Service station business lounges open for mobile workers

Regus expands remote working offering with three motorway sites

Global workplace provider Regus has launched its first three motorway business centres in partnership with Extra Motorway Service Area Group.

The business lounges in commuter belt parts of Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire have opened in a bid to seize the opportunity created by the rise of virtual businesses and surge in demand for flexible or ‘third place’ working.

Regus’ move follows the opening of a series of road and rail work hubs across Europe in the past year, but marks a seminal moment in the expansion of the business that made its name for serviced offices in the UK.

The company plans to expand quickly beyond the Cobham (M25), Beaconsfield (M40), and Cambridge (A14) centres and, as well as Extra, is in talks with other major motorway service station and railway operators, UK managing director Steve Purdy revealed.

Speaking to Startups.co.uk at the company’s Cobham service station business centre off the M25, Purdy said: “The market is moving toward more mobile, flexible and convenient workplace culture.

“Five years ago, when we had around 200,000 customers globally, 90% were using a fixed desk. Today, with a million customers, only 25% of the customer base has a fixed permanent office with Regus. We see this as an important way people will work in the future.”

Start-ups and small businesses, Purdy said, are key target users for the facilities, which offer hot desks, WiFi access, meeting room hire, printing, and refreshments as part of a range of packages starting at £10 for five days access. In July Regus was announced as a partner of the government’s £82.5m StartUp Loans scheme for young entrepreneurs.

As well as being offered the chance to apply for £2,500 loans, student start-ups were promised six months free and unlimited access to use Regus’ network of 160 business lounges in the UK and 1,200 worldwide.

In addition to start-ups, Regus hopes to capitalise on the need or desire for larger companies to lower their fixed costs and offer staff flexible working options, which has already seen employees of corporations such as Yell, Google and Nokia using the lounges.

Consultants, travelling sales people and virtual companies are other groups Purdy said the company hoped to sell its ‘Regus in a Box’ packs to via WH Smith, Staples outlets and the company’s website.

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