Published Monday, November 28th, 2011, by Mike Sullivan.
First Regus made a big move to market itself in the coworking space, now the business center giant is pushing hard on the mobile workforce front.
Regus just inked what it is calling a groundbreaking deal with SNCF, the French national railway company. The deal could be groundbreaking indeed, if executed well, and speaks to the evolving world of workspaces.
Regus will open six drop-in business centers in its railway stations to target workers in transit. And this is just the beginning. The partnership could spread far and wide.
The potential impact cannot be ignored. The Regus deal will literally empower millions of business travelers and mobile workers to be more productive as they move from place to place. What’s more, the deal signals the undeniable momentum in flexible working and mobile working.
“An estimated 1 billion people work on the move, with the total predicted to reach 1.2 billion by 2013,” says Mark Dixon, CEO of Regus. “SNCF see the demand for smarter, more flexible ways of working, and they understand that businesses and their staff want support whilst on the go.”
Here’s how the Regus drop-in business centers will work: Users can access workspace for as little as 10 minutes, using it to work, meet, catch up with e-mails, deal with unexpected issues, or just find somewhere to think. The business centers will also offer professional business support, such as video communication, printing, copying and scanning. No word yet on the square footage of the drop-in business centers, how much the centers can accommodate at once or the pricing.
Sophie Boissard, CEO of Gares & Connexions at SNCF perhaps put it best when she said developing drop-in workspaces has emerged as a pressing need in today’s society, turning waiting time into useful time for professionals on the move.
But what does this mean for business centers that don’t carry the Regus brand name? How can smaller business center operators tap into this mobile workforce trend? It would be difficult to compete head on with the likes of Regus in this arena. But business centers can get creative with solutions for mobile workers and road warriors.
One idea is to carve out a special area of your business center that is designated for mobile workers and create some sort of automated quick pass system that makes it convenient for them to check in and out quickly. If mobile workers have to stand in line, fill out long forms, and wait for approvals to begin doing business, it somewhat defeats the purpose of driving productivity on the go.
How is your business center catering to mobile workers?