Customer meetings and emails could be salvaged with a pint of milk and a carton of eggs under a new deal between Tesco and flexible office operator IWG.
From the end of the month, the owner of office operator Regus is to trial a 3,800 square foot flexible workspace in Tesco’s New Malden supermarket, with room for 12 private offices, 30 coworking spaces and a meeting room.
The tie-up emerges as supermarkets look for new ways to fill space in stores where they once sold electrical appliances, music or films now largely purchased digitally. It is believed Tesco will open up a more flexible supply space if the idea proves popular.
Louise Goodland, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Tesco, said: “We are delighted to be working with IWG to offer customers the option of working more flexibly from their local Tesco. We are always looking to better serve our customers and our communities and we will be interested to see how they react to this new opportunity. »
The office venture, called Spaces, will join other Tesco partners including sports equipment seller Decathlon, Pets at Home, parcel lockers InPost, health food stores Holland & Barrett and companies like Timpson and Vision Express, which sprung up to fill available space in supermarkets. .
The deal also reflects a boom in flexible workspaces spurred by months of pandemic restrictions that have forced companies to feel more comfortable allowing employees to work from home or elsewhere.
Installations are popping up on local shopping streets and in redundant spaces in malls, movie theaters and airports, as many businesses permanently reduce their permanent office space and allow workers to log in from a more convenient location.
Electrical retailer Currys, for example, recently announced a deal under which more than 1,000 employees at its head office can use more than 50 sites run by rival office specialist WeWork in the UK.
According to property consultancy JLL, up to 30% of the UK office market could be flex space by 2030, up from well under 10% today.
A study by IWG found that 72% of workers would rather be able to work flexibly than return to the office five days a week.
Mark Dixon, Founder and Managing Director of IWG, said, “People don’t want to spend hours commuting every day and instead want to live and work in their local communities. A suburban Tesco Extra in the middle of a vibrant local community is the perfect location for flexible office space.
“The new locations in suburban areas will transform communities and are a response to the growing demand we are seeing from customers wanting to live and work locally.”
IWG, which operates around 300 offices in the UK, is set to open neighborhood workspaces in Twickenham, Sutton and the new Battersea Power Station, all in London this year. Upscale rival Fora, which has 14 sites, is planning six more and plans to merge with The Office Group, which operates from 44 buildings and has six more under construction.