Mobile Workers Transform Modern Workplaces

4YFN Los Angeles sponsors Spaces may represent the most modern trend in workplace culture, but it comes with more than 30 years of industry know-how when it comes to office culture. Spaces is the latest brand offering of the International World Place Group (IWG), the holding company most famed for its ownership of Regus. Together they are revolutionising the office environment through a deep understanding of traditional real estate market and a fresh perspective on changing working habits.

The move from traditional office set up to flexible workspaces isn’t a marketing ploy cooked up by creatives and shareholders but a response to the age of technology that has given rise to armies of freelancers and mobile workers, as well as companies looking for a more nimble existence.

Michael Berretta, VP of Network Development at IWG, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about how the power dynamic between employers and employees is shifting and how that is affecting working patterns in cities around the world.

  • What is Spaces and how does it fit into the world of offices for hire?

IWG, International Workplace Group, is a holding company for a portfolio of flexible workspace brands including Regus, Spaces, Signature by Regus, HQ and No18. We have drawn upon our 30-year heritage in flexible workspace to create a world-leading commercial real estate platform that offers an unrivalled level of choice for businesses of all sizes and budgets. We believe that business success is underpinned by the effectiveness and happiness of its people. So, we made it our mission to help millions of people have a great day at work – every day.

With more than 3,300 locations in over 110 countries and 1,000 cities worldwide, we have the world’s largest network of flexible workspaces and a full suite of business support services to enable people to focus on their core business and enjoy a great day at work.

  • Spaces is big in LA. What’s the big advantage in Tinseltown?

IWG has been operating in the Greater LA area for decades under our Regus brand, and we’ve expanded more recently with the rapid growth of our Spaces brand. LA is a unique part of the country because of its density. That coupled with a massively diverse business community has given us a great opportunity to continue to grow our network in the market.

Additionally, since we have such a robust network, some companies use brands like Spaces as a secondary branch office to test out a new market before signing a longer-term lease. The brand’s multiple locations in LA can offer shortened commute times for workers, making it a desirable option to combat heavy traffic.

  • Technology is changing the world rapidly. What opportunities is it creating in your sector?

A lot of the recent relevance for not only IWG but the co-working industry as a whole, stems from the rise of the mobile worker. With the continued rise of remote, digital employees, businesses need to have the flexibility to provide workspace options closer to where their employees live–which often times are suburban areas outside of larger metros. We have a large footprint in these suburban areas and are seeing growth.

  • What technologies and cutting-edge fields of research are you really excited about?

Identifying the latest trends in the future of work is something that IWG is very excited about and an area that the company has invested a lot of resources and research into over the last few years. According to our most recent study, the number of people working remotely has been growing steadily for the last decade. It’s estimated that remote workers now make up around 50% of the total US workforce, and as much as 70% of the global workforce now works remotely at least once per week. The way people are working is shifting dramatically and something that folks in the co-working industry are looking to take advantage of in the future.

  • What’s new at IWG?

Earlier this summer, we announced the launch of our new U.S. franchise program for Regus.

Regus created the flexible workspace concept and has been the industry’s global leader since its inception 30 years ago. The brand’s keen understanding of the market has enabled the brand to evolve its business model through many economic cycles. The proven and scalable operating model can provide franchisees with a highly attractive return on their investment with an unprecedented opportunity in the industry.

IWG is continuing to grow YoY thanks in large part to our Regus brand, as well as our newer Spaces offering which is experiencing high growth specifically in North America.

  • What is your big bet on technology 4 years from now?

Something that IWG has seen over the last few years and a trend that is expected to continue, is this shift in power from employer to employee. What employees are looking for now, versus even five years ago, has shifted. With this influx of flexible workers (as previously described), technology is making it easy for employees and freelancers to work remotely without any digression in productivity. Larger multinationals will continue to divert from setting up one central HQ and will have to opt for setting up mini-hubs across the globe to meet the needs of their employees. This is where we’ll continue to grow.