IWG retrospective: highlights from 2021

IWG retrospective: highlights from 2021

Hybrid working has created unprecedented demand for flexspace around the world in the last 12 months.

Although it’s been a challenging year in many respects, IWG has been working harder than ever to support companies in their transition to hybrid working, where employees are empowered to split their working time between a central HQ, home and a local flexspace. 

“The significant move to hybrid working has created unprecedented demand for our flexible work products,” says Mark Dixon, Founder and CEO of IWG. “The fundamental shift in the way people work is clearly a positive tailwind for IWG over the medium to long term. We are seeing increasing levels of interest from enterprises wishing to transform their working practices.”

Here’s a round-up of some of IWG’s highlights from the past 12 months…

1. New centre openings

IWG flexspace brands have seen numerous new centre openings in 2021, all around the world. And with 2022 around the corner, the company is accelerating its expansion even further to meet growing demand for hybrid work, particularly in suburban and rural areas close to where people live.

This supports the concept of the 15-Minute City for quality of living, whereby people have everything they need within 15-minutes of their home without the use of polluting transport, including communal workspace.

New suburban openings this year included…

Regus Townsville opened down under in Northtown, Queensland, Regus Markeover opened in the Netherlands, Stop & Work Le Playground opened in the Parisian suburb of Paris-Saclay and Spaces Kensington Village opened in London’s residential royal borough.

IWG launched its new ‘Retail’ and ‘Open Desks’ concepts... 

The opening of Spaces Napa Valley in California in early 2021 marked the debut of IWG’s retail concept. Blending a “live, work, play” approach, the workspace is surrounded by boutiques and concept stores championing local artisans and designers, as well as restaurants and a boutique hotel. It also marked the launch of IWG’s Open Desk concept, where each desk is sectioned off by a bookcase and wall dividers for added privacy. The concept also debuted in Europe at Amsterdam’s Spaces Westerpark.

And there was a series of brand firsts in 2021... 

Anfa Place is a prestigious mixed-used development in Casablanca. In September, it became home to the first Spaces location in Morocco. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on Casablanca’s Corniche, Anfa Place was designed by award-winning architect Sir Norman Foster.

The iconic Signature brand arrived in Hungary with the opening of Signature Szervita Square, Budapest - a stunning chrome and glass building from globally acclaimed designers Zaha Hadid Architects.

Finally, the first HQ arrived on the African continent. Located in the high-density developing suburb of Northriding, in the greater Johannesburg area, Northriding HQ is an exciting new development for the region.

2. Franchise and joint venture partnerships

Since launching its franchise opportunity globally in 2019, partnering with entrepreneurs has become central to IWG’s strategy to grow tenfold over the next decade to meet soaring demand for flexible workplaces. 

Throughout 2021, IWG signed a series of major franchise partnership agreements around the world, including its biggest one to date - a 40-centre deal in Thailand with leading real estate business Ratanakorn Asset. The firm says it intends to focus on opening regional flexspace hubs in places such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north of the country to Phuket in the south.

Another milestone was the formation of a Joint Venture with Hysan Development in Hong Kong, which has acquired and is now operating 32 existing IWG locations across the Greater Bay Area under the Regus, Spaces and Signature brands with plans to expand further to meet growing demand. 

Moving from South to East Asia, IWG signed two franchise partnerships in India. An agreement with local entrepreneur Gaurav Sharma of Indian real estate firm Jaipurbulls will see eight new Regus centres open across the state of Rajasthan. The second, with real estate leasing and coworking company Conjoinix, will add 18 further centres across Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu, Kashmir and Gujarat. 

3. Breaking new ground across Europe

IWG also launched a number of inaugural franchise partnerships in Europe, further expanding flexspace offerings to new territories across the continent.

In Poland, IWG joined forces with L&L Club to expand throughout southeastern Warsaw and its suburbs, adding five centres under the Regus brand.

In Spain, three floors of the defunct Asturian Bank of Industry and Commerce building in Oviedo will soon reopen as Regus Mendizábal - a 'coworking' space run by IWG’s first franchise partner in Spain, Inaciu Suárez Echevarría.

IWG also made its first franchise partnership in Scotland in 2021, with a commitment to open three centres over three years in Lanarkshire. The locations of these will capture people who would have traditionally commuted five days a week to work in Glasgow or Edinburgh.

And finally, a major 10-centre franchise deal with Romanian partner Transinvest, will kickstart with a new Regus location in the rapidly growing tech hub of Cluj-Napoca.

4. Record-breaking client sign-ups

By the end of Q3 2021, IWG had signed deals with more than 1,100 enterprises. Overall, it has welcomed over two million new users to its global network this year – the largest proportion in the firm’s three-decade history - demonstrating the scale at which hybrid is being adopted.

“Demand for more distributed working has increased our sales in many of the satellite towns and cities,” says Mark Dixon. “We have seen companies across the world begin to shift their operations to where their employees actually live, and during the past two years IWG has opened almost all its new centres in non-city centre environments."

5. New brands joining the IWG portfolio

In February, IWG bought a stake in female focused coworking start-up The Wing, which has clubs in New York and San Francisco, with openings in Boston and Chicago coming soon.

One month later, IWG welcomed the Copernico brand to its network, immediately expanding its presence in Italy to 84 centres. The Italian coworking brand has locations in Milan, Bologna, Turin, Cagliari and Trieste. IWG is also planning to open ten additional flexspaces in the Italian cities of Como, Varese, Parma, Reggio Emilia and Modena.

IWG has been helping businesses and brokers design corporate flexspace solutions for the last 30 years. Find out how we can support you today.