Integrating flexible workspace an emerging priority in mitigating against pandemic realities
Amidst the pandemic’s varied impact across all industries, businesses are prioritizing workspace strategy as they advance ahead. Recognizing flexibility as an asset, businesses are focused on building an agile real estate portfolio to support evolving workforce needs. Helping Thai businesses navigate the realities of the pandemic, WeWork’s expertise has helped many enterprises future-proof their business in a time when the only constant is change.
During this period, enterprises turned to WeWork to partner their workspace needs. This saw a 46% growth in enterprise members at WeWork in Thailand in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 2020, and today enterprises comprise more than 50% of WeWork Thailand’s membership.
Workspace trends during the pandemic
While some businesses pivoted to a work from home strategy early during the pandemic, essential services such as financial and healthcare could not and needed a physical presence for business operations and continuity. The need for professional distancing and the inflexibility of traditional office leases, saw businesses turn to WeWork for its flexibility, its ability to provide additional space for de-densification to support a distributed workforce, its ability to support 24/7 working and to support companies’ need for business continuity.
As the pandemic continued, savvier companies prioritized more flexibility and options to align with the economic changes and support their evolving workforce. As the economic impact of the pandemic became evident and companies looked towards 2021 and beyond, WeWork saw two major trends emerge:
Growth: sectors such as education and pharmaceutical experienced strong demand accelerated by COVID-19 and scaled their operations which in turn saw additional space needs. Globish Academia, a Bangkok-based online English language platform, managed hyper growth during COVID-19 in 2020. A rapidly increased headcount meant the need to scale up quickly and they added a half floor space at WeWork Spring Tower to support their needs.
Recalibration: Some sectors were greatly impacted and their focus was on consolidating and scaling down their teams and space needs. WeWork’s flexibility meant it could support those needs while giving them confidence they could expand again with WeWork in the future.
Future proofing and the evolvement of workspace needs
A year into the pandemic and it’s clear that work from home is not a sustainable solution. Employees are seeking to connect, collaborate and innovate, and this will grow in importance as companies face a rapidly changing business environment.
WeWork sees that companies are placing more emphasis on cash flow management and flexibility. The need for a commitment light, smart real estate portfolio is at the core of companies’ operational efficiency goals.
“In line with Thailand’s growth potential, companies need to drive business sustainability beyond the pandemic. The current economic landscape provides opportunities for organizations to drive greater emphasis on being more dynamic with their workspace strategy. Partnering with WeWork will help businesses streamline their management of cost, operational efficiencies and employee experience to cater for an evolving workforce,” shared Elizabeth Laws Fuller, Head of Growth for WeWork Southeast Asia.
Flexibility of time and flexibility of space will determine a company’s future workspace strategy. Companies are more aware of the need for flexibility, safety and wellbeing for their teams and are looking at new workspace models to support this. WeWork is seeing businesses change their office footprints and looking at a hybrid workplace strategy. Single location fixed office spaces with dedicated desks no longer work: savvier companies know they need to support a future that demands more flexibility in where, when and how they work. A hub-and-spoke model, with a collaborative HQ, distributed offices and the option for team members to work from home and have flexible access to spaces citywide is increasingly becoming preferred for enterprises.
To address these changes, WeWork is leading the way with two new product offerings this year.
WeWork All Access: Already rolled out, this allows a member to access any of WorkWork’s locations around the world with advanced booking and reservation. WeWork’s scale gives members the option to choose a convenient location for work. In Thailand, WeWork’s four spaces are strategically located in Grade A buildings that ensure ease of access from different neighborhoods and core CBD locations.
WeWork On Demand: To be rolled out in Q1 2021, this offers non-members the option to book workspace or conference rooms at WeWork by the hour or day.
As we look towards advancing beyond adversaries, Southeast Asia is set to lead the way. The region is expected to rebound with 6.2% GDP growth in 2021, higher than the global average of 4.2%, and international businesses are looking to the region. Locally, WeWork’s competitive edge from its expertise, flexibility, inventory and design is testament to its value proposition even as the real estate industry evolves. Together with strong membership growth in Thailand, WeWork’s focus on its member-first approach will continue enabling them as the leading space-as-a-service provider in the country.