Regus is opening its first coworking space in Canada, with Toronto next and hundreds of new centres planned for 2014.
Regus is big business. It seems that every few weeks, we hear about a new high-profile partnership or a strategic link-up with Regus’ name on it. Why? Because mobile working is growing, and Regus wants to make sure that wherever the wandering worker turns, there’s a branded workstation ready to greet them. Train stations, airports, motorway service stations, even stationery stores are now home to a Regus workspace in one way or another.
And in keeping with its drive for a ‘work anywhere’ ethic, Regus is going after greater flexibility by bumping up its focus on the coworking market.
Regus claims to be one of the founders of the coworking movement. Naturally some would – and do – disagree with this statement, and even claim that Regus’ coworking model is far removed from the traditional values of coworking. But that certainly is not distracting the business centre behemoth from pushing its shared office space concept far and wide.
Its most recent expansion is in Vancouver’s Yaletown district, Canada, which is now Regus’ 7th business centre in the city. The centre is home to a coworking space, and this represents the company’s very first coworking location in Canada.
So why Canada, why Vancouver, and why now?
According to Regus, Vancouver – and particularly the Yaletown area – is a “high demand” area for flexible working. Wes Lenci, Vice President of Regus Canada, says Yaletown is a “dynamic” part of the city and that some of Vancouver’s “most creative minds” congregate here. Read any press release about new coworking spaces and you’ll always find reference to those “creative minds”. They’re the disruptors of tomorrow – the ones that make brilliant ideas happen and win over investors to start their own businesses. They’re also classic coworking customers, because they need an inspirational space that’s as energetic, creative and innovative as they are, which is why ‘creative’ so often goes hand in hand with coworking.
Back to Regus, and the company has been steadily expanding in Vancouver since it opened its first location there seven years ago. Reflecting the growing demand for mobile and flexible working in the city, a spokesperson told Officing Today that they expect to see a mix of workers and businesses using the space, from start-ups and small businesses right up to large-scale corporations.
“There are Fortune 500 companies that use us to establish branch offices and space for teams as they expand and enter new markets,” the spokesperson explained.
Asked whether this will be the first of many coworking locations in Canada, we were told “Yes” – with the next one planned for Scarborough in Canada’s eastern city of Toronto.
As for what’s next for Regus, the workspace juggernaut is certainly showing no signs of slowing down. The company currently manages approximately 1,500 locations worldwide, serving over one million customers per day. And by 2014, they want to reach a global network of 2,000. It seems that coworking – or “campus” space – is a large part of this plan, which shows just how much demand is out there for the shared office space concept.
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“We are creating campus spaces in many of the new centers that are opening around the world,” the Regus spokesperson said.
Commenting on what’s further down the line for Regus, the spokesperson added: “One of the big things you’ll see from us is our street-level locations in New York City, and potentially other places. Similar to what we already have in Barclay Square (London), we will be opening 2 street level locations in NYC so people can drop-in and stay productive throughout the day.”
So from coworking to drop-in space, there are big things on the horizon for Regus. And with another 500 new business centre locations targeted between this year and next, business centre operators should keep their eyes peeled – because your street might be next on the list.