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Flexible working franchise in South Africa provides a leading edge for investors

IWG Plc, operator of Regus and Spaces and the world's largest flexible workspace provider, has seen a 19% increase in sales of smaller flexible workspaces, driven by distributed working and employee demand to work closer to home.

The pandemic crisis has accelerated the trend to hybrid working, which before the crisis was already set to pump at least £12bn into local economies over the next 10 years, according to IWG’s Suburban Economic Survey. This means the race is on to get into flexible office franchising, according to Alan van der Westhuizen, head of partnership growth at IWG South Africa.

Alan van der Westhuizen, head of partnership growth at IWG South Africa
“What we are seeing is increased demand from businesses who have learned from the last 10 months. They want to keep the benefits of flexible working because they know that it will maximise staff productivity and reduce their overheads. This demand to work in a new way is defined by a combination of working locations. For many businesses, this still means a central city office but it is also a space to work from home, along with flexible workspaces that are somewhere in between the two.

“This is good news for franchise professionals looking to strengthen their business portfolio. Unlike gyms, hotels and many food franchises, flexible workspaces were able to stay open to customers during the pandemic, and there is huge unmet demand for new centres in suburbs and secondary cities around the country, with no other nationwide brands in competition. The shift to hybrid working is driving a solid growth in our sales from office workers who want to continue working closer to home in smaller towns and cities, so now is a great time to explore flexible office space within a diversified franchise portfolio,” he adds.

The IWG franchise model presents an opportunity to diversify away from traditional franchise industries, and benefit from strong cash returns and significant returns on investment. Landlords, multi-franchise operators, REITs and high net-worth individuals can enter this exciting industry in partnership with Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace and part of IWG.

Although a flexible office space franchise model will require more investment outlay than your local fast food franchise, Van der Westhuizen, suggests: “We are the number one workspace and co-working provider in the world and the next phase of IWG’s growth strategy will be driven through franchising. You are buying into a highly efficient, cash-generative franchise business model with impressive ROI, as well as lead generation by a global salesforce of 2,500 people.”

Regus has been running successful workspaces in South Africa for almost 20 years (30 years worldwide). It is present in almost 3,500 locations, 120 countries and 1,100 towns and cities and now wants to accelerate its global growth with franchise partners worldwide.

So, how can franchisees work with us to ensure that they are doing everything they can to reap the rewards of the workspace revolution? Successful franchising means developing flexible workspace options that provide customers with choice, while maintaining quality and consistency – allowing customers to have the same experience no matter where they are globally.

The perfect franchise partners are multi-unit business owners with the skills and financial capability to develop their locations across South Africa. Franchisees have the choice to invest in a single location franchise or multi-unit franchise to secure exclusivity within a territory.

Van der Westhuizen says: “Regus understands the market and we understand our customers’ needs. We have developed our business model through many economic cycles. Our operating model is proven, demonstrably successful and can provide our partners with a highly attractive return. Early adopters will have first pick of the growth opportunities.”

For more info, go to

About IWG

IWG is the global operator of leading workspace providers. Our companies help more than 2.5 million people and their businesses to work more productively. We do so by providing a choice of professional, inspiring and collaborative workspaces, communities and services.

Digitalisation and new technologies are transforming the world of work. People want the personal productivity benefits of living and working how and where they want. Businesses want the financial and strategic benefits. Our customers are start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, and large multinationals, with unique business goals, people and aspirations. They want workspaces and communities to match their needs. They want choice.

Through our companies we provide that choice, and serve the whole world of work: Regus, Spaces, Signature and HQ. We create personal, financial and strategic value for businesses of every size. From some of the most exciting companies and well-known organisations on the planet, to individuals and the next generation of industry leaders. All of them harness the power of flexible working to increase their productivity, efficiency, agility and market proximity.
The new world of work is here.

For more information please visit:


Read more: Regus, Spaces, IWG plc
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