IWG says demand for flexible working spaces climbs amid pandemic


INTERNATIONAL Workspace Group (IWG) said the pandemic pushed the adoption of the “future of work” early in the Philippines after it received more inquiries for flexible working spaces amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

IWG is a global operator of co-working and workspace brands with over three million members in its network across 3,500 locations in 120 countries.

On Thursday, the operator signed a memorandum of agreement that allows the establishment of two more centers in the country via a franchise deal with professional facilities management company VelcoAsia Management Corp.

“The interest in investing and [becoming] part of IWG and our network has actually been more progressive during COVID even than before COVID,” said Lars Wittig, Philippine country manager for IWG, in an online briefing.

“We all knew the trends in commercial real estate, it’s about the very rapid increase in demand for flexible workspace instead of the conventional leases,” he added.

In a report, IWG found that 81% of the companies across the world expect that hybrid work will be the new normal, while 82% have “taken advantage” of flexible working options.

“While businesses are still coping with the impact of the pandemic, we are confident that the rise of flexible workspaces will enable them to thrive in the recovering economy,” VelcoAsia Vice-President for Special Projects Mario Veloso said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

The two-center franchise deal with VelcoAsia includes the development of Manila Coworking Powered by IWG, which will be located in the Port Area of Manila.

“Powered by IWG” is a new concept, which would allow management companies to run businesses with the help of the global operator’s brand, marketing, and sales activities. It also allows management firms to use IWG’s global sales channel and to “drive operational and cost efficiencies.”

IWG said it is committed to expanding in the Philippines, growing from 25 to 43 locations. It currently “enables” flexible working in 11 major cities across the country, including areas in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Pampanga. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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