global franchise newsletter sign up graphic

Stay in the know and receive the latest international franchising news, insight and investment opportunities

close catfish

Flexible workspaces: A brave new world for forward-thinking franchisees

Flexible workspaces: A brave new world for forward-thinking franchisees

With the traditional office fading into obscurity, this emerging sector is more enticing than ever.

Keep up to date with the latest Global Franchise News sent straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

Words by Kieran McLoone, deputy editor for Global Franchise

Alongside the holistic disruption to how consumer-facing businesses operate, one of the biggest changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the business world is an almost total shift to remote working.

More than ever before, employees and employers alike are seeing the benefits of a flexible arrangement, and the traditional fixed office space has never been less appealing; both from a financial perspective, but also in terms of how people now live their lives, with more free time as a result of drastically reduced commutes.

As such, the world of flexible workspace franchising has emerged as a very bankable investment. It’s a sector that’s already been on the rise, and between 2010 and 2020, the number of flexible centers in the U.S. almost tripled.

It’s estimated by organizations like Instant Offices that 35 per cent of all offices will be flexible by 2023, and by 2027, the global industry could be valued at around $111.68bn, according to Zion Market Research.

Put simply: this is a ground-floor opportunity if there ever was one.

The future is flexible

To fully understand why the future of this industry is a bright one, it’s important to first consider why so many franchisees have already entered the market.

“The simple answer is that it’s just a better way of doing something that’s already existed,” says Matthew Szafaryn, director of franchise development for Venture X, a U.S.-based flexible workspace franchisor. “Office spaces have always existed with these long-term leases, but anybody right now can see the growth in this industry and the need for it. It’s also a very simple and easy business to run. You only need a few employees, so entrepreneurs, hotel owners, landlords, real estate owners – they can see this as a way to get high returns for their investment and diversify, or take advantage of an industry while it’s still early.”

Flexible workspaces are becoming so ubiquitous that even brands outside of the industry are getting involved. Raddison Hotel Group, for example, recently launched its Hybrid Solutions virtual office spaces and partnered with Zoom to provide video conferencing for meetings and events in lieu of in-person gatherings.

“It’s just a better way of doing something that’s already existed”

Similarly, Hyatt, the international hotel franchisor of more than 950 locations, introduced its Office for a Day program back in December 2020 at more than 400 of its sites. For $65 a day, guests receive a private room with office conveniences, paired with the amenities of a hotel experience.

Landlords of traditional office spaces are also seeing the appeal: “One key trend that I have seen emerging in the last few years and has accelerated through the pandemic are traditional landlords moving into the flex space with their own flexible products,” says James Walton, director at form_ by Hadron, a flexible workspace consultancy. “We see hybrid offices or managed offices that sit between a coworking and leased space as a future trend, as occupiers want to have their own self-contained space but all the benefits – such as flexibility and turnkey solutions – that come with a coworking space.”

Keeping things local

One of the most surprising shifts for flexible workspaces to come out of the pandemic is that the locations that this industry began in – big business hubs like Los Angeles and New York City – are no longer as appealing for new build-outs or conversions. This is a far cry from 2015, when half of all flexible office space in the U.S. was located in just five states: Florida, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Chicago.

“We’re seeing a lot of franchisees who are looking for more suburban-type markets outside of those downtown or CBD areas,” says Szafaryn. “That allows these multinational clients to decentralize their office. You see a lot of people in New York right now who are deciding that they don’t need to go into an office space, which will really hurt the rates in those areas. My guess is that those will be slower markets to regain their growth and opportunity.”

“We’re seeing a lot of franchisees who are looking for more suburban-type markets outside of those downtown or CBD areas”

To combat this, franchises operating in the flexible working space need to really prioritize differentiating their offering from the many emerging competitors. For Venture X, one way to achieve this is a reciprocal membership agreement; similar to what the likes of Anytime Fitness offer, where guests can attend any location in the world with just one membership.

“The more that we grow, the more that our members and franchisees benefit,” explains Szafaryn. “You’ve got smaller companies that might have offices around the world, or multi-national companies that have staff go around the world, and they can use all of our offices. It’s benefitting our owners by allowing them to get that additional revenue, and allowing our owners to bring new members in.”

Other franchises have focused on locating their offices in high-demand locations, which will become more of an appeal once pandemic restrictions begin to subside.

“We are purposely located in a vibrant, downtown area that allows our members to take advantage of the food, beverage, retail, and entertainment businesses that are within walking distance of our space,” says Pam Tanase, co-founder of Workzones, a Santa Barbara-based brand. “Not only is our location desirable for our members, but it also allows us to focus and provide the ‘work’ aspect without having to provide the ‘fun’ factor.”

Workzones also offers on-demand meeting and conference rooms, which have temporarily seen a decreased demand due to less in-person meetings, but usually provide yet another revenue stream for its franchisees.

Still not convinced that flexible workspaces are the next big thing? As Matthew Szafaryn puts it: “Back in the day if you landed at the airport and you didn’t have a ride, you’d call a cab or wave one down. Now, 99 per cent of people are calling Ubers. I’m not saying that 99 per cent of the market will be flexible workspace, but it will be a regular thing that people recognize and use.”

Global Franchise Meets.

An inspirational new web video series where we meet the business leaders and influencers in International Franchising.

you may be interested in

franchise directory

  • TaxAssist Accountants

    Business & Professional Services, Financial Services, <100K, Featured

  • Cafe2U

    Food & Catering, Coffee, Take-away, <100K, Featured

  • 800 Pizza

    Food & Catering, Fastfood, Pizza, Take-away, Featured

view more
Connect with Linkedin Logo
Global White Logo Click Here
Close button


Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order. Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.


We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.


Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.


We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.


We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.


This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.


Please also visit our Terms and Conditions section establishing the use, disclaimers, and limitations of liability governing the use of our website at


By using our site, you consent to our online privacy policy.


If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page


If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below. All correspondence relating to the Website should be sent to: Global Franchise 21/23 Phoenix Court Hawkins Road Colchester Essex CO2 8JY Email: