The current state of Flexible Working

A survey of 15,000 professionals in 80 countries by IWG has revealed that a towering majority find flexible working to be “the new normal.”

SA Commercial Prop News

By SA Commercial Prop News

February 28, 2020

A survey of 15,000 professionals in 80 countries by IWG has revealed that a towering majority find flexible working to be “the new normal.”

With the advent of new technologies that enable flexible working, more employees than ever are demanding access to agile working options.

Business leaders have recognised the benefits achieved by early adopters of a flexible workspace policy and are now incorporating it into their overall business strategy. The property sector has a role to play in helping businesses meet this new employment need and support global businesses as they adapt to flexible working.

Growing employee demand for flexible workspaces

Research findings from the survey show that 83% of workers around the world would turn down a job that did not offer flexible working as part of the contract. Over half (54%) of respondents say that being able to choose their work location is more important to them than working for a prestigious company. The survey also shows that almost a third (28%), of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in holiday time.

It’s now a business imperative to offer flexible workspace in order to attract and retain talent. This need is an opportunity for the property sector as a whole – including landlords, developers and brokers – to get involved in the flexible workspace trend.

Embracing the shift in workspace culture change

Not all businesses have made the transition. 60% of respondents feel that changing workplace culture is the main barrier to implementing a flexible workspace policy – particularly within businesses that have a long-standing, non-flexible working approach. Concern around the impact of flexible working on a company’s overall culture also make it a challenge to implement, with 41% of respondents expressing that this was a reality for them. Landlords and workspace providers can support businesses on the fence about this changing culture by providing more information about flexible working and its effects.

Despite the space for growth in flexible workspace adoption, it’s an encouraging sign that more than a third (38%) of global businesses have introduced a flexible workspace policy over the past four years. When we look at the sector historically, flexible workspace operators have been at the forefront of its growth. However, we’ve been seeing an increase in property developers and owners wanting to enter the sector in order to capitalise on this wider business and cultural shift.

How can property and business owners take advantage of this?

In the fight to attract and retain top talent, many businesses have recognised the long-term productivity and employee engagement gains that come from offering a flexible working policy. IWG’s survey findings confirm a gradual trend of organisations responding to the demand for flexible workspaces, and seeing its adoption as an opportunity to attract, diversify and retain a rich pool of talent. While flexible workspace providers like IWG have been at the forefront of helping businesses make this cultural shift, the property sector now has an opportunity to play a role as well.

To learn more about how you can take part in the shift to flexible working, visit

To continue reading this article


About Us

An interior architecture and commercial design firm with broad-based and wide-ranging expertise in creative problem solving, inspired to create beautiful spaces which are user friendly, forward thinking and sustainably focused.

Our Contact Details

First Floor
Swindon House
179 Buitengracht Street
Cape Town
South Africa