Regus has interviewed more than 44 000 business people in over 100 countries and found that while working on the go is very normal, only a handful of limited activities can be carried out effectively anywhere.

Specifically, half (49%) of respondents report that cafes are fine for checking emails, but not for writing responses, while 39% say they can send short replies or queries, but cannot work in this environment for longer than 20 minutes.

Fewer than half of workers (39%) say that the car is an acceptable location to make phone calls, but just one in 10 (12%) will use a private vehicle to make a conference call. Instead, in order to carry out core work tasks for up to the equivalent of half a day’s work, a quarter require a business lounge (23%).

It is not surprising that business people are demanding of their work locations, especially when it comes to the main office. Sadly, however, many report that their company meeting rooms are a let-down: almost a third of global workers (29%) complain that meeting rooms look shabby to customers and show them up: 63% of entrepreneurs report a work location must be smart and professional in order to help them punch above their weight.

This is mainly due to their none-too-tidy colleagues who leave the rooms filthy and stacked with dirty cutlery and cups left over from the previous meeting (36%) but over a third also confirm that the rooms are often uncomfortably hot or cold (34%).

The top three features of a successful business location are a smart and professional look that makes them appear like an even bigger business (60% of respondents), value for money (52%) and providing a creative, modern and lively environment (45%).

In order to keep costs down, many businesses are opting to use co-working spaces (79%), but the benefits they bring are not limited to cost-efficiency. Respondents report that they offer the opportunity to meet workers from different firms (82%) and to network (80%).

Specifically, workers are happy to make-do with using cafes as touch-down spots for a maximum of 20 minutes to check emails and answer short queries, but these locations are felt to put the privacy of sensitive documents and conversations very much at risk. This is also true of public transport and cars, where emails are generally checked, for the business person to decide on their urgency and how quickly they will need to access a more suitable location in order to deal with the request.

To read documents, carry out conference calls and work for the equivalent of half a day, business people report that main office failing, they need the peace, quiet and privacy of a professional business lounge.

Location also plays a key role in ensuring that a main office is regarded as a successful and productive environment. In particular, all workers identify meeting rooms as one of the features most likely to let down a business’s appearance and report that they often look shabby and dirty, giving a bad impression to visiting clients and prospective employees. The right location for their business instead should look smart and professional as well as inspiring.
Unsurprisingly all this ideally should be delivered at a reasonable price, regardless of whether the firm is starting out on a shoestring or is an established company.

In order to achieve cost-effectiveness many businesses, especially start-ups, are opting for collaborative workspaces. Entrepreneurs regard these as the ideal environments for their start-ups to thrive and to network with other business owners. However, sometimes collaborative spaces are too casual for important client meetings and privacy is not sufficient. This highlights the need for access to professional working spaces to carry out sensitive business meetings or provide a more collected environment for workers that find it hard to concentrate in very dynamic environments.

Other trends detailed included cost savings from central office downsizing, a new focus on employer wellbeing, and the realisation of the many sustainability benefits brought by hybrid working. A focus on workplace experience is also likely to grow, turning central offices into places for collective creativity and culture-building.