ICPS:So far we have not seen any TV radio or newspaper ads is that your usual manner of communicating? Or do you prefer a more direct approach?
Yes, we do. Africa is a growing market for Regus and we strongly believe that it is crucial to explain further in details through this kind of interviews who Regus is, what our business is about and how we can support local and international businesses to grow and rapidly seize growth opportunities in the region and the 91 countries of our network.
With the developed economies of Western Europe and the US producing negative or minimal growth in recent years, businesses need to find growth from new sources – Africa (like in Asia or other regions).
As companies look at these new markets, we’re seeing accelerating demand for our flexible workspaces in Africa, where we’ve doubled our numbers of enquiries in a year.
In response to this, we’ve expanded our network rapidly in recent months – not just into Ivory Coast but also in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and very soon in Madagascar and Zambia, just to name a few.
As the world of work becomes ever more integrated and mobile, and companies more agile, we expect demand for our services in Africa to continue to grow in 2011 and beyond, and we will expand our network accordingly
There’s a quiet mobile revolution already taking place among the elite in Africa and we need to clarify the benefits of more flexible working practices and agility at work to all.
ICPS:Do you expect any competition?
We may have small local competitors, probably more over the coming months and years but none with our global outreach and standards. By far and away our biggest competitor is the traditional way of work and long-lease office space.
We should even reinforce our leadership as we are entering a new stage of our commercially aggressive growth strategy.
As previously commented, Regus is set to make major investments to capitalise on the accelerating global trend toward flexible working. Research data from the last 18 months has shown remarkable strengthening in flexible work policies, not just in mature markets, but also in emerging economies[i].
Over the next three years Regus will invest to increase its global network by at least 75%, equating to over 800 additional business centres. The majority of growth will take place across the USA and emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India. This move will also take the company into an additional 30 new countries – those in the pipeline include Slovenia, Uruguay, Nepal and as previously stated, Madagascar. Even in the current market, Regus is experiencing record levels of enquiries and in its last set of financial reports documented an all-time occupancy high of 86.7%.
[i] Flexible work arrangements, uncommon in Asia in the past, are gaining traction in the region. According to the Singapore Ministry of Manpower the number of firms there with flexible work arrangements has increased 44 percent between 2000 and 2008 (source: CNBC, Once Unheard of in Asia: Flexible Work Practices Gain Traction, 1 November 2010). In Australia, some 90 percent the country’s top 100 companies offer a range of flexible working arrangements (source: ibid). Flexible working practices are also aimed at attracting workforce skills from the most qualified personnel, whatever their circumstances. For instance, the Regus commissioned research shows that 36% of firms are looking to hire more part-time mothers (source: MindMetre Research, Regus Global Survey, Spring 2011). Supporting evidence for this trend comes from all around the world; one major firm in India, for instance, runs a scheme for targets experienced professionals who have been out of the job market for up to eight years to raise children, and eases them back into the workforce (source: Financial Times, Flexible work deals lure mothers in India, 26 May 2011).
- |Interview|Olivier de Lavette of Regus Cote d’Ivoire-Part One (ivorycoastprivatesector.com)
- Regus returns to profit in first half (telegraph.co.uk)