Raconteur

Future Workplace 2020

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R A C O N T E U R . N E T 19 Commercial feature How has Orega stayed relevant? Over the last two decades, we've adapted, evolved and modified our model to ensure we're prof- itable and relevant. I think it is down to the fact that Paul Finch, with whom I founded the company in 2000, and I both under- stood from day one the importance of putting customers' needs first. We built a flexible workspace that could accommodate change for every type of business looking for an agile work environment. This year our space has achieved a net promoter score (NPS) for customer service in line with leading brands, such as Amazon and John Lewis. Drawing on our first-hand experience in the sector, we both knew we wanted to offer landlords, such as Propcos and Funds, an alternative to the traditional lease model. To set ourselves apart, we devel- oped a management agreement model where the owner can provide first- class amenities for the building and retain full control of their asset. Part of this control is financial with fully auditable and transparent accounts, retaining 100 per cent of customer deposits in client accounts. What makes a great flexible workspace? It starts with a great loca- tion. Our business centres are centrally located and close to trans- port links. Then, it's about the work- spaces themselves, ensuring they offer a combination of being both aesthet- ically pleasing, while supporting opti- mum workplace performance. We are dedicated to creating cor- porate quality environments to pro- vide a flexible, professional, produc- tive and, most importantly, enjoyable work environment. Our customers' success is com- pletely aligned with our own success and we have always understood this. How do you stand out from the crowd? Orega is focused on making our customers' business work. We offer a blank canvas so they can put their own unique stamp on their office space, working with them to create an environment tailored to their requirements. Our solutions range from long- term contracts with flex-up and down options, project space, short-term requirements and swing space. We're unique in that we don't offer memberships. Customers in our cen- tres belong there, giving their guests the appropriate first impressions, availabil- ity of all facilities, privacy and the right environment to conduct business. Also, our experience in the sector means we know moving is costly, time consuming and stressful, therefore we offer a "perfect move-in" service pro- viding a turnkey experience. One trend we've distanced our- selves from is the significant reduction in working space. When we started, around 60-plus square foot per person was offered and now we see some competitors at less than half that. Our focus on the right environment to do business gives our customers more space and contributes positively to their workplace wellbeing. What makes Orega customers so loyal? We have a business model that means if you're a deci- sion-maker, placing your people in a flexible workspace, you get certainty on long-term security without the long-term liability. That's why customers stay with Orega, on average for three years and our longest-running client has been with us for more than ten. As we're in partnership with our land- lords, as economic changes occur, we will continue to operate. This provides the security of continued service to our customers because Orega has proven to be a no-risk, resilient provider. Closure of several high street retail- ers is testament that a traditional lease model carries with it a lot of risk, and therefore customer risk, which doesn't exist under a manage- ment agreement. What are Orega's biggest achievements? We now have 18 business cen- tres across the UK and 7,300 workstations, and I'm proud to say Orega has stayed true to our ser- vice, value and quality mantra. This is demonstrated by leading NPS scores and strong customer retention from all types of customer profiles, includ- ing world-leading corporates, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), startups and everything in between. How have you survived and thrived? We have traded through two difficult economic periods. We watch the current market growth and can't quite understand the buy-long, at the top of the market, and sell- short strategy of the newcomers. The market needs to mature as the hotel market did, as it's about long- term asset-based returns for deliver- ing short to medium-term flexible real estate. We've proven that we're in this market for the long term and our cus- tomer base recognise Orega as being a brand that stands for service, value and quality. How hands-on are you these days? Day-to-day the business is led by Lynsey O'Keefe, chief operat- ing officer, supported by Laura Walker, sales and marketing director, and Ann Fahey, finance director. We have a wealth of experience in serviced offices, real estate, hospitality and facil- ities management, from SMEs to large corporates, underpinning our values and exceeding customer expectations. After many years of doing everything, I now focus on business growth and real estate development, which is what really energises me. That and my pas- sion for cycling that led to our involve- ment with Ride 25, which started in London and ends in Sydney, where I cycle with my fellow property execs, completing legs of 600km in four days every year. We are now the primary sponsor of the event, which is doing so much good on the ground. I saw this for myself when I visited Uganda last year, ena- bling more than 240 street children to go to school, have a place to live and a future to look forward to. Next up is Turkey, so I'm going to be very hands-on, especially on those hills. Where next in 2020? In the last year, we've opened five new centres in the UK. Most recently, Old Bailey in January 2020, a stunning building in the heart of London, which is nearly three-quarters occupied. This is going to be another busy year, we have a business model that works for our customers and we are excited for the year ahead. Our focus remains on profitable, sus- tainable growth where we exceed our landlords' expectations. Our business centres now feature cutting-edge design, high-end furniture and state- of-the-art technology. For example, our breakout areas are equipped with plug-and-play screens and meeting rooms feature 86-inch Clevertouch interactive screens for seamless team collaboration. Desk phones are enabled for smartphones, premium coffee can be customised at the touch of a button, customer feedback is real time and centres are now keyless. The industry is changing and so are we, welcome to the new Orega. For more information please visit www.orega.com Working for long-term success Q&A Orega has been a major player in serviced office provision for more than 20 years. Co-founder Zach Douglas explains his company's longevity We are dedicated to creating corporate quality environments to provide a flexible, professional, productive and, most importantly, enjoyable work environment

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