WSJ.com May 16, 2010 - The recession forced many chief executives to find new ways to run their business—and many are relying on those changes to help fuel growth and cost savings in the recovery.
During the slump, Regus PLC, a provider of outsourced office space, launched more lower-priced services after customers cut spending. A Bayer AG division sought new business in alternative energy when its traditional car and construction markets dried up. Duke Energy Corp. solicited employee ideas for cost cuts when demand for energy fell.
Now, all of those initiatives are outlasting the recession, executives say. "They're not going back to the old way," says Harold Sirkin, a senior partner at Boston Consulting Group.
Regus, which has over 400 locations in the U.S. and others in Europe, hoped at the beginning of the recession that corporate clients would use more of its office space and video-conferencing facilities as firms slashed travel budgets and downsized their own offices.
But that strategy didn't pan out. Corporate clients did cut travel budgets—but they cut back on use of Regus's space too.
The company ran focus groups to discover clients' concerns, something they didn't do very often before the recession, according to CEO Mark Dixon.
Focus groups said they wanted more office-use options at a broader range of prices, especially on the lower end, which Mr. Dixon also thought would attract small businesses and individual consultants.
He introduced a five-day card for $69 that gives users a desk at any Regus shared-workspace location. Regus also introduced a plan for $25 a month that gives people access to any "business lounge," an open space with wireless access at a Regus business center. Before the recession Regus didn't offer anything comparable, and customers could use private rooms on an hourly basis or for $75 a day.
As the worldwide leader in Flexible Workplace / Executive Suite industry, Regus's initiatives have changed the industry requiring those who want to be competitive to change, too. Once of the biggest changes has been in the offering of virtual
offices. It has been a rob Peter to pay Paul scenario since many of the virtual office clients at one point would have had full time offices paying much more in rent. With the recession many factors changed and it appears that business is not going to go back to the way it was before the recession.
We have found a new and
interesting video marketing offering for executive suite owners called Alliance Spaces. The
offering was created on the premise that independent business center owners have
a need for low-priced, creative and engaging videos -- rather than the standard
virtual tour -- to stand out from both large and small
With online marketing
competition heating up, more and more executive suite providers are turning to
video to tell their story, and most are doing it in the form of a virtual tour,
a staff interview or sometimes even a client testimonial. All these are great
ways to market office space, but in order to stand out and engage prospective
customers, a different approach may be in order.
Regus, the largest
global operator of executive suite space is well known for their effective
marketing campaigns, and they have recently been focusing even more on video
campaigns. And Alliance Spaces videos can be great tool in the arsenal according
to Frank Cottle, a collaborator in the Alliance Spaces offering: "Alliance
Spaces Videos can help independent operators stand out from the rest and compete
effectively in the online arena against both large and small competitors. On top
of that, we offer it on a subscription basis that allows a very competitive
price. Essentially, a single center operator pays about $750 per
Study suggests home working and hot-desking will become the norm
The social-networking generation will rely on mobile technology, remote working and 'pop up' offices to get their jobs done, according to a new study backed by public sector think tanks and the Institute of Directors.
The focus of corporate IT departments will shift from supporting dozens of workers in a single office space to facilitating home-based and remote working, and ensuring that staff in temporary, shared offices can get the job done.
"Companies will be a bit more aggressive with how much office space they need," said David Coplin, national technology officer at Microsoft, which contributed to the report.
"The savings in the short term will be around office space. At best 55 per cent of office space is used at any one time, leaving 45 per cent unused," he told Computer Weekly. "That is 45 per cent of your office costs."
The study suggests the companies will benefit from allowing staff to use online collaboration tools and social networks to carry out their work. Knowledge-sharing and collaboration will be made easier by the knew generation of cloud-based computing services and communications networks.
"There is a message here for organisations that block tools like Twitter at the firewall," said Coplin. "You can't do that any more because you are restricting people's activity. Be confident in your security and let go a bit of your control.
"We have talked for a while about the death of the desk phone. Now we are talking about the death of the desk. Its not just about working from home. There are compelling reasons for working from a variety of locations."
A 2008 World at Work consortium study found that more than 17 million Americans telecommute at least part time, a number that continues to grow as companies look for ways to cut costs and increase productivity
To create a functional home office, interior designer Sharon McCormick suggests considering the following:
Location: Possible spaces include a spare bedroom, bonus room, guest bedroom, walk-in closet, unused living room, dining room, basement, attic, landing, kitchen or, as a last resort, your bedroom.
Privacy: Consider how much privacy and quiet you need and whether you hate feeling isolated.
Tax write-off: If you are looking for a tax deduction, your space will need to be dedicated to work.
Utilities and equipment: Consider whether you have, or can install, electrical outlets, phone jacks and cable in the space. Determine your equipment needs: phone, fax, printer, desktop or laptop. Consider wireless applications to minimize cords and allow for more flexibility.
Lighting: Overhead lighting is optimal and compensates for lack of natural light. Task lighting is needed for individual activities, for example, a desk lamp.
Noise: Telephone conversations with clients or co-workers require a professional atmosphere. Think about adding French doors to a living room, changing out hollow-core doors to solid doors, or adding carpeting and window treatments to muffle outside sounds.
Storage needs: Do you need bookshelves for reference manuals? Filing cabinets? Do you use many office supplies? Will you be keeping sensitive information that needs to be under lock and key?
Desk configuration: An L- or U-shaped arrangement may be best if you like to spread out your projects.
Wire management: Will you end up with unsightly wires everywhere? Sometimes just drilling a grommet hole in a desk can solve that problem.
April 23, 2010 - Regus, the world’s largest executive suite provider, has seen a 230% increase in video communication over the last week in the UK, helping to alleviate the problem of displacement and enabling business to continue as usual.
Since the situation began last Thursday, demand for virtual meetings has been unprecedented. Across Europe week-on-week demand increased by 180%, whilst on Monday calls to Regus call centres were 450% above the daily average.