Servcorp, an originator, and innovator in serviced offices, virtual offices, and co-working environments, mentioned that the investment of over USD 16 million in its global product offering will have a direct impact on the co-working market in the GCC and the Middle East.
The investment has already seen Servcorp open new co-working spaces globally, including in Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Jeddah, and London, and the investment is expected to be fully deployed in the launch of new workspaces by June 2018. Servcorp is one of the leaders in its industry in the roll out of co-working facilities in the region, where it sees a clear opportunity for growth.
The USD 16 million investment will allocate funds to develop fully-fledged co-working facilities across 50 of its business’ locations, including in the rapidly growing Middle East markets of Dubai, Riyadh, and Bahrain, where there remains a relative lack of supply for prospective users. The Company has achieved profitability since its establishment in 1978, with this latest major investment in co-working aiming to support continued profitable growth. The rollout programme follows a six-month pilot exercise, during which Servcorp successfully tested the merits of co-working in the premium office market.
Executive Director, Taine Moufarrige, of Servcorp, commented on the investment saying: “Through sustained investment in modernizing our business template, we are positioning ourselves to remain a leading flexible workspace provider in Europe, the Middle East, India and soon, we expect, in Africa (EMEIA). Through investment in co-working, in particular, we are transforming our members’ relationship with the traditional office set-up. Our workspace environment is a truly distinctive blend of professional yet comfortable spaces, with back-end systems, high-quality services and a global presence in iconic locations.”
He also added that Servcorp supports businesses through their Servcorp Community Platform, which gives an edge to entrepreneurs by connecting them with a global network of over 35,000 members. “Services such as this, as well as our virtual office offering, help lead to the diversification of our income streams and enhanced protection from the risks inherent in real estate market cycles,” Taine says.
Deskmag’s “2017 Global Co-Working Survey” projected that worldwide growth in co-working spaces would be 22% in 2017, reaching a total of 13,800 locations. Meanwhile, individual users of co-working platforms were projected to grow to 1.18 million worldwide, at a rate of 41% on the previous year. Responses to the survey emphasized the importance of the community element associated with co-working, with 78% of new members attracted by ‘community building’ and 62% attracted by ‘events for potential members’. The survey also found that 71% of co-working members had collaborated with other members in the last 12 months.
New Servcorp co-working spaces in the Middle East will benefit from contemporary design enhancements, including casual meeting spaces and lounge areas, aimed at making floors appealing and practical for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses seeking a quick and convenient solution for their office and administrative needs. An additional USD 8 million has been allocated globally to improving the customer experience through technology enhancements, which will be implemented during 2018.
Dr. Eyad Reda, Chairman of Servcorp Saudi Arabia also touched upon the importance of investing in coworking spaces. “The flexible workspace market is projected to reach USD 44 billion in value by 2021, so we are continuing to invest in diversifying our services and enhancing our products. As both newer businesses and well-established corporates expand their operations overseas, we have observed that they increasingly prefer to use serviced workspaces. This has been the case for operations in Saudi Arabia, where flexible workspace floors have hosted members from start-ups to large multinationals and government ministries,” he said.
Servcorp Group, which is headquartered in Sydney and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX: SRV), is a global brand employing 850 staff and servicing 35,000 members in 53 cities across 23 countries. The Company is currently focused on growing its co-working offering, with new designs and fit-outs for workspaces supported by sophisticated online and digital services.