Mark Dixon has seen the flexible workspace industry go through some of the world’s biggest crises: the dot-com bubble, the 9/11 attacks, the Great Recession and more.
However, IWG’s CEO says that the pandemic may mark the point of no return for the work industry.
“I described it to someone recently as a 100-year storm that has affected the office industry as a whole,” said Dixon. “When you compare it to other recessions, it’s everything rolled into one. But we’re going from the worst time for flexible offices to a time that will be the making of the industry, because there has been a sea change in how people are supporting their workers and using their offices.”
Dixon launched IWG, formally called Regus, in Brussels in 1989. It has since become the world’s largest flexible office provider with 2,400 centers across 1,100 cities.
While the pandemic has thrown off the flex space industry’s growth, Dixon believes that the world is ready to admit that there is a need for flexibility in the long term.
For instance, IWG recently signed deals with firms like Standard Chartered to set up hub-and-spoke models, where it will open regional hubs for companies and allow employees access to its locations.
“What became clear in the second half of last year was that lots of companies would stick with hybrid working beyond the crisis,” said Dixon. “Companies are now openly declaring that they are going hybrid.”
He added that he anticipates up to two-thirds of companies adopting some sort of hybrid model for its employees.