A small- to medium-sized company opening its first office in an area might, in addition finding a space to rent, be faced with such startup tasks as buying furniture, arranging for utilities and cleaning services, setting up a telecommunications system and hiring such support staff as a receptionist and an office manager. There is, however, an alternative—and it recently became available in Decatur.
Regus, an international provider of flexible workplaces, the day after Christmas opened a full-service location in the heart of Decatur’s business district. There, businesses—whether one person or 20 or more—can find on day one furniture in place, such office machines as copiers and scanners, working telephones, Internet connections and even refreshments in the break room.
“This has been a missing market for us,” said Regus’ Atlanta Market Director Rhonda Fleming. “We’ve had a lot of requests for Decatur. This location is perfect. It’s right by the courthouse, the MARTA station, and both DeKalb County and city of Decatur government offices.”
The way people work today requires the type of flexibility that Regus offers, company officials say. Clients can choose not only the length of their contracts but the level of service they need.
“Businesses are recognizing the vast potential of flexible working and are looking for options that will shorten their commute and enable them to be more efficient,” according to a statement from Donna Scott, Regus’ regional vice president. “Approximately 65 percent of Decatur residents commute to Atlanta or other nearby suburbs and our new centrally located facility gives them the freedom to work closer to home in an environment equipped to support their needs.”
A wide range of clients use Regus, according to Fleming. In addition to companies that want to focus on their core business without being concerned about establishing and maintaining a physical facility, there are employees of companies based in one city that need a presence in another city where they have a small number of employees.
“There are people who work from home or who have mobile businesses but need a virtual office occasionally—a place to hold meetings, receive clients, etc.” Fleming explained, adding that terms are flexible allowing clients to choose the amount of space they use and the length of time they stay. She said Regus also can provide a solution to keep a business going following a disaster at the workplace.
Regus clients can change as fast as their business does, explained Fleming. “If a client suddenly needs a larger space or a smaller space, we can make arrange that with no problem.” Even when a person needs to transfer to another city, if that city has Regus facilities, it’s a simple matter of transferring to the other city—even if that city is on another continent, she said.
Regus has more than 1,500 offices in 88 countries. A bullet point in its brochure boasts, “The project has moved to Paris? Be on the Champs Elysees at a moment’s notice.”
“Technology has transformed how people work,” Scott said. “Work happens anywhere and everywhere. Our goal is to ensure customers have access to space that will allow them to be innovative, collaborative and successful.”
Fleming said that today’s workers value short commutes and flexible work schedules. “The quality of life goes up when people can live, work and play in the same area.”
“Having this center close to home will help alleviate the stress of many professionals who are caught in Atlanta’s heavy traffic jams during peak hours,” Scott said.
Regus officials say that Atlanta’s sprawling suburban communities are part of its growth plans. Recently, Regus opened facilities in Duluth and Cumming and now has more than 25 locations within Georgia’s central business districts and suburbs. They say the trend of flexible working and the demand from businesses of all sizes across all industries is getting stronger.
Despite being focused on instant readiness, Regus doesn’t primarily attract short-term clients, according to Fleming. “Many of our clients have been with us for years,” she said. “Really, the only reason to leave us is that you get too big—and that’s not a bad thing.”