What is flexible working?

Flexible working is a way of arranging the number of hours you work – and where you work them – to suit your lifestyle rather than keeping them fixed.

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At Regus, it’s our whole reason for being – we exist to help people work more flexibly, by providing flexible workspace at competitive rates. That way, people can work remotely from their company’s central location, or their company can create its ‘own’ office within a Regus workspace without the level of risk or cost that would traditionally accompany such growth.

Initially, flexible working was considered as something that would appeal to one group of people: mothers with children who wanted to return to work.

Now it is increasingly being seen as a policy that that can bring benefits to almost any employee or employer, and is growing more and more popular all over the world – including in rapidly expanding markets like the People’s Republic of China and India.

Why does it work?

Why does flexible working work? Regus recently commissioned a major international piece of independent research into the question.

Three quarters of senior managers and business owners interviewed believe that it improves employee retention, while 71% of those who responded felt it made employees feel more loyal to their employees.

Among workers, 73% think flexible working reduces stress. But it’s also financially beneficial. Flexible working can reduce ‘empty desk syndrome’, saving companies money on property that isn’t fully utilised and freeing up money that can then be made to work harder to get employers closer to customers. It really does seem to be a win/win.

How can you implement it?

There are many different types of flexible working, from job sharing and part-time work to compressed hours, remote working and flex(i) time.

If you are an employer, you first need to work out which options are right for particular roles within your organisation and then consult your workforce about putting flexible working to work for you.

If you’re an employee, you should consider how you could perform your role better through flexible working and then consult your manager. (In some countries, employment law makes it compulsory to offer workers the right to request flexible working, so you may already have been thinking about it.) But however you decide to implement flexible working, you’re going to feel the benefits very soon.

If you want to implement flexible working in your business, Regus can help you find the right workspace at the right level of risk. We’ll even give you two months rent free to help you get started*.

(*terms and conditions apply)

Where do the best business ideas come from?

Entrepreneurs often come up with solutions to problems that annoy them – Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger founded Instagram because the pictures they took on their mobile phones always looked terrible and they wanted to make them look good. Pierre Omidyar founded Ebay by selling a laser pointer he was planning to throw away. Also, you don’t have to be young to do it (despite the Zuckerberg/Schmidt/Brin/Gates examples).

Best business ideas

Statistics show that twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as are under 25. They never, ever come from a futurology study or research into a gap in the market: Henry Ford once remarked that if he asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’. No one would have predicted the coffee house boom or the rise of craft beer brewing, let alone the rise of the internet.

The best ideas don’t happen overnight, but they often come in our dreams. Russian scientist Igor Mendeleev spent years thinking about ways to organise chemical elements, then woke up one morning having dreamt the solution. It’s called incubation, and it’s the way our unconscious mind turns our rational thought processes into something new and distinctive.

So you always need to sleep on your best ideas, literally. And then you’re going to need to be very, very persistent, and remember Samuel Beckett’s words: ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better next time.’

The best kind of networking

Professional networkingEveryone accepts the importance of networking. Many of us get our best work through personal introductions, or hire our best people on the basis of a personal recommendation. We know the power of word of mouth.

Today, when a rumour or chance remark can make its way round the world in seconds, you might think that social media would have enhanced that power. But does it really matter how many Twitter followers you have? Does your mastery of social media supply you with productive ideas or help you win contracts? In many cases, I suspect that a blur of activity masks an absence of any meaningful communication.

The real networking challenge is to meet the right people in the right context:

  • are you reaching decision-makers?
  • are you meeting the people who can help you make decisions?
  • are you in the right networking environment?
  • and are you equally ready to listen as to talk?

Think for a moment about the kind of networking most people do. Almost everyone has a LinkedIn profile, follows Twitter and has a presence on Facebook. On top of these virtual connections, most bright managers and ambitious executives spend a certain amount of time at conferences and seminars where they meet more people and make sure they keep up with developments in their industry.

The trouble is that everyone else is doing the same thing, with the result that too many people spend too much time talking to people like themselves. This is a problem not just for individuals, but for organisations which are not as receptive as they should be to new ideas, observations and experiences from the front line.

Effective networking is about meeting the people you need to meet – and these may not be the people you think they are.

The first essential is to know where to ask, and who to ask. Because once you find out a few things, you may realise that the gatekeeper or intermediary, or even the intern, may be the one to point you in the right direction or make that crucial introduction.

When you are on home ground, it’s not so difficult to make these vital preliminary enquiries. But if you’re exploring a new market, especially abroad, there is so much you won’t have had time to research – which is one of the most valuable services Regus offers in its business centres around the world. We may not know the answers, but chances are we can tell our customers where to look.

