Europe-PH News

Flexi co-working space firm expands PH operation

May 30, 2023

ECCP Online

Europe-PH News

IWG plc, formerly Regus, the world’s leading flexible co-working space provider, is expanding to seven new locations in the Philippines bringing its presence to 29 by end of the year as demand has returned to the pre-pandemic level.

Lars Wittig, IWG plc country manager and senior vice-president ASEAN, told the press that its occupancy rate already averaged 85 percent making its local operations one of the top five in 120 countries they operate in.

Wittig said they are opening in seven new locations and these projects are in varying stages of implementation. Its brand Regus has already opened in Iloilo and is finalizing its first center in Cagayan de Oro. It is also bidding its first center in Subic. Contractors are also working on two centers in Metro Manila, one in Quezon City and in Las Pinas. It has already presence in Clark, Cebu, Davao and in various areas in Metro Manila.

“By end of the year we will have 29 from the current 23,” he said citing strong demand for flexible co-working space with almost 2,000 incoming inquiries a month for IWG alone from occupiers. He said the interests vary, not just European firms. Witting is also president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Demand for co-working space mostly come from business process outsourcing  (BPO), creative industries, finance, new industries, and embassies, he added.

“Philippines is doing very well, we’ve already reached our target. The Philippines was awarded as one of the most significant markets globally,” he said referring to the recent IWG event in Dubai where the Philippines was recognized in the top five among 120 countries where IWG operates in.
The strong growth, he said, is driven by more companies doing hybrid work as part of their rightsizing strategy.  On one hand, he said, this trend is bad for those offering conventional office space.

“Everything is back to a higher level than the pre-pandemic because inflation had also hit us of course, demand is also higher than before,” he added

During the pandemic, he said, their occupancy rate dropped by 25 percent as companies left the country and cannot fulfill their contracts.

In terms of rents, he said, the rates are higher than the pre-pandemic level because of inflation and higher demand.

Another big trend that has changed due to Covid is that companies are looking more on having a flexible workplace as a permanent solution.

After the Covid-19 pandemic, Wittig noted this has become a trend because companies want to ensure agility in their operations and workers. “This kind of agility is what they are pursuing. You can say that flexibility has become permanent,” he said.

The Philippines is also very much following this global trend, he said citing projections by property management consultancy firms that a minimum of 30 percent of all commercial office spaces will be transformed into flexible co-working space by 2030 or seven years from now.

This means, he said, that as companies are implement right-sizing they prefer to operate in co-working spaces. This trend also entices other buildings to reinvent.

“The way to reinvent is to bring in the element of flexible workspace,” he said.

In the Philippines, its busiest centers  with the highest occupancy are Makati and BGC.

“That means if I bring in new customers, the likelihood of them staying with me is much higher. The potential rate has increased dramatically,” he said.
“They enjoy having the short-term commitment, but with the intent of renewing
and expanding or downsizing, more likely than not they will be expanding

Globally, the IWG group operates 500 co-working spaces and member clients will have access in all of their locations, including the Philippines where they have been operating for the past 25 years. Clients have 24/7 access and members can avail of the business lounge and business club.


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