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November is a big month for men. No, we’re not talking about the football season or even the Rugby World Cup (after all, men come in all shapes, sizes and interests) but the plethora of global events designed to honour and draw attention to what it means to be male. It kicks off with Movember, the light-hearted yet serious-minded event that encourages the more hirsute half of the population to grow questionable facial hair in a bid to raise awareness (and funds) for men’s health. That’s followed by International Children’s Day, which celebrates the special bond between men and their children. But perhaps the biggest of them all is International Men’s Day (IMD), which takes place on 19th November this year.
According to the organisers, IMD “celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities”. And that community aspect is something that chimes with Regus, which plays an active part in the communities wherever it has a presence. As one of the biggest flexible workspace providers around the globe, its reach means it can make a real difference to real lives.
One of the ways it can do this is with flexible office space. As any new dad (or even “old” dad) will tell you, parenting can seem like a full-time job – especially when there’s the small matter of a real career to manage at the same time. But being able to work flexibly can help. Rather than the soul-destroying schlep into a corporate HQ, why not share breakfast with the kids before dropping them off at school en route to your local flexspace? This is an increasingly accepted way of life, and it’s one that’s will only gain further traction as the millennial generation comes of age with their own children: the largest segment of the workforce, they’re also the most vocal when it comes to a better work/life balance.
The flexible office has everything the working father needs. If he’s dropping in to concentrate and get something done, a hot desk provides the perfect solution (and beats the noisy coffee shop hands down). Or perhaps there’s a client meeting that would benefit from a professional environment with business facilities like a printer and super-fast Wi-Fi. Then a flexible meeting room could be the answer. Essentially, what the coworking or flexible office provides is a proper space to work – just like that corporate HQ, only when you want it and on your terms.
Another tenet of IMD is to “highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being”, which is something close to the heart of Regus owner IWG’s CEO Mark Dixon too. A dad himself, in a recent interview on Bloomberg TV he explained that the way we work is changing, and how Regus helps millions of people work closer to those who matter to them with 3,500 locations (and growing) worldwide. According to Dixon, the strategy of opening next to trunk roads and other thoroughfares, as well as in more traditional city-centre locations, means “you can literally work anywhere for short amounts of time, and work effectively”. And, what’s more, there’s no wastage involved because “you are renting space for exactly the time that you need it”.
Ultimately, the overriding principle of International Men’s Day is to “lead by example”, whoever we are (and that includes women). Deciding how, when and where you work might seem like a small thing – but it’s one that can have a big effect on your wellbeing. Taking charge of your own work/life balance is one way to show your children that professional life doesn’t have to be at the expense of home life, and is entirely yours for the taking.