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WeWork ramps up hybrid workspace offerings

WEWORK, a co-working space provider, is ramping up its hybrid workspace offerings, especially as disruptions in the supply chain push companies to seek more flexible headquarter-building strategies. 

WeWork said its four locations in Metro Manila have seen a 68% increase in occupancy year on year and generated a 76% growth in annual revenue, making the Philippines its highest performing market in Southeast Asia.

“The evolution of the workspace in a post-pandemic world now comes in a very distributed model. Companies are starting to decrease their corporate HQs (headquarters) and turn to a decentralized strategy,” Balder Tol, WeWork’s general manager for Australia and Southeast Asia, said in an Oct. 13 media briefing.

Due to elevated inflation and disruptions in the supply chain, companies are now driven by the need to lower construction costs and avoid delays in their buildout timeline, he added.

Asia-Pacific is a particularly strong market due to a higher expectation of employees coming into the office compared to the West. 

“It could take 18 to 24 months to select an office, design it, build it, and then actually start operations. Two years in today’s environment is a very long time,” Mr. Tol said.

Majority of new members that join WeWork move in within eight weeks from inquiry, and usually take an average commitment of 20 months.

“There is that longer term commitment, but also the option to move in at the click of a button with low costs,” Mr. Tol said.

Asked if they will add more locations in the Philippines aside from the two each in Makati and Bonifacio Global City, Mr. Tol said for now they are focusing on improving their offerings to cater to various workspace preferences.

WeWork’s buildings and floor layouts, for instance, are now adopting a modular design aimed at clients who want their office spaces customized to include more collaborative spaces, as well as multipurpose spaces for flexible work set-ups.

“It allows enterprises at a very low cost to customize a full floor plan to their unique preferences, including desks, meeting rooms, and collaboration spaces. They can easily ask our design team to, say, swap those desks for collaborative furniture,” he said.

In addition to their standard office suite offerings, WeWork will also be rolling out an on-demand service on its app, where members can book and pay for individual desks. It is currently live in Singapore and will be launched in the rest of Southeast Asia by early next year.

Meanwhile, WeWork’s All Access pass, a monthly subscription giving access to 800 workspace locations around the world, is expected to continue growing due to the increased cross-border mobility of the workforce globally, the company said. — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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