties and service businesses. As a result, during the past two years in the UK alone, IWG has opened almost all its new centres in non-city centre environments; today, we are seeing enquiries and demand for suburban locations across our brands, including Regus and Spaces, increase exponentially around the world.


Win-win This is delivering spectacular benefits foremploy- eesandemployers alike. Teammembersgain bet- ter mental healthandreduced costs through not having to travel into city centres, along with greater career opportunities closer to home. And it gives companies the flexibility to


invest in their staff and in growing the business, insteadofthebuildingsfromwhichtheyoperate. In our experience, businesses that opt for a fully equipped workspace, with everything from fur- niture to super-fast Wi-Fi provided, often see an immediate halving of property costs, releasing capital to invest in generating stakeholder value. Having a base in local communities where


people actually live also enables themto recruit better people, attracted by flexible working. These are some of the reasons why, at IWG,


we are aiming to expand our network, mostly by franchise, to provide a flexible workspace in every village, town and city. This is not to say that there’s no role for the


prestigious head office. This is still important in terms of corporate identity, learning and cohe- sion. It provides somewhere for people to congre- gate when needed, giving them a focus for the emotional, almost ‘tribal’, link between an employer and its workforce. This can be a price- less cultural asset for a business, enabling people to imbibe the shared company spirit that sets themapart from other organisations.


COMMENT


THE OFFICE ISNOLONGER ADEFINED PHYSICAL PLACE, BUT RATHER IT HAS BECOMEDIGITAL


Environmental benefits There is one other very important reason for which the hybrid property model has been gain- ingsomuchsupport in recentyears,andthat is to dowith theESG(environment, socialandgovern- ance) agenda. Companies of all sizes see address- ingthe need for their people tocommute towork as the single greatest contribution they canmake to reducing their carbon footprint. They under- stand that by bringing work into the home, and into the heart ofcommunities, they willimmedi- ately and significantly reduce the weight of traf- ficonroads and in cities across theworld. The trends I have described here are irrevers-


ible and accelerating fast. I believe that over the next three to five years, we will see more and morecompaniesmake the propertychoices that somany ofour clients havemade duringthe last few years and 2020 in particular. Technology will continue to clear the pathto change. The future of work is already with us. And it’s only going to improve.■


Mark Dixon is the founder and CEO of real estate group IWG. IWG has announced investment projects worth $2.1bn since 2003.


Source: fDi Markets December 2020/January 2021 www.fDiIntelligence.com 33


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