We also arrange networking events, putting our customers together so they can share experiences, learn a bit more about the business environment, and meet people who may put them on to other people.

Then, if you finally get to meet the big cheese, the decision-maker you need to reach, here’s the most important thing: don’t hesitate. I never mind people approaching me direct. But I do mind them wasting my time with lots of apologies for disturbing me. That’s not being considerate, that’s just parading your own insecurities.

I’ve made many great contacts by serendipity – on a ski lift, in an airport queue, or literally bumping into people in a corridor – in circumstances where we are simply fellow human beings and we haven’t had time for inhibitions and self-consciousness.

You need to look at yourself too. Different people flourish in different social environments. You’ll know which you like best, so play to your strengths. And if there isn’t a networking club or event that’s right for you, why not organise your own? Find a good speaker, hire a room, maybe find a co-sponsor, and make it happen.

In the end, there’s one thing that keeps most people trapped at a certain level in business, and that’s lack of nerve. If you want to break through, if you want to be a really successful networker, take the direct route. Be thoughtful and considerate, by all means. Be courteous, too. But above all, do it.

(Photo credit: Taxhaven on Flickr)

5 Tips To Save Your Business Money

 

With 2013 well underway and our personal resolutions in the works (some more successful than others), it’s also time to think about shaping up your business. With recent Business Confidence Index research indicating cash flow as the biggest concern for businesses; small business owners and entrepreneurs should use the New Year as a fresh start to approaching their business finances. While personally we can head to the gym or shop less to carry out resolutions, what can businesses do to trim the “business belly fat” and increase cash flow?

 

Here are five steps businesses can take to be fiscally fit in 2013:

 Right size your business: Behind payroll, office space is the largest expenses for small businesses. Ask yourself, do you need a costly, long-term lease that may not apply to your company in six months’ time? See if non-binding, flexible arrangements like drop-in lounges better suit your company’s needs.

2.       Get flexible so your business can react to change: Explore today’s many flexible working options such as co-working, home-working and staggered working hours to reduce stressful commuting, improve morale and boost productivity.

3.       Reach out for new customers: Businesses that have an address in the same city as their customers and prospects have an advantage over out-of-town competitors.  By using a virtual office with a prestigious address, your company can expand into new areas with no upfront capital and minimal risk.

4.       Leverage technology in lieu of business travel: Videoconferencing, Skype and online meetings can keep you in touch with colleagues and clients without the hassle of traveling.

5.       Learn from your mistakes: Symbolically, the New Year represents a clean slate for your business.  Make the time to evaluate what worked and where there is room for improvement heading into 2013. 

Flexible Work Grows in Southern California

We're excited to be growing in SoCal,  opening three new business centers in Los Angeles and planing to double our L.A. portfolio by adding more than 20 locations in the metro area in 2013. As more local businesses turn to flexible working for cost savings, improved work-life balance and increased productivity, demand for Regus services such as flexible-term offices, drop-in business lounges, and virtual offices has skyrocketed in Southern California.

 

 

 

A global provider of turnkey space, we continue to invest across SoCal as demand from mobile workers continues to grow.  From Bakersfield to San Diego, customers can work from more than 50 regional locations.  The newest Los Angeles centers are located at:


·         3415 South Sepulveda Blvd.


·         10880 Wilshire Blvd. 


·         8650 W. Sunset Blvd.

 

 

Our network of flexible space provides entrepreneurs, small- to medium-sized businesses as well as international companies a range of efficient work solutions, including fully equipped offices and meeting rooms, and membership to its drop-in business lounges.  Terms are flexible allowing clients to choose the amount of space they use and the length of time they stay.


Regional Vice President Sande Golgart is overseeing the growth.  He says companies are choosing to focus on taking advantage of new opportunities while we focus on the management of their workplace.  With no upfront capital outlay, businesses can utilize any of our locations and rely on our support team to help them be more productive every day.


In the coming months, we will expand throughout the region, adding new business centers in the suburbs of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, and in booming downtown Los Angeles, conveniently situated near LA Live.


These new centers are expected to help customers reduce their traffic-plagued trips into the office. Findings from the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard reveal L.A. drivers spent 56 hours in traffic, higher than the national average as they navigated through some of the worst traffic corridors in the country. In selecting the sites for their new locations, Regus took into consideration points that could help ease commuting times for its clients.


Technology makes it possible for people to work at a schedule and location that best suits their individual needs.  In increasing numbers, Golgart believes businesses are coming to us because we provide the tools and environment, which allow individuals to work better, smarter and faster.