As demand for hybrid working accelerates, Regus is offering flexible workspaces in Africa

Hybrid work provides the flexibility for employees to work in ways that are most effective for them. Picture: Supplied.

Hybrid work provides the flexibility for employees to work in ways that are most effective for them. Picture: Supplied.

Published Mar 17, 2023


Since the pandemic, companies have seen first-hand how effective the hybrid working model is proving to be and that they can thrive under it. This new world of work, driven by rapid technological advances, has led to employees enjoying a better work-life balance and companies seeing lower costs.

“Firms operate more efficiently with a more productive workforce, while employees are happier as they see hybrid working as the equivalent of a 7% to 8% pay rise”, says Professor Nicholas Bloom, an economics Professor from Stanford who studied remote and hybrid work arrangements for years before the pandemic.

Similarly, research from IWG, the holding company of Regus, shows 72% of office workers would prefer the long-term ability to work flexibly over going back to the office with a 10% pay rise.

Today's daily commute is entirely unnecessary because the office is no longer a physical place people must go to. Instead, it is a digital space where data saved in the cloud is accessible at any time, from anywhere.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Africa stands to benefit in a big way from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“We have already seen significant technological investment in its major cities, including increased access to mobile broadband and fibre-optic cable connections to households. This, combined with the rapid spread of low-cost smartphones and tablets, has enabled millions of Africans to connect for the first time. And as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, Africa is poised to develop new working patterns,” says WEF.

In the same way that mobile phones have allowed some regions to bypass landline development and personal computers altogether, Africa may be uniquely positioned to jump straight past the adopted working model in other countries to a more liberated future of remote and hybrid working.

In South Africa alone, IWG saw a growth of 15% in 2022 and another 15% in 2023 to date, making that a 30% growth year on year. The total location commitment for 2022 in Africa was 38 locations, with positive expansion expected in 2023. IWG operates under the Regus, Spaces and HQ brands in over 21 African countries, where flexible workspace is proving to be a valued alternative for multinationals, landlords, SMEs and start-ups.

The multi-brand flexible workspace company, with over 3,500 locations in 1,200 towns and cities in over 123 countries worldwide, is the one true pioneer of the serviced office business model. Since inventing the concept nearly 35 years ago, the Regus brand has dominated the global workspace market. Now, as that market grows at an unprecedented rate following the Covid-19 pandemic and the mass transition to the in-demand hybrid work model, the brand is set to grow alongside it. The company’s ultimate goal is to surpass 10,000 locations, with the aim of adding 1,000 locations each year.

Landlords, too, are weighing up the benefits of turning vacant offices into flexible workspaces in prime locations. JLL, the property researcher, says co-working space in retail properties is predicted to grow at an annualised rate of 25% over the next few years. Flexible office space in retail locations will reach 3.4 million square feet by 2023, and nearly 55% of retail co-working spaces are located in suburban areas.

Some of the managed partnerships added in the last year include Regus Pretoria Central – a vibrant business hub in downtown Pretoria, where modern high-rise buildings stand alongside colonial-era architecture – and in Cape Town, Spaces V&A Waterfront occupies an impressive renovated dockside building, complete with breathtaking views of the iconic Table Mountain.

In the suburbs, Regus Durban Country Club is set in one of the region’s most picturesque golfing venues, enabling members to combine work and leisure with ease, while in the Johannesburg suburb of Northriding, a new HQ flexible workspace at Northlands Corner is helping to meet demand from locals seeking a high-quality, professional place to work close to home. Two new centres are set to open in Durban CBD and Durban North.

“Originally, the partnership started with a unit franchise agreement bringing Regus to the Durban Country Club; this centre opened late last year. A perfect example of a partner growing with us and scaling to multiple locations – building relationships and trust with these portfolio partners will be critical as we scale our global network”, says Joanne Bushell, MD, IWG South Africa

Also added to the portfolio last year was the first partnership in Middelburg, an additional centre in Moffet on Maine, Walmer, Port Elizabeth, a new centre in Witbank, Promenade Mall in Mbombela, Nelspruit and a further 2 in Pretoria, Moreleta Park and Faerieglen. Furthermore, IWG celebrated the 10th joint flexible working centre in partnership with Redefine in Centurion. Up in Africa, two new centres will open in Accra, Ghana, and the second managed partnership centre will open in Algeria, Skikda, in 2023

As we emerge from years of unprecedented change and growth, it's clear that work as we know it has been forever transformed. Remote work has proven to be overwhelmingly successful; however, there are numerous benefits provided by offices and other locations that simply can't be replicated in the home environment. Now it's up to companies to pave the way by providing suitable spaces, tools, and resources to help employees be successful. There's no question that a hybrid approach will be the way forward for the vast majority of companies—it offers the flexibility and freedom that workers want and benefits businesses too.

A new way of working in Africa

Africa has a substantially growing entrepreneur number, and online platform work is on the rise, which sees the launch of innovative start-ups that solve real-world problems and create jobs. Big hub offices and long commutes step aside to a new way to harness talent from across the continent – a virtual workforce with companies that integrate virtual freelance workers. In many ways, hybrid working is the perfect fit for a continent with a geographically diverse, work-ready population and a solid mobile communications network, which needs more infrastructure to support urban working patterns.

The rapidly growing demand for a hybrid work model will continue to grow this year as employees realise its benefits.

Discover how Regus’ hybrid work solutions can support you and your business at