The demand for co-working spaces could provide franchise opportunities in South Africa. Pexels.com
DURBAN - The demand for flexible workspace across the world has seen record growth in the past few years, with flexible working spaces set to grow up to 30% annually for the next five years, according to global real estate giant Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL).

These statistics could provide new franchising opportunities in the workspace industry.

Traditionally, franchises have been considered the preserve of the consumer lifestyle industries - retailers, restaurants and hotel chains are common options for property decision-makers looking to invest, because of the brand recognition that a lot of businesses in these sectors hold.

IWG, a global operator of workspace providers, said flexible workspaces are now becoming woven into the fabric of our societies, offering flexibility to businesses and their staff whenever and, crucially, wherever they need it. A new trend is emerging that is seeing an increasing number of co-working spaces housed within vibrant retail shopping centres offering opportunities for those who want to work in bustling hubs with many amenities on tap.

“With 50% of all employees in South Africa working remotely most of the time by 2020, it won’t be long before we see business hubs becoming destinations for both serviced offices and retailers.

“With the soaring popularity and growing necessity of flexible working in major hubs across the world and the global mobile workforce set to hit 1.87 billion people by 2022, would-be franchisees would do well to consider the other options available to them, in order to benefit from this huge growth potential,” IWG said.

Findings of a recent survey by the Franchise Association of South Africa found that, despite a challenging year, the franchising sector continues to show resilience and growth with an estimated turnover of R 721 billion, equivalent to 15.7% of the total South African gross domestic product.

IWG said Franchising provides the confidence of an established successful business model so entrepreneurs do not need to start from nothing, or need to be an employee. The operating model is proven, demonstrably successful and opportunities for growth are significant on local, regional and national scales, especially with brands that are globally renowned and therefore benefit from good brand equity.

THE MERCURY