Founded in 1999, The Instant Group is a company specializing in flexible real estate innovation. More than 15,000 such spaces around the world can be found on the group's online platform. Steven Khoury, Head of France & Client Solutions Europe, talked to us about the development of this market.
What does The Instant Group do?
Since 1999, The Instant Group has been blazing a trail in the flexible workspace market, as an innovative company providing consulting for flexible portfolios in tertiary real estate. Our clients and user and/or owner companies seek to inject flexibility, reduce costs, reposition assets and optimize performance. From portfolio review to implementation, we support our customers in the Paris region, across France and internationally in this flexible, multi-faceted market. Every year, we successfully consult and place more than 7,000 companies, including e-commerce giants, Sky, Network Rail, Capita, Serco, Teleperformance and Worldpay in flexible workspaces, such as fully-equipped, managed or co-managed offices. Our ability to deliver solutions that meet our customers’ needs around the world makes us the leader in flexible workspace solutions. With offices in Paris, London, Newcastle, Berlin, Haifa, Dallas, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Kuala Lumpur, The Instant Group employs 300 expert staff and has clients in more than 150 countries.
How is the Paris region a strategic ecosystem for The Instant Group?
The first two key points for us are that the Paris region has a strategic geographic positioning and a fast, efficient transport network that connects with other iconic parts of Europe. What’s more, the tertiary real estate market in Ile-de-France is the largest in France.
Our corporate customers all have offices there, which encourages strategic partnerships and strengthens the quality of our support for our customers. Furthermore, the Paris region is at the forefront of innovation and technology, which allows us to be efficient in keeping in contact with the teams and our customers (…) These cutting-edge technologies play a major role in maintaining and strengthening links between teams, and will be just as crucial when we return to the office.
Management strategies will change and these new technologies will accompany this shift, thanks to sensors in buildings that will provide dynamic data. This data will then be used to streamline the employee’s daily work and practices. This will be a strategic issue for companies. To sum up, innovation, excellence, business and quality of life are the strengths that made us choose the Paris region. More than a year ago, in the context of Brexit, we anticipated that Ile-de-France’s market would overtake that of London. We, therefore, decided to open an office in Paris, Instant Offices, with the aim of better supporting companies that wish to move there. Our activity in Paris – even during this complicated time – allows us to accelerate our development in Europe. We have strengthened our teams in Paris to support this. Beyond the Brexit situation, with an excellent geographic position and transport network, the Paris region is one of the largest economic regions in Europe, with excellent schools and universities that generate a significant pool of talent to draw from. It is also a place where you can enjoy a good work-life balance. It is this combination of business, innovation and lifestyle that explains why so many companies and start-ups are present in the Paris region.” Steven Khoury, Head of France & Customer Solutions Europe.
What was lockdown like for The Instant Group? What is the impact of Covid-19 on your development strategy? And what opportunities are you jumping on in the Paris region?
Working from home was already part of our daily lives before Covid. The Paris region offers the largest number of flexible sites in France, which means you can go and work near your home, near your customers or near your partners. The Greater Paris project will continue to give Ile-de-France a real advantage for all companies in terms of accessibility/infrastructure, real estate solutions and attractiveness to appeal to new talent (…). Lockdown put a pause on tours of new sites as part of finalizing ongoing searches. So during this period, we focused our efforts on closer exchanges with our customers and amped up our prospecting. We also renegotiated service contracts for our customers and offered various training courses to our employees. Currently, portfolio studies are growing rapidly and present new flexible solutions over the longer term. In terms of recruitment, we continue to hire high-level employees. We have strengthened our teams in Germany with the recruitment of a senior consultant who joined us on 1 July, and for the Paris region, we are currently looking for two important profiles: a development manager as well as a senior consultant specializing in flexible solutions.” Steven Khoury, Head of France & Client Solutions Europe.
What commercial prospecting projects do you have in the Paris region?
Our company is a global leader and specialist in flexible solutions, with many multinational companies that have placed their trust in us and continue to help us grow. We support them, in particular, to transform their real estate portfolio, making them more flexible, agile, and better able to cope with the new challenges accelerated by Covid-19. Nevertheless, we need to increase awareness of our solutions in the Paris and across France and Europe, because, beyond large companies, our services are also aimed at SMEs and start-ups.” Steven Khoury, Head of France & Client Solutions Europe.
How do you see a “post-Covid world”?
During and after the strict lockdown in France, we conducted several studies, participated in numerous conferences, and listened very closely to our customer’s challenges and needs, to imagine and anticipate the world after Covid. We have interviewed 65 real estate directors over the past few weeks and identified 5 major trends for the future of corporate real estate:
- Remote working as the norm in 40% to 50% of cases, on average.
- Transition to a 50/50 split of the portfolio between leases and flexible working solutions. This will mean a greater emergence of proximity workspaces.
- 90% of respondents believe that getting out of this crisis will lead to a rapid shift towards more agile workplaces.
- Evolution of BCPs to include teleworking and flexible workspace solutions.
- Faster integration of technology into corporate real estate, creating sustainable change for our industry.
Learn more about the ‘Five Predictions for the Future of Corporate Real Estate’ study.
Our second study focused on the evolution of workplaces following this pandemic: ‘What are the current questions for real estate and financial directors, and how can The Instant Group support them on these issues and objectives?
- Reducing the real estate footprint by 50 to 60%;
- Reducing costs by resizing the portfolio;
- Subcontracting corporate real estate;
- Are long-term fixed assets inexpensive and underused locations still necessary?
The real-time data we collect from our international online platform allows us to measure trends and forecasts around the world:
- Four of our top 13 markets have higher demand levels than before Covid-19.
- In France, the average number of requests more than doubled during the Covid-19 crisis to 11.6 workstations (compared to 5.6 in 2019)
Covid-19 will lead to a change in the proportion of flexible workspaces in corporate office portfolios:
- 74% of companies plan to switch permanently to a remote working model.
- 69% of companies plan to reduce the office footprint and increase remote working.
- Every company we spoke to sees flexible workspaces becoming an essential part of their future real estate strategy.
Learn more about the “Workspace at a Turning Point” study.
Last but not least, we are increasingly being asked by investors and developers to anticipate future developments and adapt strategies. We believe that buildings offering traditional office spaces and flexible spaces, allowing a company already on-site to expand, will become very attractive assets.” Steven Khoury, Head of France & Client Solutions Europe.