Meetings and customer emails could be collected along with a pint of milk and a carton of eggs under a new agreement between Tesco and flexible office operator IWG.
Starting later this month, office operator owner Regus will test a 3,800-square-foot flexible workspace within Tesco’s New Malden supermarket, with space for 12 private desks, 30 storage spaces. working and a meeting room.
The problem arises when supermarkets look for new ways to fill the space in stores where they once sold electrical goods, music or movies now bought largely digitally. It is believed that Tesco will open a more flexible bidding space if the idea proves popular.
Louise Goodland, Tesco’s Head of Strategic Partnerships, said, “We are delighted to partner with IWG to offer customers the ability to work more flexibly from their local Tesco. We are always striving to better serve our customers and our communities and we will be interested to see how they respond to this new opportunity. “
The office firm, called Spaces, will join other Tesco partners including sports equipment vendor Decathlon, Pets at Home, parcel lockers InPost, Holland & Barrett health food stores and the likes of Timpson and Vision Express, that were born to fill the free space of the supermarket.
The deal also reflects a flexible workspace boom spurred by months of pandemic restrictions that have forced companies to feel more comfortable allowing employees to work from home or elsewhere.
Facilities are springing up in the main streets and redundant spaces of shopping malls, cinemas and airports as many companies permanently downsize their permanent offices and allow workers to connect somewhere more within reach.
Electrical goods retailer Currys, for example, recently announced an agreement whereby more than 1,000 employees at its headquarters can use more than 50 sites operated by rival office specialist WeWork in the UK.
According to property consultancy JLL, up to 30% of the UK office market could consist of flexible space by 2030, compared to much less than 10% today.
Research from IWG found that 72% of workers would prefer the ability to work flexibly rather than returning to the office five days a week.
Mark Dixon, founder and CEO of IWG, said, “People don’t want to spend hours at work every day and instead want to live and work in their local communities. A Tesco Extra in a suburban location, in the midst of a vibrant local community, is the perfect place for flexible office space.
“New locations in suburban areas will transform communities and are a response to the growing demand we are seeing from customers who want to live and work locally.”
IWG, which operates around 300 UK offices, will open neighborhood workspaces in Twickenham, Sutton and the refurbished Battersea Power Station, all in London this year. Exclusive rival Fora, which has 14 locations, is planning six more and plans to merge with The Office Group, which operates from 44 buildings and has six more under construction.