By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

WEWORK PHILIPPINES saw 10% growth in enterprise members over the lockdown as large companies sought alternative work arrangements for employees.

Enterprise members, which usually have over 500 full-time employees globally, increased over the March-to-July period.

“When we look at the enterprise segment, these are members that tend to take up a much larger chunk of spaces with us. They may have robust requirements in terms of the IT and security, and they tend to also commit to a longer period of time,” WeWork Head of Growth for Southeast Asia and Korea Ray Tan said in a recent online interview.

He said companies are looking for a provider of a hub-and-spoke workspace model that can help them distribute their work force across multiple locations to follow physical distancing guidelines.

“Companies that are proven to be essential services during this time, they need to strengthen their business continuity strategy as well. They wanna be empowered with space flexibility to instill the confidence in their employees and in their overall operations that they start to bring employees back to work in a safe manner.”

The company has been implementing physical distancing in its spaces, decreasing the capacity in common areas and boosting sanitation measures.

Mr. Tan said that some companies that have seen losses due to the pandemic are trying to decrease their real estate commitments and relocate to smaller spaces.

“When the situation gets better and when the economy starts climbing up again, they want to have that flexibility of hiring more employees without terminating their lease. The flexibility that we provide really suits the recalibration of businesses.”

He said, however, the companies who have committed to recent agreements have already had those workspace requirements before the pandemic, including those that have switched to longer-term contracts with WeWork.

Mr. Tan expects new client agreements to develop “in the next quarter or so.”

“In general, a lot of companies are still trying to navigate this situation right now. Some companies are adopting a wait-and-see approach…those may take a bit of time.”

He also did not share information on WeWork’s growth targets in Manila, and the potential opening or closing of co-working spaces.

“Different cities are going through different phases right now. In the Philippines we see a lot of enterprise members that have the need to support business critical functions like business processes.”

He said the Southeast Asia market is in the early stages of flexible spaces usage.

The company is currently focused on large enterprises in Manila, but has seen some recent interest from small and medium-sized enterprises.

WeWork Philippines spaces can be found in Makati and Taguig City.

The global company is on track to have positive cash flow in 2021, WeWork Executive Chairman Marcelo Claure told the Financial Times last month.