In this article we’re looking at a major success story—one of the most accomplished coworking businesses on the planet. Regus was one of the first companies to recognize the need for well-provisioned coworking hubs, and continues to be a top player on the market today.
The Brussels-based company was founded back in 1989 by an English entrepreneur who noticed that many traveling business people had to work from their hotel rooms or in cramped cafes due to the unavailability of temporary office space. He identified the need for well-equipped offices that could be available to business professionals on a flexible basis, without too many commitments. And that simple realization, followed by the pursuit of an effective business strategy, is what kickstarted one of the most successful businesses of this kind.
Let’s take a look at how and why Regus has become such a pioneer in the world of coworking hubs.
The first Regus office was opened in the Belgian capital by Mark Dixon and proved to be quite a successful and sought-after service. Just five years later it expanded its reach on a global scale, opening new offices in Sao Paolo and Beijing. After a successful initial public offering, the company entered the stock exchange in 2000. By purchasing a United States-based franchise of business centers, the company entered the North American market.
But even with so many triumphs, Regus wasn’t prepared for the bursting of the dot-com bubble, which put serious financial strain on the company. The U.S. business filed for bankruptcy in 2003 but managed to get out of it just a year later after some restructuring. It went on acquiring other business centers over the next few years and opened new offices not only in the United States, but also in countries such as Kenya, Qatar, Jordan and Bulgaria.
By maintaining a policy of continuous expansion, Regus managed to establish itself as one of the top global coworking chains in the world. It currently has nearly 3,000 offices in 900 different cities and 120 countries, which would be quite an impressive achievement in any industry.
One of the main reasons Regus managed to stay on top for nearly 30 years is its flexibility, its ability to keep up with the ongoing advances of the technology sector, and its growth mentality. While at the very beginning all it needed to provide were a few neat desks and a single, shared fax machine, coworking hubs today need to offer much more than that. And while the business sphere is ever-evolving, Regus offices have managed to meet the changing demands of the market and have succeeded in staying on top of the game.
Another key factor of Regus’s success is the fact that it manages to support every business need out there. Whether you’re a one-person creative enterprise, a freelance writer or the owner of a large company, their coworking hubs definitely have something to suit your professional requirements, thanks to their wide range of office formats.
Those looking for a flexible coworking environment will surely appreciate the availability of two different membership packages. By opting for the reserved coworking package, you’ll have your very own designated desk in a shared office space, complimented by your own phone line and headset. If this ties you down too much, you can always choose hot-desking, where you can simply drop by and sit down at any free desk on a first-come, first-served basis.
For those merely in search of a professional business address the virtual office package is the best solution. It ensures mail handling, call answering and having your business based at an address with a prime location, giving you extra credibility and providing an additional air of professionalism.
If you’re looking for a bit of privacy but can’t seem to get any work done in the comfort of your home, then rent out a private office. Available to both individuals and small teams alike, you can take advantage of a fully-furnished, well-equipped office space and the numerous perks that come with it on a daily basis. You can choose between window locations, interior slots and even entire office suites.
With the frequently travelling business person in mind, business lounges are offered to global entrepreneurs in a wide variety of locations, including airports, city centers, train stations and business parks. Never again will you have to tackle your work tasks from a cramped airport café if you choose to enjoy the many benefits that these lounges have to offer, such as high-speed internet, snacks and ergonomic office furniture.
Instead of setting up a work meeting at your local Starbucks, impress your clients by booking a professional meeting room. With the wide array of services provided, such as catering, complimentary coffee and projection equipment, your business pitch will seem much more impressive if the environment in which you present it offers such facilities.
Recipe for success
As you can see, the secret of a well-functioning and long-lasting coworking operation is tenacity, a growth mindset and the ability to keep up with the times—three things at which Regus surely excels. These ingredients (and many more) have all contributed to not only keeping Regus afloat over the past 30 years, but also to establishing it among the greatest coworking companies in the world. Check out our interview with Regus’s Michael Berretta for more insights into the company.