MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – A global workspace provider and local property developer saw an emergence and increase demand for flexible workplaces in Cebu and other big cities in the country that was brought about by the pandemic.
Lars Wittig, International Workplace Group (IWG) country manager for Philippines and other countries in Asia and VP for Sales ASEAN and South Korea said that the pandemic has created sudden global trends where work will be flexible, and this arrived early due to the pandemic.
In a media briefing at the launching Thursday, June 29 of Regus as IWG’s multiple office space portfolio at Park Centrale, Cebu IT Park, IWG and AppleOne Properties, Inc. (API) presented insights on the direction of work post-pandemic in the city given the emergence of flexible workspaces in suburban areas such as Cebu, in light of the “hybrid work” model.
International Workspace Group (IWG) country manager for PH and other countries in Asia and VP for sales ASEAN, South Korea, Lars Wittig (Center) and AppleOne Properties, Inc. (API) chief operating officer Joy Veloso (Right) came together for an exclusive briefing at the Regus Park Centrale, IT Park, Cebu City on “Onwards and Upwards: IWG and API on the New Way of Work in Cebu.”
Wittig bared that many industries and companies have tried this concept of working from home, but vast majority of companies are now into flexible working spaces.
“IWG has just added a million customers to our network amid the pandemic with another million committed. We’re signing big deals with multi-nationals including our biggest in our 31-year history with NTT for 300,000 and Standard Chartered for almost 100,000,” Wittig added.
Joy Veloso, AppleOne Properties, Inc. (API) chief operating officer described the current scenario in Cebu. She pointed out that Cebu has been able to contain the COVID-19 spread and that people are slowly getting back to their normal lives and workers going back to offices.
She added that businesses here are starting to open and ultimately restrictions are less rigid and investment opportunities remain strong.
“What’s happening in Cebu is very exciting, some are still trying to navigate their way, but we have been able to manage the situation. People are now accepting and moving to the new normal of adapting to the hybrid working concept,” Veloso said.
Wittig and Veloso agreed though that the current work-from-home (WFH) trend may not be the ideal long-term solution considering that many businesses rely on the traditional face-to-face model in its operations.
Both said that companies of all sizes had already been moving towards the hybrid way of work even before the COVID outbreak, and the pandemic had just merely hastened its adoption and demand.
These two industry leaders (IWG and API) foresee that the future is a hybrid office with employees spending part of the time at home, part of the time from a local office and part of the time from a central headquarters.
Wittig said that all industries are now planning for a hybrid future as research showed that three times the number of listed businesses is now looking to use a hybrid office model compared to those looking to carry on in the same way as pre-pandemic.
“Cebu is prepared and very much adapting to this new normal concept of hybrid working situation. Human resources versus the limitation of workplaces and commuting which separate them from work. Geography is a form of limitation and suddenly you are not limited in your working situation because the hybrid working concept can give people access to more flexible ways of work and global acquisition of talents,” Wittig said.
According to Veloso that AppleOne is one of those companies that accept and adapt the kind of hybrid, flexible concept of work in the new normal with its commitment to the community to find ways to adapt to the new normal as well as the future.
She said that the formation of Regus here in Cebu is a proactive move of API. Regus is designed for the future and that it did anticipate the need for flexible office spaces.
Wittig pointed out that the new normal is gravitating towards hybrid working and other ways to have both concepts. Plans for the Visayas include the expansion strategy between API and IWG with more Regus locations, opening of other IWG brands like HQ and Spaces in key emerging locations — Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete and Metro Cebu.
IWG and API are leading the Future of Work in Cebu- Ready to Use Space, Coworking, Meeting Rooms, Virtual Office & Flexible Working Plans.