By Claire West
Business centres are now open on UK motorways, similar to the work hubs that are springing up on road and rail networks across Europe. They are designed to cater for the rising number of people working flexibly and on the move.
Regus has opened its first roadside locations in the South - M25 Cobham, M40 J2 Beaconsfield and A14 Cambridge — in partnership with Extra Motorway Service Area Group.
Deals with other UK transport operators will see the initiative extended to other areas of the country in the coming months.
The centres include business lounges, meeting rooms, secure business class Wi-Fi and other administrative support services such as printing. The shared workspace and meeting rooms are proving popular with local businesses as well as motorists passing through or touching down between meetings.
One of the first visitors to the new Cobham centre was James Roberts from Warrington. As a National Account Manager for AKW, UK’s largest disabled bathroom suppliers, he does 40,000 miles a year on business.
He comments, “I was on the M25 from Crawley to Warrington when I stopped for lunch and to send some reports. I went upstairs to the business centre and was very impressed. The motorway service station location is ideal. It’s a great concept and I hope it is extended to the North too.”
Britain’s workers are becoming ever more flexible in their approach to work. Two fifths work from locations other than their employer’s main office for at least half the week, thanks to mobile, tablet and cloud technologies.
Steve Purdy is UK Managing Director at Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces. He comments: “This is an important step forward for mobile workers in the UK for whom a table in a roadside café is no longer enough. The centres will help people meet, work and communicate more effectively.”
“Flexible working, technology and changing attitudes are fundamentally reshaping our relationship to the physical office. Companies are also looking for ways of slashing overheads and empty desk space is often identified as the silent killer of company finances. All these factors point to the demise of the fixed, single location office. People want walk-in workspace anywhere, anytime and for however long they need.”