Millennials demand more mobility and flexibility in work, leisure and personal space. This demand is also what Regus aims to meet, says Lars Wittig, the man behind the company which provides flexible work space solutions in the country.
Wittig, the country manager of Regus Philippines, oversaw the expansion of the company over the past five years. It now has 5,300 work stations across 25 centers, including one that has recently opened in Davao City.
Wittig introduced fresh ideas to improve, innovate and make working more relevant for professionals, entrepreneurs and people who value mobility. This led to the gradual, but steady acceptance of flexibility in work and work space in the Philippines.
“The trend is now more and more companies, regardless of size, are abandoning the concept of traditional workspace. Co-working is a absolutely a keyword today and that is what we are embracing now,” he says.
“Regus provides the flexibility to work anywhere in the world where there is Regus presence compared to when you enter a conventional work space where you sign up for minimum of six or seven years lease and make a very big capital investment. For office space flexibility, Regus is the best choice, regardless if you are an up and coming company or whether you’re a Fortune 500 company,” he says.
In 2016, demand for flexible work stations grew 65 percent. Driving the demand is the growing need for flexible working space.
As country manager, Wittig’s mandate is to keep up with the demand and respond to the growing need for flexibility.
“The need for work space five to six years ahead is impossible to predict. Majority of the upcoming office spaces in the country’s business districts have been pre-committed. If you are an entrepreneur or a start-up company, it will be prudent to go for flexible work space so you can work whenever, wherever you like and your capital is not tied up to assets that depreciate over time. Companies don’t to be stuck in big capital investments,” he says.
“With the traffic condition, don’t expect your employees to commute to office everyday. Sitting in coffee shops is not a way to work. And the millennials who are very successful in every way prefer to work at their own pace, at their own time, anywhere. To go forward we have to embrace the millennial thinking,” he says.
Wittig first moved to the Philippines over 20 years ago and worked for Coca-Cola Co. as a director for marketing, then with Dole Packaged Foods as marketing manager for Asia and with Philip Morris in the distribution network.
Now with Regus, he says human resource experts stepped up along with the changing times. They accept working flexibly, giving managers and select employees access to the Regus work site, where productivity is maximized by optimizing time that would have been spent on the road.
Right now, Regus has more than 5,300 work stations in 25 locations in the Philippines and continues to grow its network of flexible work space. It has plans to add 200 more stations to existing locations.
It biggest location in Davao hosts 360 work stations.
It first office in the Philippines, located at the Entreprise Building in Makati continues to draw crowds of professionals, students and foreign nationals.
Wittig says the company has no choice but to keep increasing locations and work stations. It has over 30,000 square meters of prime commercial space.
As it continues to establish locations in megacities, Regus is looking at expanding to second tier cities. Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Mactan, Iloilo and Bacolod are among the sites eyed for expansion this year.
Another expansion model Regus is working on is a partnership with property developers to allow Regus to operate and manage a Regus office in building owned by the developer.
“They [developers)] saw the opportunity. They appreciate the value of flexible work space. If we want to grow as fast as we would like to then we will go to these partnerships. It will accelerate our ability to grow. It is obvious that his type of operation will put in additional leg to their real estate business. It will feed in to their existing real estate business as incubator. To be honest this good business and a great advantage to developers,” Wittig says.
Regus does not pay rent. It has a formula for profit-sharing with the developers. It repays the capital investment the landlord made through profit-sharing.
“The more locations we have, the more value we give to our customers,” says Wittig, noting that Cagayan de Oro City is one of the locations eyed for this type of expansion mode.
The company’s aggressive expansion program is a part of the strategy to raise the bar in 2017.
Regus wants to expand its presence to airports. “I want airports to be destinations not just by airplanes but also destinations to different cities where you can go hosting a Regus meeting at the airport. That is part of our vision to continue to lead in terms of innovation of flexible work space,” he says.
“Through a range of office formats, as well as growing mobile, virtual office, and workplace recovery businesses, Regus enable people and businesses to work where, when, and how they want, with a range of price points.
Regus, a multinational corporation headquartered in Luxembourg, is the world’s largest provider of flexible work space solutions, with a network of 3,000 locations in over 1,000 towns and cities, across 120 countries, serving 2.3 million members.
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