Founded in 1989 by English entrepreneur Mark Dixon, Regus (www.regus.com) has established itself as a multinational corporation that provides serviced offices and workspaces around the world—the global leader in the flexible work space industry.
With a network that spans over 100 countries, over 900 cities, and over 3000 locations, Regus is more than 20 times bigger than their next competitor. “That means that you will always have professional flexible work space with Regus near you, almost regardless of where you are,” says Lars Wittig, Country Manager for Regus Philippines (www.regus.com.ph).
During our interview with Lars Wittig, he not only talked about their company’s growth worldwide and track record for business innovation in the Philippines, he also shed light on the booming ecosystem of shared office spaces and co-working, observing the trends and the shifting global business landscape. Below are just some of Wittig’s insights, observations, and takeaways.
Short-Term Spaces Benefit Lean Companies
“In the Philippines, if you sign up for a conventional space, you need to sign up for a minimum 6 years. In New York, it’s a minimum of 10 years.”
As Wittig illustrates, the long-term commitment can cause both financial and emotional fatigue. According to him, one of the key motivations for organizations choosing short-term work spaces over conventional office space is convenience—lowered costs, no long-term liabilities, and absolutely no capital investment. Thus, short-term and co-working spaces are especially attractive to entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to bootstrap their operations. Many young professionals establishing their own businesses don’t actually need the dedicated office space. Between important meetings, presentation deadlines, and entertaining clients—for these fast-paced companies, their workspace must adapt to their on-the-go nature.
Lean Companies Thrive on Flexibility
“Because the work is just too dynamic, it is increasingly difficult for companies to predict what their requirements could be 3, 5, 6, or 10 years from now.”
With increased global connectivity and reach, companies are now experiencing exponential growth marked by rapid regional expansion. Nowadays, as businesses tend to work flexibly, so should flexibility be built in to your office or workspace accommodation. One of the trends noticed by Regus is that businesses, starting out as lean organizations, initially sign up for the worry-free promise of temporary spaces, but eventually stick with Regus for their reliability in providing flexible serviced offices.
A concrete example is Twitter, a company started by Jack Dorsey in San Francisco less than 10 years ago. Now, they are in 65 countries, and have since then strategically decided to go with Regus.
Accessibility and Flexibility Optimise Productivity
“If you can, in any way, shape, or form, find a shortcut for—or at least do something a little bit easier, then you’re going to avail of it.”
What Regus offers is that little bit of ease. “Imagine coming to the Philippines for the first time and you don’t have to deal with all these landlords, phone and electric companies, and trying to get the internet up and running, and so on,” he says. It ties back to the work environment’s demand for improved productivity, which would be wasted on time-consuming efforts like setting up a conventional office space or even a lengthy commute.
Citing the major productivity bottleneck that is Manila traffic, Wittig relates being inspired by a clever advertisement on the side of a condominium in Los Angeles that read, “If you lived here, you would be home right now.” This forms the core of their vision to have a Regus business location within one mile of every kilometer drive along EDSA, from Pasay to Balintawak.
Shared Spaces Support Shared Resources
“The shared economy—that’s the way to go. We believe, very much, that plays into our hands. We believe that we are representing that shared economy as well… That is so much what we are embracing.”
Even before modern tech giants Uber and AirBnB popularized the term, Regus has been practicing the use of shared assets and shared resources among their network of business centers for decades. As Wittig relates, these platforms—Uber, for example, is not about reducing the number of cars on the street. It is about utilising every asset in a much better way. For temporary work spaces, there is hotdesking. And other designated co-working offices also double as start-up incubators and accelerators. As work becomes more diversified, the infrastructures and organizations built to get work done evolve as well.
Mobility Leads to the Rise of the Remote Worker
“Our biggest competitor used to be conventional work spaces, but now I would say it’s the coffee shops.”
True enough, the growing number of professional individuals working remotely, has also increased the demand for workspace flexibility. Something that independent establishments, hipster bistros, co-working hubs, and internet cafés are happily benefiting from. Telecommuting (yes, the passé term for ‘work from home’) is a natural extension of the modern generation’s mobile lifestyle, preference for nomadic thrills, and the gradual evolution of technology. Everyone must keep up with the booming pace of accessibility—being able to check your inbox anywhere, instant downloads, live streaming to the cloud, real-time file management, automated tracking, and so forth.
At www.flyspaces.com, we’re with you every step of the way! Booking a temporary, short-term, or virtual office space is made swift and easy. Visit our website and go through our many opportunities for flexible work spaces in Manila, Cebu, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.
Special thanks to www.regus.com.ph for this interview. Watch out for our next installment, where Lars Wittig, Country Manager for Regus Philippines, talks about the vast millennial market.