IWG study shows renewed vigor in property portfolios

IWG study shows renewed vigor in property portfolios

By Lars Wittig

A recent survey by IWG, the parent company of workspace solutions companies Regus and Spaces, found that business managers are becoming increasingly focused and aware of realized savings and benefits from their property portfolios.

The study, which surveyed over 18,000 business leaders from around the world, noted that an overwhelming majority – between 90% and 94%, recognized that flexible working helped them grow their business, allowed their businesses to remain competitive, and maximise profits. 

More specifically, a vast majority of respondents said that flexible working helped them in a number of ways including:

•             93% said that flexible workspace enables employees in their company to be more productive while on the move.

•             86% stated that enabling their company’s employees to work from anywhere helped them recruit and retain top talent.

•             88% said an increasing proportion of companies are choosing flexible office space to respond to employee demand for drop-in locations.

•             80% said providing access to a huge network of flexible workspace helps them attract more talent.

Echoing these statistics, there is a case in point with the increase in the flexible and remote working trends in the Philippines as a clear testament to the quiet revolution in the way we work today.

Technology is a key driver in enabling professionals to work where and when they want and how they want it. As a result, businesses are now considering how flexible working can help them grow faster, realise greater business benefits and ultimate mitigate risk through a significant reduction in costs.

This revolution means that businesses, especially in the Philippines are studying how flexible working can help them to grow as a business. As many Philippines based businesses rank international enterprises as their customers, this trend has a particular interest in the country with business owners and managers. As part of that, they are discovering how it can help them manage different types of risk.

Managing financial risk is key area of concern

It is estimated that by 2030, 30 percent of corporate real estate will be flexible. This leads to a drastic reduction in cost for companies. Companies can save significant costs on real estate that they outsource, sometimes as much as 50% or more. Clearly, reducing long leases, capital expenditure and overall costs provides a financial boost that helps reduce financial burden and risk.

Shareholders do not like rental liabilities. Newly-minted and incoming regulations like IFRS 16 will put leased assets onto a business’ balance sheet. This, will be a trigger for more businesses to recognise this advantage and work to realise the broader benefits of flexible workspaces.

Mitigating strategic risk

As business becomes more global and integrated, expanding and moving into new territories is necessary. For Philippines enterprises, this is especially critical as they are supporting customers around the world.

To do this successfully, often demands commitment, but it can be challenging to understand what level of commitment is required. To realise the opportunity, the business owner may have to sign a somewhat prohibitive termed lease, which when business is not going well may limit the flexibility of the enterprise. 

The conundrum facing many such fledgling expanding Filipino businesses would be be: do you want to sign a long-lease on an office only to discover that the opportunity does not materialise? And then how do you manage the extra costs of overheads while identifying a fresh opportunity in another market?

A flexible workspace strategy negates this risk. Flexible working is not just provision of flexible solutions to enhance employee productivity but more about the ability of the business to scale up or down on business space requirements as markets inevitably wax and wane.

Talent retention and acquisition

In a connected, extremely competitive world, true, lasting business success is determined and realised through its people – the star talent. It is clear that the expectations and demands of employees are changing and indeed, that the demands of top talent are changing.

According to the survey, 70 per cent of workers would like the option to work elsewhere. And by that – they don’t mean working from home one day a week. They mean the chance to work on the move, explore new offices, and fit their work commitments around their life commitments. If you can deliver that, your appeal as an employer will rocket.

A flexible workspace strategy offers talent a package that they know will enable them to be their most productive, without compromising their work life balance unnecessarily.

It also helps a business to retain that talent – at all levels of the company. That is a key factor in ensuring that ambitious, global businesses keep one of their most important differentiators – their people.

Finally, flexible workspace strategies can give business owners and managers the peace of mind that there is a plan for the unforeseen events that can disrupt business continuityand long term success.

The workspace revolution that has overtaken us all in the Philippines is changing ur perceptions of how we view work, office life and the value the balance between work and leisure.

Now there are very real strategic and financial benefits that are critical to growing for business of all sizes. Central to that is how it will help them to mitigate against threats and seize opportunities. That’s why the smartest business managers are paying closer attention to their property portfolios.

LARS WITTIG is the Country Head, Philippines-Vietnam-Cambodia, Regus & SPACES by IWG He has been awarded Asia CEO Expatriate Executive of the Year 2014; Silver in 2018 and Gold in 2017 for Highest Mature Revenue Growth by IWG; and Best Performer and CEO Asia-Pacific 2013 by IWG. As director on the board of the European Chamber of Commerce Philippines, he is active in various fora and NGOs and regularly cited in business newspapers, trade magazines, and other media.

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