At a Glance
15 in the construction department
Construction and management of high-tech, flexible office spaces
These days, getting to work isn’t all about carpooling and trains from the suburbs; sometimes it’s as easy as powering up your laptop at home. As telecommuting and videoconferencing become more common, they are changing the office needs of today’s global workforce, but fortunately Addison, Texas-based Regus Group has stepped up to meet the demand. The firm has one of the world’s largest networks of plug ’n’ play office centers, including more than 630 in the United States and 1,500 globally, and its consistent, regimented construction process is ensuring its continued popularity with a variety of clients.
For the past 12 years, Tom McLean, the director of construction at Regus, has overseen the building of all the firm’s new office spaces in the United States and Canada. “I specifically oversee the construction portion, and eight construction managers report to me directly,” he says. “We manage the process from bidding through construction.”
He and his team rely on a standardized prototype, designing and constructing 10,000- to 50,000-square-foot offices that are fully outfitted with robust IT infrastructures and amenities such as high-tech conference rooms, videoconferencing studios, reception areas, and kitchens. “They allow smaller companies access to additional space and amenities [that] they wouldn’t be able to afford on their own,” McLean says.
Regus’ clients aren’t only small businesses, though; the firm also furnishes outposts for behemoth companies such as Google and independent contractors looking for temporary offices, and often its spaces are already more than 50 percent leased by the time they open. Regus also helps place companies that are looking for temporary disaster-recovery space. “During Hurricane Sandy we provided thousands of people whose buildings were shut down and closed with a place to work,” McLean says.
Top 3 Keys to Successful Office Design
1. Staying ahead of things. “That equates to staying ahead of the need by anticipating the people we need to hire,” McLean says.
2. Listening to your customer. “[It’s about] really understanding what our clients want—plus our operations team, which is our internal client.”
3. Knowing the new trends. “Since he founded Regus, our CEO has worked hard to analyze what the modern-day office worker needs.” McLean adds that Regus also tries to make its offices as eco-friendly as possible.
McLean and his team work efficiently to construct each new office center. “The construction itself is pretty consistently 12 weeks, and 15 weeks total from the day we start the project to the day we open,” he says. “We are usually prepared to start building the day the lease is signed.”
McLean’s background as a formally trained architect helps him better understand the full scope of his projects. “I was always on the commercial side with high-rise construction,” he says, “but I also spent nine years at a retail-design firm doing corporate interiors, and then I went to work for Pearle Vision Center, designing construction for eyeglass stores all over the country. This is where I got into the construction-project-management side.”
One of the more exciting spaces McLean and his team are working on currently is at 747 3rd Avenue in New York City. “It will have a state-of-the-art, street-level business lounge, similar to what you might see in an airport,” McLean says. People using the building will have exclusive membership cards that give them access to an entire global circuit of Regus lounges, and above the main floor will be a standard Regus center—scheduled, as of press time, to open in April 2013.
According to McLean, he and his team worked on constructing 26 new centers in 2011, they doubled that number in 2012, and “we plan to open more than 200 new centers this year, so keeping everything rolling on schedule and on budget is our biggest challenge.” Undaunted, the director of construction continues to find satisfaction in his team’s successes. “It’s rewarding to build our centers in some of the best buildings in the world,” he says. “We just opened a new center in Vancouver in an old post-and-beam [space]; it turned out great, and it was 100 percent full a month after we opened. Those kinds of successes make my job fun and exciting.” ABQ