Co-working Spaces, A New Opportunity in Franchising

Co-working spaces are trending globally as employees call for more flexibility in their working arrangements and companies embrace the remote workplace. The concept of shared office spaces is not a new one, with many small companies opting to pool their resources into a shared office space. However, this trend has evolved into the co-working spaces we know today, unique multi-purpose buildings often located in city hubs and retail precincts.

International Workplace Group reported that by 2030, it is predicted that 30% commercial real estate will be flexible workplaces. This figure is quite realistic, with the co-working market current worth $36 billion and at least 50% of workers doing their job remotely a couple of day a week. A survey of 18,000 business leaders found that an overwhelming 89% believed utilising flexible workspaces helps their business grow.

With flexible workplaces and remote working set to become the new normal, we can expect to see changes in city plans, with a shift away from corporate parks and office districts towards a more integrated approach. A significant appeal of many co-working spaces is their proximity to dining and retail amenities, often located in the heart of the city.

As an industry set to see significant growth in the coming years, co-working spaces present an opportunity for the franchise industry to grow and diversify. Whilst traditionally the franchise model is associated with retail and quick service restaurant brands, getting involved in a flexible workplace franchise is an investment in a new era of corporate operations.

With lower overheads and operating costs than more traditional franchise businesses, co-working spaces present an opportunity for high return. There are a range of options for those looking to invest, ranging from a full service office space, with hot desking, private offices, meeting rooms and communal areas, or simply a desk within a large open plan space.

So whether you are looking to purchase your first franchise, or diversify your existing franchising portfolio the co-working market could be the right investment for you.

Why Companies Should Embrace The Flexible Workplace Trend

The concept of a flexible workplace is not necessarily a new one, but the number of companies choosing to embrace it is. Innovations in technology have made the idea of a flexible workplace more and more attainable, with a bricks and mortar office no longer necessary to bring together a team.

Despite the many obvious benefits of adopting a more flexible workplace culture, many companies are still opting to keep in line with more traditional models. The reason isn’t that they don’t see the upside, but it is that many organisations do not trust their employees to get the job done at home. This feeling of mistrust is reflected by the ⅕ of employees who report feeling that they need to be in the office to be ‘seen’ working by their superiors.

The demographic of employees seeking flexible workplaces are often still viewed as mostly parents with young children, which is simply not the case. There is a diverse group of people, that is quickly growing, that are choosing to look for employers who offering more flexible workplace arrangements, and for a broad range of reasons.

Offering a flexible workplace makes for a more inclusive and considerate company culture, as it caters to people with disabilities or mobility concerns, family commitments and those living in rural areas. Such arrangements allow people to establish a work environment and schedule that meets both their needs and the needs of the company.

In addition to this, operating with flexibility has been known to attract high quality individuals and lifts any geographic restrictions placed upon the company when hiring. As a result companies who embrace this culture often operate with high performing teams, who are more productive as a result of better work-life balance.

If you’re company doesn’t want to go fully remote, but still offer some level of flexibility, the benefits can still be realised. Offering your employees the opportunity to work out of the office or adapt their work hours, whilst still maintaining a physical office space, encourages the same boost in productivity. This can also help lower the overhead costs of running the office, which in the long-term can be invested back into company development.

Looking at the bigger picture, the flexible working trend is doing good things for our society as whole. Remote workers results in less cars in the road, helping reduce the environmental impact of commuters and improve traffic conditions during peak hour. As well as this, flexible working arrangements offer older employees more choices when it comes to their involvement in the workforce. Studies show that older workers would be more open to taking on more hours and staying in the workforce for longer is more flexible options were available.

If getting on board with the flexible workplace trend is something that your company hasn’t considered, maybe they should. As technology progresses faster than we can keep up, the reality of what forms a workplace is quickly changing, and the results mean happier employees and a more productive team.