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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » July 1, 2009
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Time of Expansion
July 1, 2009   
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Rafał Gabteni, Area Sales Director at Regus, talks to Magdalena Fabijańczuk

How is the office space lease market, on which such firms as Regus operate, developing in Poland?
As we have already observed in other markets, we expect the demand for our solutions in Poland to increase in the coming years, from all type of companies. Business real estate is a young market: Regus opened its first center in Brussels in 1989, and the concept needs to grow in people's minds. We still need to explain in more detail the advantages of outsourcing workplaces for a company. It is the same in Poland, although lately the players on the Polish business real estate market have realized the strong demand for flexible office space. We have been present on the Polish market since 1997 and so far we are operating in total six business centers in Warsaw: the Sheraton Plaza, Financial Centre, Wi¶niowy Business Park, Mokotów, Metropolitan and North Gate which opened at the beginning of this year. And we'll keep on developing alongside the demands of our customers.

Has the crisis helped your company to expand?
The recession is hitting the worldwide economy badly, but even against this background Regus is doing fine. We keep on expanding our presence across the world because we are flexible and able to provide flexibility to companies, which is particularly important for them in these times of crisis. With the current situation, companies are looking for ways to reduce their costs and one of these is to reconsider their workspace strategy by introducing more flexibility and fewer fixed assets. Thanks to our solutions, changes have been possible in a very short space of time. Thus, companies can keep on focusing on their core business, benefiting from the professional and qualified assistance of our center teams, on a pay-as-you-use basis.

You offer clients so-called flexible workplace solutions. What arrangements and technology are required to enable people to work in such a way?
For the past 15 years, real-time technology has enabled many employees to work outside their company offices. Many companies have become "virtual companies" with most of their employees working remotely. While working remotely, employees still need access to a professional environment (meeting rooms, fully furnished and well-equipped workstations, and so on), especially when interacting with colleagues and customers. One of the dilemmas faced by these "virtual companies" is to reconcile the benefits of a mobile workforce with the cost of the workspaces it needs.

To accompany this major trend and the rise of mobility, Regus answers companies' needs with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges, the largest network of videoconference studios and a BusinessWorld card program specially designed for mobile workers. Moreover, our centers offer administrative and technical assistance allowing our clients to remain productive wherever their activities may take them to.

More specifically, with all these products, we provide people with telephone, internet access, data security, meeting places, drinks, assistance, newspapers-in other words "plug and work solutions" in over 1,000 locations worldwide, preventing the need for them to work from the nearest coffee shop!

What are the advantages and disadvantages of these kind of working arrangements?
Regus enables companies to minimize their second-largest cost of doing business: the expenses associated with leasing, equipping and staffing office space, representing between 5 and 10 percent of their turnover.

With our flexible solutions, they only pay for the space they occupy and the services they effectively use, avoiding extra costs, meaning no capital investment is needed to rent office space. Regus offers to companies the possibility of working from an office, on the road or from home, minimizing their expenses. By letting Regus manage their workspaces, companies can keep being productive wherever their businesses take them to, still develop their business by exploring new markets while limiting expenses and risks, which is crucial today.

Are firms more often opting for videoconferencing than business travel? Is the former considerably cheaper?
In the current tough economic situation, companies are reducing their expenses whenever and wherever possible. As a result, business travel is slowing down and demand for videoconferencing is increasing. Indeed, demand for our videoconferencing solutions has lately increased by 40 percent. This solution allows our clients to save on average 75 percent of their expenses in business travel. Moreover, with the quality of the current virtual tools available, it represents a perfect solution to keep in touch with their business partners without having to spend money and time on traveling. We operate the largest network of videoconferencing studios, with over 600 around the world. In Poland, we have three videoconferencing studios in our Sheraton Plaza, Financial Centre and Wi¶niowy Business Park centers. Thus, we enable them to run their meetings with their business partners from wherever they are.

What are Regus' plans in Poland? Are you focusing on Warsaw or on other large cities too?
We keep on receiving requests from companies for our products and services in Poland-that is why we keep on looking for new buildings to open more centers in the country. We have already six centers in Warsaw's major business districts and professional and strategic addresses. We are constantly looking at more Warsaw locations, but we would also like to extend our national network, looking for new buildings in big cities such as Cracow, ŁódĽ or Wrocław. As soon as we find buildings adapted to our requirements and at the right price, we'll open new locations.
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